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IAA Spring National Conference 2014:
The Upside of Turbulence – Great
Leadership in a Time of Change
Nick Weller, Chair, Independent
Academies Association
A Growing, More Diverse Membership
IAA Growth Jan 2012 - Jan 2014
Free Schools
Alternative Provision
3,657 Open Academies
Leading System Change
Everything You Read in the Papers
U Turn If You Want To…
No Game
New National
Tables 2014
The Upside of Turbulence
What businesses often do in response
What they should be doing:
to turbulence:
 Active inertia: accelerating
what worked in the past
 Innovating: doing different things
 Cling to old values, systems,
resources and relationships
 Adapt with agility
 Marketing the brand
 Re-thinking their business from
Turbulence dethrones incumbent leaders
but those who seize its opportunities become tomorrow’s champions.
Our Mission
All our work is underpinned by a strong sense of moral purpose and a firm belief in
the following specific commitments:
 Using our independence for the benefit of the communities we serve
 Raising educational standards through innovation and best practice
 Maximising the achievement of everyone in our academies
 Acting collaboratively and contributing to widespread system leadership
 Working with partners and sponsors to raise aspiration in our community
 Maintaining a relentless focus on data-driven school improvement
Lord Adonis
IAA Honorary President
Plenary session highlighting learning
points across all 3 strands
Jane Creasy
The vision for an increasingly
academised system
Frank Green CBE, Schools
Creating the new education
system for England
Frank Green
Schools commissioner
The Challenge
• Goal: an education system where, more
quickly, more children achieve much more
• Too much resistance to the changes that
are being and have been introduced over
many years – from many LAs and from
much of the profession
• It is their future not ours that we have to
Need for Transformation?
“A technological revolution is engulfing the
school … it will transform the way we learn
and way we teach within a few decades”. –
Peter Drucker 1996
“In a few hundred years, when the history of
our time will be written from a long-term
perspective, it is likely that the most important
event historians will see is not technology, not
the Internet, not e-commerce. It is an
unprecedented change in the human
condition. For the first time - literally substantial and rapidly growing numbers
of people have choices. For the first time,
they will have to manage themselves. And
society is totally unprepared for it." (Drucker
• Increasing numbers of academies and Free
• 60%+ of Secondary
• c14% of Primary
• Where by 2015? Maybe 75% and 25%?
• Heading toward a full academy-based system
• Why? Academies improve much faster than
LA schools
– 12.5% compared to 5% over 3 years
• We want a self-managing, self-improving system
• Fundamental pillar is academy schools with good
sponsors and great educational leaders
• Academies succeed because they have the autonomy,
power and opportunity to set their own direction.
• We want more schools to benefit from the freedoms
that have driven up performance and made academies
so successful.
• The Government believes that teachers and
headteachers, not politicians and bureaucrats,
should control schools and have more power over
how they are run.
• We think that academies in Trusts or hard
Federations do better than those standing
• Trusts in geographical proximity also
appear to be better able to influence the
whole community
• These leaders increasingly become
leaders of the community, not just in
As the popularity of the academies programme grows, we
need to consider how the system should evolve…
• With the success of the academies programme there has been
speculation about how the system should evolve to respond to
growing numbers.
• Within Government and the education sector there is a growing
consensus that:
– decision making should lie closer to academies;
– outstanding education leaders should have a stronger role
in shaping a system, and;
– we should balance robust intervention for struggling schools
- with genuine freedom and autonomy for those performing
We are evolving the DfE’s relationship with academies
through appointing Regional Schools Commissioners…
• Eight RSCs will be appointed to begin their role for the next
academic year (around August/September this year)
• RSCs will take decisions about academies at the regional
level, on behalf of the Secretary of State.
• They will be civil servants appointed through open competition,
operating within a national policy framework.
• We expect the best candidates to be outstanding educational
leaders who will bring expertise, regional knowledge and will
want to shape their agenda.
• We launched recruitment in December and have a strong field
of applicants.
• Interviews are currently being held and we aim to appoint by
early April.
Each RSC will be supported by a headteacher board
and a small office in each region…
• Each RSC will be advised, supported and challenged by a board
of around six outstanding academy headteachers or
experienced educational leaders.
• The majority of the headteacher boards will be elected by
academy heads in the region.
• Heads of outstanding academies will be eligible to stand for
election and the elections will be held in the Summer.
• We expect that each professional on the Headteacher Boards will
dedicate around half a day per week to support the work of the
• Each RSC will also be supported by a small office of civil
servants in each region, who will act as an interface between the
RSCs and central DfE.
RSCs and their boards will have four key roles…
1) Monitoring performance of academies and tackling academy
underperformance in their region:
– applying the DfE framework for intervention and helping academies secure the
best routes to school improvement.
2) Taking decisions on the creation of new academies:
– approving applications from maintained schools wishing to convert; and
– making decisions about new schools proposed by local authorities under the
“academy presumption” route.
3) Ensuring that the sponsor market meets local need
– supporting the national Schools Commissioner to ensure their region has a strong
supply of high quality sponsors; and
– proposing suitable sponsors for poorly performing maintained schools who have
been selected by DfE to become sponsored academies.
4) Taking decisions on ‘significant changes’ to existing
– encouraging academies to expand where need arises; and
– approving requests from open academies for changes where these require
approval from the DfE (e.g. changes of category, gender composition, joining or
setting up a multi-academy trust).
But there are a number of things that won’t change…
• Accountability lines – ultimate accountability will remain with the
Secretary of State, with decisions better informed by sector
• RSCs will have no role in relation to maintained schools.
• This is not about changing the role of LAs – although we’ll expect
RSCs and LAs to work together and for LAs to raise concerns about
academies with the RSC.
• DfE will continue to provide resource from Whitehall to support
RSCs, including operational support to implement decisions taken
by them.
• We expect functions such as due diligence, oversight of academy
financial performance to continue to be managed by central DfE.
The eight regions are designed to spread education
expertise and reflect an even scale of challenge for RSCs…
England is split into 8 geographically
pragmatic regions of reasonable size
Reasonable spread of challenge across
the RSC’s roles
London is split into three and combined
with neighbouring home counties –
spreading expertise
Currently looking at possible premises –
mix of DfE and non DfE government
North East London & East of England
South London & South East
North West London & South Central
South West
East Midlands & Humber
West Midlands
Lancashire & West Yorkshire
This creates a first step in an evolving school system…
• We will work with the successful RSC candidates to further develop
their role and agree priorities in their region.
• We will want to discuss with the RSCs how they want to work with
their headteacher board and how they ensure this adds the most
• Post election we will want to consider how the system may evolve
• What is the role of the LA in any future
system, and the relationship to RSCs?
• What is Ofsted’s role on the new system?
• How soon can we bring it about?
• We need your help to change opinion and
to drive the change
• “Ask not what your country can do for you,
but what you can do for your country.” JFK
Charles Darwin
A new education system
• Goal: An education system where more
quickly all children achieve much more
• In 2000, the Vision 2020 group of heads stated
in their document One World One School that:
“A paradigm shift is required which puts the responsibility for driving
schools forward firmly in the hands of school leaders and their communities
and the responsibility for learning firmly in the hands of our students. It also
involves radical re-thinking of what a school is, where it is located and what it
A new education system
• We are building the airports and air traffic
control system, can you build the planes?
Together we can now make the
academy system a reality
Frank Green Schools commissioner
[email protected]
Closing remarks
Nick Weller, Chair, Independent
Academies Association

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