Skip to main content

Pre-appointment hearing with candidate for Chair of the Office for Students

28 January 2021

The Education Committee holds a pre-appointment hearing with Lord Wharton of Yarm, the Government’s preferred candidate to become the next Chair of the Office for Students (OfS).


Tuesday 2 February 2021, virtual meeting

At 10.00am

  • James Wharton, Lord Wharton of Yarm, Government’s preferred candidate for Chair of the Office for Students

Following the session, the Committee will publish a report on its view on Lord Wharton’s suitability for the role, which the Education Secretary will then consider before deciding whether to proceed with the appointment.

The Committee will ask Lord Wharton questions designed to test the professional competency and personal independence of the preferred candidate. Questions are likely to explore Lord Wharton’s priorities for the post, the skills he would bring to the role and what he sees as the issues and challenges currently facing the higher education sector.

Lord Wharton was the Conservative MP for Stockton South between 2010 and 2017 and served as a minister in both the Department for International Development and the then Department for Communities and Local Government. Since September he has sat as a Conservative Life peer and up until November he was the Chairman of Hume Brophy UK Communications.

The OfS is the independent regulator of higher education in England. Its statutory duties include protecting the autonomy of institutions and promoting value for money, quality, choice and opportunities for students. The new Chair will take over from Sir Michael Barber whose term expires on 31 March.

Further information

Image: Crown copyright/Open Government Licence v3.0