Ministers ‘consider’ new London RSC as part of wider DfE restructure

The department is taking a 'purposeful look at how we are organised to deliver'

The department is taking a 'purposeful look at how we are organised to deliver'

24 Jan 2022, 17:10

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Ministers are considering giving London its own regional schools commissioner (RSC) as part of a wider shake-up at the Department for Education.

Susan Acland-Hood, the department’s permanent secretary, admitted the eight RSC regions do not match up with more widely-used regions in other departments.

The regions were established in 2014, with London split between three different regions, and commissioners appointed to oversee academies in their area.

But Acland-Hood said today she “recognises these are not regions that quite map on to others that are used.

“As it happens this is one of the things we are looking at as part of some work we’re doing in the department on our own future organisations because there’s I think a a case for us having a look at lining our regions up.”

She said wider government and Ofsted both uses nine regions, adding: “There is certainly one possible world where we would use the same nine regions as everyone else, in which case we would go from eight to nine [RSCs].”

She said the London change was “under consideration” and “something we’re looking at”, but wouldn’t commit to a timeframe. Any changes to other regions as part of such a restructure would be limited, she added.

The details come as the department reviews its own staffing set-up. Labour asked the DfE whether it has “any plans to restructure staffing”.

Universities minister Michelle Donelan responded: “Like many organisations, having reflected on how the COVID-19 outbreak has changed us and our sectors, and at how we want to work in future, we are currently working with our staff to take a purposeful look at how we are organised to deliver.”

It links with an independent review launched to ensure the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) “remains effective into the future”.

The ESFA review will look at the “operating model, governance, accountability and impact” of the organisation. It is part of wider programme of reviews into arm’s length bodies.

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