Regional Schools Commissioners

Published Thursday, September 24, 2015

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 Bill, which is currently before Parliament, provides for the Secretary of State for Education 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 Bill’s provisions would 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, thus representing a possible future further expansion of their role.

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

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7308

Author: David Foster

Topics: Local authorities: education, Schools

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