Academies

National schools commissioner Dominic Herrington to leave role

Departure to Ministry of Justice role comes ahead of shake-up of regional school commissioners group

Departure to Ministry of Justice role comes ahead of shake-up of regional school commissioners group

26 May 2022, 17:39

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Dominic Herrington will leave his post as national schools commissioner after nearly four years in the role to take up a new post at the Ministry of Justice.

The exit, announced today, comes ahead of the planned restructuring of the government’s team of regional schools commissioners, who currently report to Herrington, but will soon answer to a new director-general.

The senior civil servant tweeted that he had “accepted a role on transforming prisons delivery in the Ministry Of Justice”.

“Wanted to say a massive thanks to all the colleagues I have worked with in trusts, schools and regional teams – you have been and are incredible!”

As revealed in the Department for Education’s schools white paper, the team of eight current RSCs will morph into the DfE’s new regions group from September.

This group will expand to include nine regional directors in order to align with the regions used across the rest of government.

It will serve as the DfE’s regulatory arm and will also deliver the government’s ambitions to move toward a fully trust-led system by 2030.

According to a job advert posted earlier this year, the regions group will be led by a new £135,000-a-year director general.

The advert states the successful candidate will “lead a group comprising nine regional teams and a central function, which delivers for and responds to local needs, and understands impacts on children and learners, particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people”.

Herrington’s resignation suggests he either did not put himself forward or was unsuccessful in applying for the role.

The advert, which closed in March, stated a selection panel, including the DfE’s permanent secretary Susan Acland-Hood, would oversee the recruitment process.

Herrington has been in role since 2018

Herrington was first appointed as NSC on an interim basis in September 2018, before taking on the role permanently in April 2019.

Before his appointment, Herrington was the RSC for south east England and south London between July 2014 and September 2018.

During the pandemic, he helped oversee the regional education and children’s teams (REACT) project, which saw nine regional REACT teams established to help the most vulnerable children.

Each team was led by an RSC and included Ofsted’s regional directors and other DfE policy teams. They staged bi-weekly meetings to pool intelligence and provide additional support and guidance to local authorities.

Those involved in the project previously told Schools Week that teams acted as troubleshooters for the most vulnerable children.

Herrington had also previously called for multi-academy trusts to use their “considerable” capacity and resources to help vulnerable schools recover from Covid.

Soon after taking the role, Herrington pledged to make the government’s secretive headteacher boards more transparent to ensure there were “no mysteries” behind decision-making.

The boards advise RSCs on decisions about academisation and rebrokering.

Herrington’s region was the first to publish beefed-up minutes in 2018, which included details of advice and comments made by board members which provided clearer understanding of how key decisions were made.

Following the planned rejig each regional director will be supported by an advisory board containing up to eight members.

Four of the members have been elected by academies in each region, while two will be appointed by the regional director while the remaining two will be brought onboard in agreement with ministers to fill any skills or expertise gaps.

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