Press release: New schools commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire

An executive principal of 2 high-performing schools has been appointed as the new Regional Schools Commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Vicky Beer, who leads the West Trafford Learning Partnership and is a national leader of education, 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 Paul Smith who will stand down at the end of the month.

Vicky Beer will start on 1 November and will work closely with national Schools Commissioner, Frank Green, and Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to shape the role and priorities of the growing numbers of academies in the region.

Mrs Beer said:

I am delighted to be appointed regional schools commissioner and will build on the good work already started by Paul Smith and his team. This is both a great honour and responsibility.

I am fully committed to supporting the move towards a self-improving school-led system. I believe that partnerships and collaboration are the key to securing improved outcomes for all.

My vision is rooted in the belief that every child deserves the right to educational excellence and I am committed to working with a wide range of partners to ensure that we achieve this.

Regional schools commissioners’ (RSCs) responsibilities include:

  • taking decisions on the creation of new academies on behalf of the Education Secretary
  • monitoring their performance and improving underperforming academies
  • ensuring there is a strong supply of excellent sponsors to work with underperforming schools in the region

Schools Commissioner Frank Green said:

Vicky Beer has an excellent record in education and so I am extremely pleased we have been able to appoint someone of her calibre to this important role.

She will build on the achievements Paul Smith has already made and I know she will use her skills to ensure even more young people in Lancashire and West Yorkshire have access to the best possible education.

The Lancashire and West Yorkshire commissioner works with more than 500 academies in areas including Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds.

Mrs Beer will be advised by a board of around 6 headteachers of outstanding academies or experienced educational leaders, the majority of whom have been elected to the position by their peers. The board challenges and supports the work of the commissioner.

Notes to editors

1) The Lancashire and West Yorkshire commissioner will work in Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bolton, Bradford, Bury, Calderdale, Halton, Kirklees, Knowlsley, Lancashire, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Sefton, St Helens, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wakefield, Warrington, Wigan and Wirral.

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) Mrs Beer’s biography is below:

Vicky Beer was the inaugural Chair of the Teaching Schools Council from 2011 to 2015 and is now a peer member supporting the council.

She is a national leader of education and the Executive Principal of the West Trafford Learning Partnership; comprising Ashton on Mersey School in Sale and Broadoak School in Partington, part of the multi-academy Dean Trust. Ashton-on-Mersey has a national reputation for quality education and in April 2013 was judged for the fifth consecutive time to be ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. In July 2011, as a result of consistently high levels of attainment and the high quality of its teaching Ashton became one of the first schools in the country to be designated a national teaching school.

She has served as an Ofsted additional inspector and the director and founding member of By Schools for Schools, a system-led school improvement body serving the Greater Manchester area.

In June 2015 she became a member of the Head Teacher Board for Lancashire and West Yorkshire, working with the current RSC, Paul Smith.

She was awarded a CBE for services in education in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2013.

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