RSC Tim Coulson resigns to head Samuel Ward Academy Trust

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Regional schools commissioner Tim Coulson is stepping down from the role to head up a multi-academy trust – leaving just three originals RSCs still in post.

Coulson, commissioner for the East of England and north-east London, will become the new chief executive of the Samuel Ward Academy Trust in west Suffolk.

He’s the fourth RSC to resign. After Sir David Carter stepped up to become the national schools commissioner – it means just three of the eight originals are still in post.

Coulson will be taking over from outgoing chief executive Howard Lay, to run the academy trust of 15 schools, overseeing the education of 8,000 pupils.

Samuel Ward was also one of the trusts given £200,000 by the government this month to become a new research hub.

Coulson said the trust is a “model of what a MAT should be and will be in the future”.

“I was attracted to the fact that the trust is based around four towns in close geographical proximity and has those communities at its heart.

“It is also very important for individual primary, secondary and special schools to retain their identity and this is something I want to foster and enhance.”

Coulson added he was proud to have been one of the founder RSCs and “loved every minute of it”.

‘We’ll ensure there are no conflicts of interest’

He told colleagues in an email that he expects to move to the new role over the summer, adding he is working with the national schools commissioner Sir David Carter to ensure there are no conflict of interests over decisions he is responsible for.

Jon Ward, acting chair of the Samuel Ward trust, said they are delighted to have attracted “such a highly regarded senior educationalist”.

“It is positive news for all our schools and students as well as across the whole of Suffolk.

“Tim will bring strong strategic direction to the trust and help drive our innovative and forward-thinking approach to local education.”

Other RSC departures include Jennifer Bexon-Smith, for the East Midlands and the Humber, who was due to retire last month after just over two years in the role.

Pank Patel, RSC for the West Midlands, also stepped down in May 2016 to lead an academy for the Ormiston trust.

Paul Smith, RSC for Lancashire and West Yorkshire, resigned in early 2015 to join the Future Academies trust, which was founded by schools minister Lord Nash.

His replacement Vicky Beer had announced earlier this year she was also to quit, but then U-turned on the decision after reflecting on the progress made in her region.


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