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Council helps national education inquiry

Published Thursday, 19 November 2015

The City Council joined headteachers and education leaders from across the West Midlands to discuss the role of Regional Schools Commissioners and their role in underperforming schools.

The national Education Select Committee met at Sidney Stringer Academy yesterday (17 November) as part of a country-wide inquiry into how the Commissioners’ system is working.

Regional Schools Commissioners were created last year to work with school leaders to promote and monitor academies and free schools. They work with the Council to review standards at all schools and make sure the needs of all young people are met.

Legislation currently going through Parliament looks at giving them more powers – allowing them to intervene when schools are underperforming.

And yesterday’s session looked at how this might work in the West Midlands and at how they can work with Ofsted, local authorities, the DfE, individual schools and local communities.

The Committee heard from Pank Patel, Regional Schools Commissioner for the West Midlands, and a range of people involved in education in the area, including Kirston Nelson, the Council’s Director of Education, Libraries, and Adult Learning.

Neil Carmichael, Chair of the Education Committee, said: “Given the increased role Commissioners will be playing in intervening in coasting and failing schools, it’s right that as a Committee we closely examine their roles and how they work.

“We’re keen to explore the relationships they have with Ofsted, local authorities, schools and local communities and our session in Coventry will help the Committee find out more about how well this is working in the West Midlands.”

Kirston added: “As the Council works closely with the RSC for the West Midlands, we were asked to give our views on how the role is working and how it could be developed in future years.

“It’s very important that the Council can join schools, Ofsted and other groups to have a say in national education issues and give our views on what is best for the education of the city’s children.”

The evidence from the Council and others at yesterday’s session will now be considered by Parliament to help any decisions around developing the system.

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