Press release

Ofsted announces Regional Directors line-up

The Regional Directors who will be responsible for helping to drive up standards in childcare, schools, and learning and skills providers confirmed.


Among the new appointees who will be joining the inspectorate in the coming weeks and months are an executive head-teacher and a highly experienced Director of Children’s Services. Transitional arrangements have been in place since 1 January pending the completion of the Regional Director recruitment exercise.

Each Regional Director will report directly to HM Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, and will be responsible for the quality of inspection and the improvement of providers in their region.

The Regional Directors will lead teams of Senior HM Inspectors and HM Inspectors (HMI), to promote improvement through inspection. They will identify areas of weak performance and share good practice to help improve standards in their regions and across the country.

From 1 March 2013:

Sally Rowe will be Regional Director for the North West. Sally is also Deputy Director for Social Care and will be supported by Tony Thornley, a former HMI with extensive experience in school improvement who joined Ofsted this week.

Nick Hudson, formerly Corporate Director for Children’s and Adult Services at Wigan Council, will continue as Regional Director in the North East, Yorkshire and Humber.

Louise Soden has this week joined Ofsted from the Department for Education to take up the post of Regional Director for the East Midlands.

Louise will also manage the West Midlands region until Lesley Jones takes up that post in the autumn. Lesley will join Ofsted from the CGS Trust where she is currently Chief Executive and Executive Principal of Colston’s Girls’ School.

Sean Harford will draw on his extensive experience of education, learning and skills and early years inspections to take up post as the Regional Director for the East of England.

Sean will remain interim Regional Director for London until Debbie Jones, currently Director of Children’s Services in Lambeth, takes up that post in September 2013.

Matthew Coffey will be Regional Director for the South East, in addition to his role as National Director of Learning and Skills.

In the South West, Lorna Fitzjohn, who was most recently a Divisional Manager within Ofsted for Learning and Skills, will move to the Regional Director position.

Commenting on the appointments, HM Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw said:

‘I am delighted that Ofsted has been able to recruit such an impressive line-up of people, each with a proven track record in raising standards in education or social care for children and learners.

‘The Regional Directors will be my voice in the regions with the necessary autonomy and authority to support providers and challenge underperformance.

‘Through Ofsted’s new regional structure, we will find out what is happening locally and work with areas to support improvement where it is needed. Each Regional Director will get to know their region well, identifying strengths and weaknesses, and will use this local knowledge and inspection evidence to help schools, colleges and care services to improve.’

Notes to editors

  1. The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children’s social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.

  2. Media can contact the Ofsted Press Office through 03000 130415 or via Ofsted’s enquiry line 0300 1231231 between 8.30am - 6.00pm Monday - Friday. Out of these hours, during evenings and weekends, the duty press officer can be reached on 07919 057359.

Published 18 February 2013