Chris Ward, former Director of Education, Skills and Employment at Sandwell Borough Council, has been announced as the new chair of not-for-profit education service provider SIPS Education.

Mr Ward, who was Director of Education at the council, takes up the unpaid role from January, and describes it as a great opportunity to be able to continue to work with the borough’s head teachers with whom he worked so closely in his previous role.

“This allows me to give something back to a community of schools which gave me nothing but joy for the last 17 years,” he commented.

“As the last person at the council who was involved with the design and creation of SIPS, part of me also wants to ensure this venture continues to be a success.”

“SIPS has matured really well over the years, and has adapted and improved its offer; we know that the current government is making considerable budget cuts to schools and local authorities, so an organisation like SIPS is going to be absolutely essential in the future. I hope I can offer a helping hand, a word of advice, and just support the service to develop into something all schools use as a first port of call.”

SIPS chief executive, Brian Cape, commented: “I have known Chris for several years and I was delighted when he accepted the role of chair; he brings with him an incredible knowledge of the education sector and will be a brilliant advocate for SIPS across our region. I feel we complement each other exceptionally well and I’m really excited to be working with Chris again – I can’t wait to see how he helps us develop in ways we’d never imagined.”

Founded in 2013, SIPS Education is a not-for-profit education service provider committed to enriching children and young people’s learning and well-being through excellent partnerships.

SIPS is majority owned by schools and provides high-quality support and improvement services to schools and learning centres including: catering, IT, school finance service, music and arts, human resources (HR), governance, education business partnerships, governor training, early career teachers (ECTs), school improvement and safety services.