DEVON County Council has appointed a new head of service to be responsible for schools and education.

Dawn Stabb was appointed as Devon’s new Head of Education and Learning following interviews with councillors and representatives from the county’s schools.

Her appointment has to be ratified by the full county council.

Ms Stabb, who lives in North Devon, has been acting head of the service since Sue Clarke retired from the post in the summer.

She joined Devon County Council as School Improvement Strategy Manager and has been responsible for school improvement, educational performance, outcomes for vulnerable groups, inclusion and attendance.

Ms Stabb, who holds a Master’s degree in education, began her career in the 1980’s working with children in Early Years and primary schools.

After working at a senior level in business, she returned to education as a secondary school maths teacher and then took on a variety of school leadership roles including deputy executive head of a Multi Academy Trust.

She has also worked with the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and the National College for School Leadership.

She said: “I am obviously delighted to be appointed to this new role and I look forward to working with heads, teachers, staff and governors in schools across the county as well as our own excellent staff in the county council and partners in the wider community.

“The rapid pace of change in education today presents many challenges and opportunities and, as a local authority, we must be ready and capable of responding to those changes and working with schools, however they are governed, to ensure all our children and young people have access to high-quality, inclusive education.

“Devon is already recognised as a high performing county with 93.5 per cent of the county’s children taught in good or outstanding schools and above average academic results from Early Years through to GCSEs.

“By campaigning with heads, teachers and parents across Devon, we secured £16 million extra for our schools from the Government last year and another £16 million this year.

“But Devon’s schools are still among the worst funded in the country. The Government has promised to introduce a national fair funding system for schools and we have to ensure that our voice is heard loud and clear in Westminster as Ministers consult on how that will operate.

“We are also campaigning with heads and governors to ensure that Ministers fully recognise the rising financial burden that is being placed on schools and local authorities to meet the needs of the increasing number of children with special needs.

“Devon County Council is committed to local schools for local people and I will work tirelessly with all schools to do the very best for all our children.”

Devon’s Cabinet Member for Schools, James McInnes, said: “I am delighted that the appointments panel has confirmed Dawn Stabb as our new Head of Education and Learning.

“Her experience across a wide range of roles in both schools and the local authority, as well as her business background, provides her with the skills and ability to lead the education service and respond to developments at this time of rapid change.

“Her particular role as head of the virtual school for children in care, where she raised results significantly, brings together very important experience in education and social care which will be very useful in her new role.

“At the centre of all we do, we must remember that we are all here for one purpose and that is to do the very best we can for all our children.”