Executive structure

The management structure of Qualifications Wales consists of four tiered groups to oversee the strategic and operational activities of the organisation.

The Qualifications Wales Board  

The main purpose of our Board is to ensure that Qualifications Wales meets the requirements of its Principal Aims as set out in the Qualifications Wales Act 2015, and the principles of good regulation. In undertaking this role, the Board:

  • sets strategic direction and provides effective leadership
  • monitors performance to ensure the delivery of its aims, objectives and targets, as set out in its business plan

The board comprises the Chair, Chief Executive, and between eight and ten ordinary Board members that are appointed by the Minister for Education and Skills.

The Executive  

The Executive works in partnership with the Board when developing strategy for Qualifications Wales. The Executive is accountable for the day-to-day activities of the organisation and provides corporate leadership. It fulfils many of its management responsibilities through the Management Board, which has extended membership.

The Executive will comprise the Chief Executive and the Executive Directors for:

  • Policy and Research
  • Regulation
  • Finance and Corporate Services

Management Board   

The Management Board provides direction on operational activity, corporate matters, and is the principal decision-making forum. The core membership of the Management Board includes the Executive, the Associate Directors for General Qualifications (GQ) and Vocational Qualifications (VQ), and the Head of Communications. Other members of the Senior Leadership Group will attend the Management Board as necessary, depending on the topics being discussed.

Senior Leadership Group 

Our Senior Leadership Group brings together all of the senior leaders within the organisation. Its primary purpose is to ensure that there is strong cohesion across the various functions, and effective communication throughout the organisation. The Senior Leadership Group are guardians of our values and the members work together to take responsibility for specific cross-functional activities and projects. The Senior Leadership Group provides strong leadership throughout the organisation.

The Senior Leadership Group comprises the Management Board, plus the Heads of Policy, Research, External Relations, Development and Commissioning, Procurement, Finance, ICT, the two senior regulators, the Human Resources Manager, the Corporate Governance Manager and the Senior Facilities Manager.


Philip Blaker

Philip Blaker, Chief Executive

Philip became Chief Executive in August 2015, after joining the organisation on an interim basis in October 2014. Prior to that, he was Director of Operations at UCAS, where he was accountable for the day-to-day delivery of UCAS’ admissions services, including the processing of applications, collection of course data and verification services. He joined UCAS in November 2011, having previously worked with them as a management consultant. Philip’s career has been focused on the delivery of large-scale complex operations, and, before becoming a consultant with PwC, he had a background in the delivery of national assessments and examinations. Philip was Director of Test Operations with the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency and part of the senior management team with examinations board AQA. Philip has postgraduate qualifications in business management and is a qualified project and programme manager.

Kate Crabtree

Kate Crabtree, Executive Director, Policy & Research

Prior to her appointment at Qualifications Wales, Kate was the Deputy Director of the Qualifications and Regulation Division at Welsh Government, where she had responsibility for the development and regulation of general and vocational qualifications in Wales and the Welsh Baccalaureate. Kate was brought up and educated in Caerphilly. She attended Nottingham University gaining an Honours Degree in Social Policy before embarking on a Masters Degree in Social Work at Hull University. She worked as a Social Worker in Shropshire and Cardiff before embarking on a career in further education as lecturer and manager. During this time she completed an MBA. Kate joined Welsh Government in 2006 and was the lead civil servant working with Huw Evans on the Review of Qualifications.

Jo Richards

Jo Richards, Executive Director, Regulation

Jo joined Qualifications Wales from WJEC, where she was Director of Assessment Delivery overseeing assessment design and quality, standards and managing customer relationships. During her six years at WJEC, Jo held a number of roles leading on issues relating to awarding and research and worked closely with regulators on comparability of standards. Before joining WJEC, Jo undertook a two-year Welsh Government secondment working as the Project Manager for the National Behaviour and Attendance Review and Action Plan. Jo has worked in the education sector throughout her working life; she taught Mathematics and Statistics for 10 years, both in Wales and internationally, as well as holding senior pastoral roles.

Alison Standfast

Alison Standfast, Executive Director, Finance and Corporate Services

Alison led the development work within Welsh Government to create Qualifications Wales. Prior to that she ran the Value Wales division of Welsh Government, responsible for public procurement policy and delivery of collaborative procurement and e-procurement programmes across the Welsh public sector. She joined Welsh Government in 2002 from British Airways, where she worked for 17 years, initially in procurement, and latterly as Head of Customer Service at the Avionics subsidiary, where she was a member of the Management Board. While on the Board she had responsibility for business development, customer service, scheduling, parts and new product development.

Emyr George

Emyr George, Associate Director, General Qualifications

Emyr joined Qualifications Wales from Ofqual, the office of qualifications and examinations regulation in England, where he was Associate Director for Regulatory Implementation. During his time at Ofqual he worked in a number of different areas, including regulatory policy, operational delivery and stakeholder management. He also worked closely with the Department for Education and with awarding bodies on the reform of GCSEs, AS and A levels in England.

Cassy Taylor

Cassy Taylor, Associate Director, Vocational Qualifications

Cassy joined Qualifications Wales from Welsh Government where she played a lead role in the establishment of Qualifications Wales, focusing in particular on the development of the Qualifications Wales Act and the design of the organisation. Cassy has worked in the education and training sector for the majority of her working life – most recently as a regulator, leading the regulation of general qualifications between 2008 and 2012. Her previous roles include quality management in further and higher education in England and as a Qualifications Manager at the OCR awarding body in the late 1990s. Cassy also worked extensively in the vocational training field specialising in the development of, and support for, open learning in the health and care sector.