Press release: New schools commissioner for South West England

The National Education Director of one of the country’s leading multi-academy trusts has been appointed as the new Regional Schools Commissioner for the South West of England.

Rebecca Clark, National Education Director and South West Regional Director for Oasis Community Learning, will be responsible for overseeing the growth of academies in the region and will monitor their performance to ensure children receive the best possible education. She is taking over from Sir David Carter, who was recently appointed National Schools Commissioner.

Rebecca will start on 1 May and will work closely with Sir David Carter and Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to shape the role and priorities of the growing numbers of academies in the region.

She taught in Cornwall and held her first senior leadership position in Exeter, before moving onto 2 successful headships in Bristol.

Rebecca Clark said:

I am absolutely delighted to be appointed as the next Regional Schools Commissioner for the South West. To have the opportunity to build upon the strong foundations established by Sir David Carter in a region where I went to school and now live and work is a huge privilege and a great responsibility.

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. It is only by working together in the interests of all schools and all children that we will ensure that the South West is an excellent place to lead, to teach and to educate a child.

National Schools Commissioner Sir David Carter said:

Rebecca Clark has years of experience as a teacher, headteacher and senior academy trust executive in schools across the South West. I am delighted to appoint someone of her calibre to one of the most important roles in the education system.

I know she will use her experience and expertise to boost standards in schools across the South West and I look forward to working closely with her.

Regional schools commissioners’ (RSCs) responsibilities include:

  • taking decisions on the creation of new academies
  • monitoring their performance and improving underperforming academies
  • ensuring there is a strong supply of excellent sponsors to work with underperforming schools in the region
  • encouraging and supporting high-quality applications for new free schools

The South West Commissioner works with almost 800 academies and free schools in areas including Bristol, Swindon and Cornwall.

Rebecca will be advised by a board of headteachers of outstanding academies or experienced educational leaders. The board challenges and supports the work of the commissioner, bringing additional educational insight and local intelligence to decision making.

Notes to editors

  1. The South West Commissioner works with schools in Bath and North East Somerset, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Isles of Scilly, North Somerset, Plymouth, Poole, Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Swindon, Torbay and Wiltshire.
  2. The RSCs, supported by their headteacher boards, perform functions of the Secretary of State on her behalf, within a national framework. This will not cut across existing accountability lines – accountability will remain with the Secretary of State, with decisions better informed by sector expertise.
  3. Rebecca Clark’s biography is below:

Rebecca was National Education Director for Oasis Community Learning, one of the country’s largest multi-academy trusts. She has also been the Regional Director for Oasis academies in the South West since 2013, where she has established a thriving and well-respected regional family of 11 primary and secondary academies in Bristol, Wiltshire and Southampton.

Rebecca went to school in Cornwall, before graduating from the University of Birmingham in 1998 and completing her teacher training at St Luke’s in Exeter. Rebecca has worked across the South West. She taught in Cornwall and held her first senior leadership position in Exeter before moving on to 2 successful headships in Bristol. Rebecca was the youngest headteacher in the country when she was appointed to lead Oasis Academy John Williams in 2009 – more recently, she has replicated the success of her first headship as the Executive Principal of Oasis Academy Brislington.

Rebecca has worked with a variety of schools across the region as the South West Regional Leader for PiXL. She is also a leading thinker with the National Education Trust and has recently co-authored a book: ‘Self-Improving Schools: The Journey to Excellence’.

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