Merton Council appoints Jane McSherry as new Director for Children, Schools and Families

Merton Council has promoted from within to fill the vacant position of Director for Children, Schools and Families by appointing Jane McSherry, who is currently the council’s Assistant Director for Education and Early Help.

Jane has been in her current role for six years and, prior to that, worked for neighbouring Wandsworth Borough Council. As Assistant Director for Education and Early Help, she has been responsible for over 250 staff and a budget of £64 million. During her time at Merton, the department has delivered continuous improvements to outcomes for children in the borough, including:

  • an increase in the percentage of all schools that are judged ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ from 81% to 95%
  • 100% of secondary and special schools now judged ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’
  • outcomes and progress improving year on year at all key stages
  • the highest Progress 8 score for GCSEs in the country in 2017, and consistently in the top 10% thereafter
  • whilst also delivering £2.5m cost efficiencies  across the Education Division

Now that her appointment has been ratified by Merton’s Cabinet, Jane will start as Director next month. The vacancy opened up after Rachael Wardell joined Surrey County Council last December, after two and a half years at Merton.

Jane said: “I’m delighted to take on this role. Having worked in the borough for six years I know the strength of partnership working in Merton and how this benefits children and families, I am committed to taking this from strength to strength. The staff team in Children, Schools and Families are dedicated and passionate about the work they do and it will be an honour to lead them.  The last year has been unprecedented and I know we have work to do to support the recovery from this pandemic but I am also really optimistic about the continuous improvement journey we are on to provide excellent services for our residents.”

Councillor Eleanor Stringer, Merton’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children and Education and joint Deputy Leader, said: “Our Children, Schools and Families team has achieved so much over recent years. Merton’s schools are performing better than ever and have done an incredible job throughout lockdown. Our children’s services teams have ensured we continue to deliver a highly-rated service to those in need throughout the pandemic, and our leadership team has always had the support of a great team of people.

“Jane has been an integral part of building that culture, and is the ideal person to continue to take the directorate on the upward curve everybody has worked so hard to deliver.”