What will they do and what is the timescale?
The Government has been attacked over the perceived lack of accountability in the schools system. With a majority of secondary schools now ‘autonomous’ academies and directly accountable to the Secretary of State, critics have suggested that some form of middle tier is needed to ensure that struggling schools are spotted early on and given support. Most academies are singletons, and not part of a chain. Chains are thought to be more accountable and more likely to drive up standards. The government has responded to these concerns by announcing that eight full-time Regional Schools Commissioners will be appointed this summer.
The RSCs will be classed as civil servants in the Department for Education, on fixed five year contracts. They are expected to take up post in time for the 2014/15 academic year.
RSCs will undertake functions on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education. These are expected to include:
Monitoring performance and intervening to secure improvement in underperforming academies;
Taking decisions on the creation of new academies; and
supporting the national schools commissioner to ensure that there are sufficient sponsors to meet local need.
The RSCs will fulfil this role for all academies, including where academies and free schools offer 16-19 provision. The head teacher boards supporting RSCs will comprise of local education leaders, including headteachers from academies rated as outstanding by Ofsted. Around six of these outstanding heads will support each RSC. According to the government ‘This will ensure that skilled academy leaders have a voice in the development of the academy system in their region. The remit of the boards will not extend to further education or sixth form colleges and, therefore, we do not anticipate automatic representation for their Principals.’
The costs of RSCs have yet to be fully determined However, any costs will obviously have to be met within existing departmental administration budgets, which are being cut overall by 50% in real terms by 2015.
Lord Nash letter