Two senior civil servants appointed as RSCs

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Two senior civil servants have been appointed as regional schools commissioners – seemingly signalling the end of school leaders being appointed to the roles.

Hannah Woodhouse, a deputy director in the office of the south west RSC Lisa Mannall will replace her boss on September 1.

Claire Burton, a former chief executive of the Standards and Testing Agency, will become the RSC for south London and south east England in August. She replaces Dominic Herrington, who was recently appointed as national schools commissioner on a permanent basis.

The appointment of two more senior civil servants to the RSCs network comes as the government prepares to shake-up the influential role.

The DfE announced last month it will make “operational changes to the work of regional schools commissioners” to make their teams more “joined-up”.

A source told Schools Week the changes are about “broadening the regional systems with a senior civil servant in charge”.

The DfE has also finally confirmed that Janet Renou, the RSC for the north of England, is to leave when her contract runs out this summer, as reported by Schools Week last week.

The department had previously not commented on her planned departure, which came to light after north west London and south-central RSC Martin Post, who like Renou has served since the advent of RSCs almost five years ago, announced he will leave when his contract is up.

Today, the DfE said replacements for Post and Renou will be confirmed “shortly”.

Vicky Beer, Andrew Warren, Sue Baldwin and John Edwards continue to serve as the other four RSCs.

“Hannah Woodhouse and Claire Burton will both bring deep expertise to the roles, which will be invaluable in helping to support and challenge school leaders across each of their regions,” said Lord Agnew, the academies minister.

Post and Renou are former headteachers, and their departure means few school leaders remain in key school-facing roles at the DfE.

The original RSCs were given five-year fixed-term contracts, and Post was applauded at a recent Westminster Education Forum event when he said he was “one of the few that’s actually going to serve out the five-year contract”.

The only RSC to have served a similar length of time to Post and Renou is Herrington, who was appointed in July 2014 on a rolling contract because he was already a civil servant.

Lisa Mannall, RSC for the south west, is due to leave her role this summer to head up the Cornwall Learning Education Trust. She joins a long line of former RSCs departing to take up jobs in the academies sector, including Tim Coulson, Rebecca Clark, Pank Patel and Paul Smith.

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