New Permanent Secretary for Department of Education

Date published: 09 January 2017

The Department of Education has announced that Derek Baker is to be the new Permanent Secretary.

Derek Baker has 36 years experience in the Northern Ireland Civil Service.  From May 2016 he has served as Deputy Secretary in the Department for the Economy; prior to this he was acting Permanent Secretary in the Department for Employment and Learning from June 2013.  He will take up post in the Department of Education on 27 February 2017.

Education Minister, Peter Weir, said:

“I congratulate Derek on his success in the recent competition to appoint a new Permanent Secretary for my Department.  He brings with him an extensive range of skills and experience which are essential in such a key post and I am sure he is very much looking forward to coming to grips with the challenges ahead.

“I look forward to working with Derek, and to meeting head on the challenges facing the education sector in the months and years ahead.”

In conclusion, the Minister paid tribute to the outgoing Permanent Secretary, Paul Sweeney, for his years of dedication to the Northern Ireland Civil Service.  He said:

“I thank Paul Sweeney for his hard work, dedication and contribution to the Department of Education during his time as Permanent Secretary.  Paul has held many senior positions during the 20 years in the Northern Ireland Civil Service and I wish him well in his retirement.” 

Notes to editors: 

  1. Derek Baker was born and educated in Newry.  He graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast in 1980 with a BA Hons degree in French and German.  His civil service career started in the 1980s in the Department for Economic Development.  He has held senior positions in a number of departments including the Department of Health, the Department for Social Development, the Department of Finance and Personnel and Department of Education.  He was appointed acting Permanent Secretary of the Department for Employment and Learning in June 2013.  In May 2016 he became Deputy Secretary in the new Department for the Economy, with responsibility for Strategic Policy and Analytical Services.
  2. Follow us on Twitter @Education_NI
  3. See photos from the Department of Education in our flickr collection.
  4. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office Tel: 028 9127 9207. Out of office hours, contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 0762 397 4383 and your call will be returned.

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