The day-to-day activities of Qualifications Wales are the responsibility of the Chief Executive and the Executive Team. Our work and the work of the wider organisation is overseen by a publicly appointed board. Detailed information on our aims, operations and accountability is outlined in our framework document.
The board meets five times a year and is made up of the Chair, Chief Executive and up to ten other members.
The board is responsible for:
- defining and developing strategic direction and setting objectives
- holding the Chief Executive to account and monitoring Qualifications Wales activities to ensure they are conducted efficiently and effectively
- promoting high standards of public finance - upholding the principles of regularity, propriety and value for money
David Jones OBE DL, Chair
David B. Jones is appointed by the Welsh Government as the Chair of Qualifications Wales, alongside other non-executive board members.. He is also accountable to Senedd Cymru for the performance of the organisation in accordance with the Qualifications Wales Act 2015. He was initially appointed in October 2019, and reappointed for a second three year term in October 2022.
A Chartered Electronics Engineer, he has over 30 years of experience working in further and higher education, and was the Chief Executive of Coleg Cambria. He also has wide ranging experience in a range of non-executive roles, including current appointments with the Defence Equipment & Support (Deca), Estyn and NSPCC Cymru. He also led the 2023 review of Further Education and Training in the Education and Training Board sector in Ireland.
David is a fluent Welsh speaker, and lives in Ruthin, Denbighshire.
Philip Blaker, Chief Executive
As Chief Executive and Accounting Officer for Qualifications Wales, Philip Blaker is personally responsible for:
- the proper stewardship of public funds
- the day-to-day operations
- ensuring compliance with the requirements of Managing Welsh Public Money
He has a background in the delivery of national assessments and examinations and his career has been focused on the delivery of large-scale complex operations.
Philip became Chief Executive when Qualifications Wales was established in 2015.
Douglas Blackstock, board member
Douglas is President of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), which has members and affiliates in 45 countries in the European Higher Education Area.
He is a former Chief Executive of the UK’s independent Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) whose role is to ensure academic standards are maintained and that student learning opportunities are of the highest quality across the four UK nations. Douglas held Executive roles at the Agency for 20 years and now acts as an international consultant for QAA. He also provides independent consultancy and is a member of the advisory board of the Lifelong Education Institute.
In addition to being a Board member of Qualifications Wales, he holds non-executive director roles at Cilex Legal Regulation, the University of Law, the British University in Egypt, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and is an Advisory Board member of Future Learn
Douglas joined the Board in June 2021.
Julie Brannan, board member
Julie is a former Director of Education and Training at the Solicitors Regulation Authority and led the introduction of the new Solicitors Qualifying Examination for admission as a solicitor of England and Wales.
Previously, she was the Director of the Oxford Institute of Legal Practice and a litigation partner at Herbert Smith Freehills.
In addition to being a Board member of Qualifications Wales, Julie is a member of the Barbri UK Advisory Board.
Julie joined the Board in September 2021.
Anne Marie Duffy OBE, board member
Anne Marie has worked within the education sector in Northern Ireland as a teacher, senior manager and director. She was Director of Qualifications at CCEA (Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment), responsible for directing the design, operation, delivery and grading of General and Vocational qualifications and held the role of Responsible Officer. She also directed CCEA’s digital transformation programme.
She continues to serve as Chair of Curriculum Committee on the governing body of a large inner city comprehensive school and is Chair of the Education, Training and Standards Committee of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland. She was appointed OBE in 2017 for Services to Education.
Anne Marie joined the Board in April 2019.
Michael Griffiths OBE, board member
Michael was headteacher at two of south Wales' biggest secondary schools during a long teaching career.
Mike is currently an educational consultant, focussing on leadership and research matters, which in the past have included the school and university sectors both nationally and internationally. Between 2012 and 2021, he was a Council member of the Arts Council of Wales and Chair of its HR and Remuneration Committee.
Michael joined the Board in June 2021.
Graham Hudson, board member
Graham has a long background in standard and qualifications with a range of awarding bodies and regulation. He led a publicly funded research programme involving all devolved nations looking at the use of technology in examinations and assessments.
He currently supports organisations wishing to make the move into mainstream digital assessment and championing the case for using technology enhanced assessments nationally and internationally. He is a Member of the Institute of Directors, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and Chair of the e-Assessment Association.
Graham joined the Board in June 2021.
Professor John Latham CBE, board member
John is Vice-Chancellor and CEO of the Coventry University Group. He has a background in information technology and telecommunications. Previously, he worked for a number of private sector organisations including JHP Group, Jaguar Cars and BT.
John has held high-profile roles at regional, national and European levels promoting innovation, technology and economic development. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors and Chartered Management Institute.
John joined the Board in December 2021.
Ravi Pawar, board advisor
Ravi has 30 years of experience working in secondary education as a teacher and senior leader in schools across South Wales. He is currently headteacher of Bryntirion Comprehensive School in Bridgend.
He has contributed to the work of Qualifications Wales as a member of its Headteacher Reference Group. He is the current Chair of Parthian Books contributing to the literary culture of Wales through publication of the Library of Wales series.
Ravi joined the Board as an advisor in September 2022 to March 2024.
Hannah Rowan, board member
Hannah started her career with Teach First, a charity that trains teachers to work in schools serving disadvantaged communities. She worked as a languages teacher before joining the staff team and eventually managing the Teach First programme in Wales.
She now runs her own consulting business, using her coaching and change management skills to help non-profit organisations solve complex problems. She continues to work on a range of projects to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.
She is also a Non-Executive Director of the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, where she serves as Chair of the Academic Partnership Committee and holds the Research Champion role.
Hannah joined the Board in April 2021.
Jayne Woods, board member
Jayne is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales with over 25 years’ experience as a finance professional. She has served on executive boards for over ten years, focusing on finance, risk, governance and operational efficiency and effectiveness.
She is currently an independent member of the Capital Committee at the Arts Council of Wales and is a Governor and Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee at Coleg Sir Gâr and has worked in a range of diverse finance roles in both the public and private sectors.
Jayne joined the Board in April 2019.
Conflicts of interest
All board members are required to complete regular Declarations of Interest.
Qualifications Wales' executive team is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the organisation and works with the board when developing strategies and long-term plans.
The executive team consists of:
- Chief Executive
- Executive Director, Regulation
- Executive Director, Corporate Resources
- Director, Qualifications Policy & Reform (Vocational Qualifications)
- Director, Qualifications Policy & Reform (General Qualifications)
- Director, Communications & Engagement
Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
The Audit and Risk Assurance Committee meet four times a year, along with our internal and external auditors, to review our processes for risk, control and governance, and to assess our financial statements and accounts.
The Resources Committee concentrates on financial, business planning and human resources. It meets around three times a year.
The Regulatory Policy and Standards Oversight Committee provides recommendations to the board on any issues surrounding regulations, policies and frameworks. The committee meets up to four times a year.
The Remuneration Committee meets at least once a year to provide recommendations on the remuneration of staff and board members, including terms and conditions, benefits, pay and pensions.
Minutes from all recent meetings of the Qualifications Wales board can be found below.