Deputy Secretaries

Linsey Farrell

Linsey Farrell has been Deputy Secretary for Education Policy and Children’s Services at the Department of Education since October 2021. 

In this role Linsey has responsibility for a range of education policy areas including Early Years, Children and Youth; Curriculum, Qualification and Standards; Inclusion and Wellbeing;  and Promoting Collaboration, Tackling Disadvantage.

Prior to moving to this post, from 2003 Linsey held various posts within The Executive Office.

Ronnie Armour

Ronnie Armour became Deputy Secretary for Resources and Reform in the Department for Education on 3 July 2023.  In this role he is responsible for Finance, Education Workforce Development, Area Planning, Admissions and shared Campuses, Corporate Services, Governance and the Independent Review of Education. 

Prior to moving to this post Ronnie served as Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service and Chief Executive of the NI Courts and Tribunals Service within the Department of Justice.    

Heather Cousins

Heather is Deputy Secretary of the Sustainability and Infrastructure Group in the Department of Education. In this role she is responsible for the Department’s Sustainable Schools Policy, for the building and maintenance of the Schools Estate and for the development of shared education campuses including Strule. Other policy areas include shared education, integrated education, Irish Medium and oversight of relevant Arm’s Length Bodies, policy and oversight in relation to food, transport and school uniforms.

Prior to moving to this post, Heather was Deputy Secretary in the Department for the Economy 2016 to July 2023, and Deputy Secretary in the Department for Employment and Learning from September 2013 to 2016


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