Annal Nayyar report on Lord Nash speech about unlocking the power of academies

Lord Nash announced that he was very pleased to announce that  that the Government was  making an extra £9 million available for the sponsor capacity fund in 2014 to 2015. This funding builds on the fund’s success over the past 2 years in supporting over 250 sponsors. I hope that this year’s fund will encourage others to follow in their footsteps and come forward where they are most needed.

Sponsors have told stated  that it would be helpful to have an idea about the level of funding they can expect. Which is why we’re moving this year to a system that awards successful applicants a flat-rate grant of £75,000.

Also, when 3 schools come together, at least 2 of which are primaries they can apply for a primary academy chain development grant of £100,000 to help set up joint processes and structures across the group of schools. Small primary schools joining the MAT will be able to claim an additional grant; and when there are more than 3 schools, further money is available up to a total of £150,000.

There is movementto a much more autonomous and school-led academy system by bringing decision making much closer to schools through our introduction of 8 regional schools commissioners. We have already recruited 6 of these posts this month and I am delighted that 3 of the new RSCs are existing academy heads and 1 is the CEO of an academy sponsor.


In the South West they have appointed Sir David Carter, currently CEO of Cabot Learning Federation

In North east London and the East they have appointed Dr Tim Coulson, currently Director of Education at Essex County Council

In South London and the South East they  have appointed Dominic Herrington, currently Director of Academies Group in the DfE

In the West Midlands they  have appointed Pank Patel, currently Headteacher at Wood Green Academy

In North west London and South Central they have appointed Martin Post, currently Headmaster at Watford Grammar School for Boys

And in Lancashire and West Yorkshire we have appointed Paul Smith, currently Executive Principal of Parbold Douglas Church of England Academy and Teaching School

Now that there are 4,000 academies the programme is beginning to become too big to be run from Sanctuary Buildings and these regional schools commissioners will take decisions on the creation of new academies and sponsors, monitor performance and sanction intervention and will ensure the sponsor market can fulfil local need, but they will not interfere with the autonomy of academies and free schools that are performing well.

Each regional schools commissioner will be supported by a headteacher board of 6 or so members. They will use their expertise and local knowledge to advise the RSC on issues like monitoring performance, intervention in under-performing academies and decisions about the creation of new academies and sponsors.


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