Local MP Justin Tomlinson has met with the new Regional Schools Commissioner for the South West, Lisa Mannall, to discuss education in Swindon.
Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs) work on behalf of the Secretary of State for Education and are accountable to the National Schools Commissioner. Each RSC is supported by a Headteacher Board and these Headteacher Boards are made up of experienced academy headteachers who advise & challenge RSCs on the decisions they make.
Brought in by the Government to boost standards, RSCs are responsible for:
- taking action where academies and free schools are underperforming
- intervening in academies where governance is inadequate
- deciding on applications from local-authority-maintained schools to convert to academy status
- improving underperforming maintained schools by providing them with support from a strong sponsor
- encouraging and deciding on applications from sponsors to operate in a region
- taking action to improve poorly performing sponsors
- advising on proposals for new free schools
- advising on whether to cancel, defer or enter into funding agreements with free school projects
- deciding on applications to make significant changes to academies and free schools
During the meeting, Justin and the Commissioner discussed the fact that there are 3,474 more children in good or outstanding schools in Swindon today than in 2010, and recent results showed Swindon to have one of the top ten highest increases in the country for the phonics screening check.
The pair also talked about the important role of academies & Multi-Academy Trusts (a system where schools work together under a strong, united leadership to share best practice and drive up standards), as well as the positive work of teachers in Swindon to ensure every child has the opportunity to reach their potential.
Justin also highlighted the large number of parents who have supported the building of the new £21million Great Western Academy (which Justin led the campaign for) and discussed how a great many parents had attended the drop-in sessions with the new headteacher which were hosted at the MP’s Community Office at the Orbital Shopping Park.
Justin Tomlinson MP said: “It was fantastic to sit down with Lisa and the team from the South West Regional Schools Commissioner’s Office to discuss the work being done in Swindon to drive up standards and ensure every child has the opportunity to reach their potential. Swindon has a number of good & outstanding schools, but we want to go further, and the most recent set of results show that we are now on the right track. I will continue to meet with parents, teachers, headteachers and the Regional Schools Commissioner to ensure that going forward even more of our schools achieve the top rating, results continue to improve, and our every pupil benefits.”