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Hunt for £164k a year Education Authority chief executive in Northern Ireland

By Rebecca Black

Published 30/08/2016

Gavin Boyd
Gavin Boyd

The biggest public sector body in Northern Ireland is advertising for a new boss who will control a budget of £1.5bn and earn a six-figure salary.

Gavin Boyd has been the chief executive of the Education Authority since it was set up in 2015 following a major reorganisation of how education is administered in the province.

It replaced the five education and library boards, as well as the staff commission.

The post has been described as "one of the most demanding chief executive appointments in Northern Ireland", and "one of the biggest educational leadership roles in the UK and Ireland".

It comes with one of the biggest public sector pay packets - a salary of between £137,000 and £164,000.

The successful candidate will have responsibility for 39,000 staff and a budget of £1.5bn.

The Education Authority delivers and funds services such as school transport, meals and support for special educational needs.

The job advertisement for its new leader states that the EA is seeking an "inspirational chief executive to lead the organisation through the next step of the transformational journey".

"We seek a highly talented individual with a strong record of success in a demanding leadership role, delivering complex organisational and system change and managing a very large budget in demanding financial circumstances." The advertisement features in the Job Finder section of today's Belfast Telegraph.

The EA suffered a budget cut from £405m in 2014/15 to approximately £396m in 2015/16.

Mr Boyd (left) was appointed interim Education Authority chief executive in December 2014 by former Education Minister John O'Dowd to oversee the change programme that established the body.

In June Mr Boyd issued an apology for the Education Authority's handling of controversial plans to cut special school nursery hours. The proposal to slash pre-school provision from 22 to 12 hours a week from September was heavily criticised by parents, school principals and governors.

Mr O'Dowd ordered a review and a series of interim measures, and the authority said it would not be cutting hours until at least September 2017.

Mr Boyd's apology came after incorrect information was given to Stormont's education committee in March stating that no school principals had made contact to express concern about the cuts between October 2015 and the hearing date.

Mr Boyd said: "That submission was incorrect.

"I had received that report in reference to the concerns of parents, governors and school principals. For that I have unreservedly apologised to the committee."

He previously served as chief executive of the Education and Skills Authority.

From 2000 to 2008 he was chief executive of the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment.

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