Oasis academy chief Rebecca Clark named as new regional schools commissioner

The Department for Education has today appointed a new regional schools commissioner (RSC) to take over from Sir David Carter after his promotion.

Rebecca Clark, national education director and South West regional director for Oasis Community Learning, will take on the RSC role for the South West of England.

Clark – once the youngest headteacher in the country – takes over from Carter after he was recently made national schools commissioner.

“There is real strength and opportunity in the South West,” said Clark. “I believe that every leader holds a collective responsibility for ensuring that every child across our region receives their entitlement to an excellent education.

“I look forward to bringing my experience of harnessing effective collaboration between leaders and teachers both regionally and nationally to my new role. It is only by working together in the interests of all schools and all children that we will ensure that the South West is an excellent place to lead, to teach and to educate a child.”

Clark has held two headteacher roles in the Bristol area and became the youngest headteacher in the country when she was appointed to lead Oasis Academy John Williams in 2009, at the age of 31.

She has been a regional director for Oasis academies – which runs 11 schools in Bristol, Wiltshire and Southampton – since 2013.

Clark has also worked with schools across the region as South West regional leader for PiXL.

Schools Week revealed last month how a “gaming” row had again flared up over PiXL’s advice for schools to use a controversial fast-track ICT qualification that can be taught in three days.

Headteacher Tom Sherrington said the organisation’s advice for schools on how to maximise exam results for the school’s benefit was “disturbing and depressing”.

Ofsted chief Sean Harford also described the tactics as “depressing” and said at the time he will “make sure inspectors” look out for this, and has today confirmed he has asked his team to crack down on league table “gaming”.

Carter said: “I am delighted to appoint someone of her [Clarke’s] calibre to one of the most important roles in the education system.

“I know she will use her experience and expertise to boost standards in schools across the South West and I look forward to working closely with her.”

Well wishers have also taken to Twitter to pass on their congratulations.

John Murphy, chief executive of Oasis Community Learning, said: “This new appointment is a wonderful opportunity for her personally and a wise and strategic decision by the DfE.  I am immensely proud that by this appointment, the incredible work of Rebecca and the exceptional record of Oasis in Bristol and the South West has been recognised.”

Clark, who has also co-authored a book called “Self-improving schools: The Journey to Excellence”, will start next month. She will oversee almost 800 academies and free schools in the region.

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  1. Oasis track record includes:
    11 March 2015: Ofsted letter of concern after focused inspections of Oasis academies (although letter wasn’t made public until 25 June 2015,over three months later and, of course, after the election);
    15 June 2015: Pre-termination warning notice to Oasis Academy Skinner Street;
    14 January 2016: pre-warning notice to Oasis Academy Wintringham;
    14 January 2016: warning notice to Oasis Academy Nunthorpe;
    No mention of this in the DfE’s glowing press release.