The Department for Education insists it will launch a recruitment process for its new “behaviour network” experts, after the project’s lead adviser was appointed without competition.
It was announced on Saturday that Tom Bennett, who led the DfE’s independent review of behaviour in schools, will head a £10 million project to share best behaviour practice with about 500 schools.
Schools Week understands he was appointed without a formal recruitment process, and that the government felt this was justified because one of the functions of the network would be to implement his 2017 report.
A source said he was “uniquely placed” to do so.
But when pressed by Schools Week on how the other advisers for the project would be selected, the DfE insisted a formal recruitment process would be followed, with applications opening “in due course”.
The lead schools will also be chosen through a formal bidding process, Schools Week understands. The DfE does not have a specific number of lead schools in mind, and will base its final decision on the calibre of the applications.
Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said the DfE wanted schools to “instil cultures of good behaviour top to bottom” and described improving pupil behaviour as a “key priority”.
“With £10 million of funding, the support provided to schools will allow teachers to get on with what they do best – teaching – and empower school leaders to implement their behaviour policies correctly and robustly.”
Schools Week understands Bennett will be paid on a pro-rata basis. His hourly rate is not known.