Former RSC John Edwards is new DfE academies tsar

Interim funding boss will oversee government schools policy in powerful new role

Interim funding boss will oversee government schools policy in powerful new role

The DfE has published a new version of the Academies Financial Handbook for 2021, rebranded the Academy Trust Handbook.

Former regional schools commissioner John Edwards will lead the Department for Education’s powerful new “regions group”, overseeing government schools policy.

Edwards, who is currently interim chief executive of the Education and Skills Funding Agency, tweeted today that he had been appointed as the first director-general for the regions group, which will replace the current system of RSCs.

A former director of education in Manchester, Edwards was RSC for the East Midlands and the Humber from 2017 to 2020. He became the ESFA’s interim chief last July following the resignation of Eileen Milner.

John Edwards

He announced today that Warwick Sharp, the ESFA’s current director of academies and maintained schools, would step up as interim CEO from next Monday, and David Withey will take up the role permanently in August.

The appointment comes after Dominic Herrington, the current national schools commissioner, revealed he was moving to a job at the Ministry of Justice, suggesting he either did not put himself forward or was unsuccessful in applying for the director-general role.

In his new post, Edwards will oversee nine regional directors, who will replace the current eight RSCs. The DfE recently confirmed the creation of a specific London region, to bring its operations in line with other departments and agencies.

The new regions group will provide “integrated delivery for schools and local authorities, including children’s social care and special educational needs and disabilities”.

Edwards said he was “delighted and humbled” and was “looking forward to working with all colleagues and partners, nationally and regionally”.

“Been a privilege to be interim CEO of the ESFA – huge thanks to all the brilliant colleagues I’ve worked with.”

Withey, the next permanent ESFA chief, will move to the job from Australia where he is currently chief operating officer and deputy ​secretary at the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Education. 

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  1. Peter Sopowski

    So a Regional Schools Commisar – has got a bigger job as a Schools Tsar !!! Ok so how is this going to help Children , Teachers and Parents ? – Looks like these roles are just helping themselves to even more salary and power over democratically accountable LA’s !!!