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Regional Schools Commissioners

Published Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This briefing provides information on the role of Regional Schools Commissioners and outlines some of the issues that have been raised since their creation.

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In September 2014, eight Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs) were appointed as civil servants in the Department for Education (DfE) with responsibility for approving new academies and intervening in underperforming academies in their area. Their role was expanded from 1 July 2015 to additionally include responsibility for approving the conversion of underperforming maintained schools into academies and making the decision on sponsors.

RSCs take decisions on behalf of the Secretary of State and are supported in their work by a Headteacher Board comprising six to eight members. They report through the Schools Commissioner and a DfE Director to Lord Nash, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools. Their performance is assessed against a set of eight key performance indicators spanning four areas of responsibility.

The Education and Adoption Act 2016 provides for the Education Secretary to be given new powers in relation to maintained schools. This includes the power to issue warning notices to maintained schools and the power to require the governing body of a maintained school that is ‘eligible for intervention’ to enter into arrangements. The Act’s provisions also require that every school judged ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted be turned into a sponsored academy. The Education Secretary has stated that these powers will be exercised on her behalf by the RSCs.

This briefing provides information on the role of RSCs and outlines some of the issues that have been raised since their creation, including by the Education Committee in its January 2016 report, The role of Regional Schools CommissionersThe Government responded to the report in April 2016.

The Education White Paper, Educational Excellence Everywhere, published in March 2016, proposes an expanded role for RSCs within an all academy school system, with the power to commission support and intervention for schools identified as under-performing.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7308

Authors: David Foster; Robert Long

Topics: Local authorities: education, Schools

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