Who are the Regional Schools Commissioners – and why do they matter?

A new report by the Education Committee reveals the problems with the Regional Schools Commissioner model. But who are they?

Eight regional school commissioners were appointed in 2014 and preside over all academies in England.

We interviewed the first eight, however two have now moved on. Paul Smith has been replaced by Vicky Beer, and David Carter is now the National Schools Commissioner. There is no replacement for his position in the South West as yet.

For information about the rest, however, click through to our interviews with them here:

A – Martin Post,  south central England and north west London

B – Sir David Carter, south-west England, now National Schools Commissioner.

C – Dr Tim Coulson, east of England and north east London

D – Janet Renou, North

E – Dominic Herrington, south-east England and south London

F – Pank Patel, West Midlands

G – Vicky Beer, Lancashire and west Yorkshire (previously Paul Smith, who is in the image above)

H – Jenny Bexon-Smith, east Midlands and Humber


Don’t rely on the place names to tell you which areas they cover. Their regions are a little unusual. They are drawn here:


(Yes, Yorkshire is oddly intersected by three regions, as is London).

The RSCs also cost quite a bit. Salaries are between £115,000 and £140,000. Staffing costs in each of  their offices are up to £260,000.

What do the RSCs do?

Their powers are devolved from the Secretary of State and include:

– Allowing schools to convert to be academies

– Sending warning notices if academies perform below expectation

– Deciding whether schools can expand or reduce their intake

We’ve been keeping tabs on all these sorts of actions here.

Why are they increasingly important?

RSCs have been increasing their power grip.

We have seen them:

Tell a school they should standardise lesson plans

Meet school leaders for emergency meetings (and shun parents)

Become the people in charge of free school decisions

Set up ‘challenge boards’ for under-performing areas

They also have some very interesting performance-related measures – which includes converting schools to being academies:


But they are about to become even more important.

Plans passing through parliament right now will give RSCs intervention powers in all schools. And they will increasingly be expected to intervene in ‘coasting’ schools – which will be defined using three years of performance data. 


For even more detail and pics: Download the FREE Schools Week ‘Guide to Regional Schools Commissioners’

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