New regional schools commissioner for south west announced

New RSC for south west comes from Oasis academy sponsor and is linked with controversial PiXL Club

Ministers have appointed Rebecca Clark, a former director at the multi-academy trust Oasis Community Learning, to take over as the regional schools commissioner in the south west.

Ms Clark will fill the vacancy left by Sir David Carter, who was appointed as National Schools Commissioner at the turn of the year.

Her appointment is likely to raise eyebrows, however, after Ofsted inspectors warned Oasis that too many of its academies had “not improved quickly enough” in March last year.

Of the schools in the south west looked at by the watchdog at the time, three were rated “good”, while three were judged to “require improvement”.

Ms Clark was also the south west regional leader for the controversial group the PiXL Club, which has been accused of helping schools to “game” league tables.

In today’s TES, Ofsted’s national education director Sean Harford said he would want inspectors to take a “sharper look” at what qualifications schools are entering their pupils for in a bid to crack down on possible “gaming”.

The new RSC worked as national education director and south west regional director for Oasis, and will now oversee the growth of academies in the area.

Ms Clark knows the area well having taught in Cornwall, before becoming, at the time, the youngest head in the country when she became principal of Oasis Academy John Williams in Bristol at the age of 31.

In a statement announcing her appointment, the new RSC said: “There is real strength and opportunity in the South West. I believe that every leader holds a collective responsibility for ensuring that every child across our region receives their entitlement to an excellent education.

“I look forward to bringing my experience of harnessing effective collaboration between leaders and teachers both regionally and nationally to my new role.”

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