Former primary head and education adviser appointed as interim RSCs

A former primary school head and an ex-Downing Street education adviser have been appointed as interim regional schools commissioners.

Dame Kate Dethridge will replace Martin Post in north west London and south central England in August, and Katherine Cowell will take the post in the north of England in July, replacing Janet Renou. Both Post and Renou are standing down having served their full five-year contracts.

It follows a raft of appointments of civil servants to RSC posts, marking a move away from the original set-up, when most RSCs were school leaders.

The two new RSCs, who both already work within the commissioners network, will assume responsibility for overseeing academies in their regions “until a formal recruitment process begins to fill the roles permanently in the autumn”, the DfE said.

Dethridge was a primary school headteacher and national leader of education before becoming deputy RSC in the north west London and south central region team in 2016.

Cowell, a deputy RSC in the north, is a former education adviser to the prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

“Dame Kate Dethridge and Katherine Cowell will bring a wealth of education and leadership experience to these vital roles having worked in RSC offices and the education sector, and I am looking forward to working with them,” said Dominic Herrington, the national schools commissioner.

Earlier this month, it was announced that south west deputy RSC Hannah Woodhouse would replace her boss Lisa Mannall from September 1 and Claire Burton, a former chief executive of the Standards and Testing Agency, would become the RSC for south London and south east England in August, replacing Herrington, who previously served in the region and as interim national schools commissioner.

The DfE announced last month it will make “operational changes to the work of regional schools commissioners” to make their teams more “joined-up”.

A source told Schools Week the changes are about “broadening the regional systems with a senior civil servant in charge”, but no further details have been announced.

Vicky Beer, Andrew Warren, Sue Baldwin and John Edwards continue to serve as the other four RSCs.