Department for Education and Skills (United Kingdom)

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This is a page for the United Kingdom Department for Education and Skills. For the Western Australian Department of Fire and Emergency Services, please follow this link: DFES

Department for Education and Skills
Department overview
Formed 2001
Preceding Department
Dissolved 28 June 2007
Superseding agency
Jurisdiction England
Headquarters London, England, UK
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The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) was a United Kingdom government department between 2001 and 2007, responsible for the education system and children's services in England. On 28 June 2007 Gordon Brown's government split it into the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. In 2010, when the Conservative/Lib Dem Coalition Government took control, Michael Gove became Secretary of State for Education. His department was the Department for Education.

DfES worked under the Secretary of State for Education and Skills. Its main remit could be summed up as schools and adult learning, with sections dealing with linked areas such as child welfare.

DfES had four main locations: London (Sanctuary Buildings and Caxton House, both close to Westminster Abbey), Sheffield (Moorfoot), Darlington (Mowden Hall), and Runcorn (Castle View House), and also regional Government Offices.

Education is a devolved issue and therefore the responsibility of other government departments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


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 Quintin Hogg as minister.

Sanctuary Buildings

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).

After the 2001 general election, the employment functions were transferred to the new Department for Work and Pensions, with the DfEE becoming the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).

During new Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Cabinet reshuffle, two new government departments were created to take over the work of the DfES, the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. The latter also took over some of the work of the former Department of Trade and Industry (now the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills).


Ministers in the DfES from 5 May 2006 to 28 June 2007:

Permanent Secretary

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 PS (and other senior civil servants, especially the Finance Director) has many traditional and statutory responsibilities that are aimed at ensuring that government departments are, as far as possible, run in the public interest.

Permanent Secretaries:

  • David Bell: Jan 2006 - Jun 2007 (subsequently PS of DCSF)
  • Sir David Normington: May 2001 - Dec 2005 (DfES)
  • Sir Michael Bichard: Jul 1995 - May 2001 (DfES/DfEE)
  • Sir Timothy Patrick Lankester: Feb 1994 - Jul 1995 (DfE/DfEE)
  • Sir Geoffrey Holland: Jan 1993 - Jan 1994 (DfE)
  • Sir John Caines: Jul 1989 - Jan 1993 (DES/DfE)
  • Sir David Hancock: May 1983 - June 1989 (DES)
  • Sir James: May 1976 - May 1983 (DES)
  • Sir William Pile: Aug 1970 - May 1976 (DES)

See also

External links

  • Official Archived 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.