THE top civil servant in the Department of Education and Children is to retire at the end of August.
Chief executive officer Stuart Dobson, who will be 61, has headed the department since January 2011, when he succeeded the then Director of Education and Children.
He has worked for the DEC for eight years and, before his appointment as chief executive, was senior adviser and then deputy director of education.
Stuart has worked in education for 40 years as a teacher, headteacher, trainer, adviser and inspector. He has worked for a number of local authorities in the UK and has worked in both Germany and Saudi Arabia.
He took over as the full effects of the cash shortfall caused by the VAT renegotiation took hold.
He has had to deal with some of the most contentious issues in government over the last couple of years, including the privatisation of pre-school nurseries, the introduction of student tuition fees and the possible loss of jobs in the nurturing service.
He has worked with four ministers – Anne Craine, Eddie Teare, Peter Karran and Tim Crookall.
As CEO, he has responsibility for the island’s 39 schools, the Isle of Man College of Further and Higher Education and the education improvement, services for children, corporate services, finance, youth and estates divisions.
He says he has enjoyed heading a busy and diverse department, which has a workforce of some 2183 staff deployed across 72 centres, plus more than 500 supply and relief staff.
He said: ‘I have really enjoyed working with schools and the college and feel that, together, over the past eight years, we have achieved a lot to be proud of.
I am so impressed now when I go to schools and the college. I genuinely believe that learning and the wellbeing of children and young people are at their core. Our provision is richer and more vibrant than many places elsewhere.’
Stuart and his wife Eileen live in Kirk Michael. They have two sons, one an actuary who is just about to move from London to Canada to work and the other an accountant in Douglas.
Following his retirement, Stuart plans to ‘sleep more, do a lot of work with bricks and mortar’ and travel more frequently.
His job will be advertised shortly.