The Education Committee published written evidence from the Department for Education yesterday as part of its inquiry into regional schools commissioners (RSC). Here’s what you need to know:
1. The RSC vision for your region
The bulk of the evidence is made up of the “vision documents” for each of the RSC areas. They are all quite similar (most pledge to support free schools, drive improvement etc) but there are some differences by region.
They also, mostly, all start with this line:
2. But, not everyone was able to see them (until now, just click here)
3. So what do they tell us … First of all, RSCs are spreading “sub-regional” tentacles
The vision for the South East and South London region pledges to develop three sub-regional groups of system leaders to help drive improvement.
The South West will develop four School Improvement Partnership Boards (SIPB) to provide further input at sub-regional level and help shape strategic development.
4. World domination on the agenda for the newest RSC
Vicky Beer is the recently appointed RSC for Lancashire and West Yorkshire. Her vision document states: “Our aim is that young people in the region should receive an education at least as good as in other parts of the country; if not the world*, and that we work together with partners in the region to secure improved outcomes for all young people.”
*Interesting to know how progress on that will be evaluated…
5. Does Janet Renou have a secret machine that churns out free school founders?
The vision document for the north region states: “We will generate new sponsors and free school proposers in areas of need.”
She also wants every multi-academy trust to achieve teacher school status
6. (Drumroll please) ….. and the RSC with the most under-performing academies is…
Here’s her plan to change that:
7. And here’s a full list of underperforming schools broken down by RSC region
8. Bumper five-year deals
All RSCs have been given five-year fixed-term contracts*. As they were set up just before this year’s general election, we think that could be so a new government couldn’t come in and ditch them all – without very hefty pay offs…
*Interestingly, Dominic Herrington is the only RSC not on a five-year deal. Because he was a civil servant before getting the south east England and south London gig, his permanent contract has just rolled on. So, maybe you would need a hefty wod of cash to get rid of him.
Every vision document includes a pledge to be transparent, part of this includes producing newsletters. Hmm. Schools Week keeps a keen eye on the work of these RSCs and we certainly haven’t seen any.
If you have – we would love to see ’em. Email email@example.com
10. Big academy chains get their own RSC
Academy chains that have schools across more than one region get a lead RSC who “owns” the relationship and is responsible for negotiating strategic decisions or approaches.
National schools commissioner Frank Green does the allocating, based on stuff like where the chain’s head office is, the quality of relationship it has with specific RSCs, etc.
Click here to see the full list (Appendix F, page 28)
11. But AET is extra special
Not content with having their own lead RSC, the Academies Enterprise Trust actually gets top dog Mr Green.
12. More on those shiny new “education advisors”
Schools Week revealed last week that those controversial academy brokers had been consigned to the scrap heap, and shiny new “education advisors” brought in.
The evidence shows there are 93 educational specialist contractors supporting the academies and free schools programme on; underperforming open academies, finding new sponsors and supporting delivering free schools. The contracts started in November.
Additionally, some of these 93 deploy “multiple individual advisors” from a pool of more than 400 advisors. RSCs also select between 20 and 40 key individuals to work closely with for the next two years.
13. Multi-million pound school support pot
RSCs use the school-to-school support fund to send in national leaders of education and teacher school alliances to help underperforming schools. (All of which is brokered by the National College for Teaching and Leadership)
A total of £10.8m was dished out in round one of the funding in December last year, and another £4.7m in September this year.
14. And finally …
The DfE has included in its submission the list of RSCs’ key performance indicators. The KPIs were only previously available in the public domain on Schools Week’s website, after we got them under freedom of information laws.
They still, however, aren’t published on .gov.uk.