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The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) is a United Kingdom government department, created in 2001, responsible for the education system and children's services in England.

DfES works under the Secretary of State for Education and Skills. The main remit of the Department can be summed up as schools and adult learning - but there are also sections delaing with linked areas such as child welfare.

DfES civil servants work in either one of four locations: London (Sanctuary Buildings or Caxton House, both close to Westminster Abbey), Sheffield (Moorfoot), Darlington (Mowden Hall), or Runcorn {Castle View House} - as well as in the regional Government Offices.

Education is a devolved issue and therefore the responsibility of other government departments in Scotland and Wales: the Scottish Executive Education Department, the Scottish Executive Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning Department and the Welsh Department for Education, Lifelong Learning, and Skills (DELLS).

History[edit | edit source]

The Department of Education and Science was created in 1964 with the merger of the offices of Minister of Education]] and the Minister of Science, with Herbert Bowden (later to become Baron Aylestone)]] as minister.

The Department offices in Westminster

In 1992 the responsibility for science was transferred to the Cabinet Office's Office of Public Service and the Department of Trade and Industry's Office of Science and Technology, and the department was renamed Department for Education.

In 1995, in the reshuffle after the Conservative leadership election of that year, the department merged with the Department of Employment to become the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE).

Most recently, after the 2001 general election, the employment functions were transferred to a newly created Department for Work and Pensions, with the DfEE becoming the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).

Ministers[edit | edit source]

Ministers in the Department for Education and Skills as of 5 May, 2006:

Permanent Secretary[edit | edit source]

The permanent secretary of a UK Department is the senior civil servant. While working under the direction of the political ministers (almost exclusively members of the UK's current governing political party), the SoS (and other senior civil servants, especially the Finance Director) has many traditional and statutory responsibilities which are aimed at ensuring that government departments are, as far as possible, run in the public interest, rather than party-political ones.

Permanent Secretaries in the Department for Education and Skills:

  • David Bell: Jan 2006 - current (DfES)
  • Sir David Normington: May 2001 - Dec 2005 (Department for Education and Employment / DfES)
  • Sir Michael Bichard: July 1995 - May 2001 (DfEE)
  • Sir Timothy Patrick Lankester: Feb 1994 - July 1995 (Department for Education / DfEE)
  • Sir Geoffrey Holland: Jan 1993 - Jan 1994 (DfE)
  • Sir John Caines: July 1989 - Jan 1993 (Department of Education and Science / DfE)
  • Sir David Hancock: May 1983 - June 1989 (DES)
  • Sir James Hamilton: May 1976 - May 1983 (DES)
  • Sir William Pile: Aug 1970 - May 1976 (DES)

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

  • Official website
  • Science Learning Centres website The national network of Science Learning Centres provides Continuing Professional Development for everyone involved in science education. The network is a joint initiative by the Department for Education and Skills and the Wellcome Trust.
pt:Department for Education and Skills
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