Serious Questions about the new “HeadTeacher Boards”

Announcements are finally due to be made about the appointment of the new Regional Schools Commissioners.

For the uninitated, the Commissioners will work in geographically mad locations (see map) and will oversee all academies and free schools in that area. Essentially, they will act as devolved ‘Secretary of States’ in their region, but the four main functions the DfE say they will perform are:

  • Monitoring performance and prescribing intervention
  • Taking decisions about the creation of new schools (including free schools)
  • Ensuring enough high quality sponsors available to meet local need
  • Taking decisions on changes to open academies (e.g. should they be able to expand, change age range, etc).

Intriguingly, they will also be helped by a “HeadTeacher Board”. So far this has been a quieter part of the policy. However, I today discovered a letter from Frank Green, the National Schools Commissioner, which outlines how it will work. It says:


So…. Some Serious Questions

1. A major concern here is the word “majority” elected. Why not “entirely elected”?

2. Why only headteachers in ‘outstanding’ schools eligible for being on the Board? Is this some kind of reward? Seems a bit unfair that you could be working to really improve a school and not be allowed to take part. Is the idea that if a school is already outstanding then it’s not a problem for  a Head to cut out one day a week?

3. How will we account for ‘ex-headteachers’? So…still unclear on this…if you were the Head of an outstanding academy, but now you’re at a not-outstanding academy are you still eligible to stand?

4. Can you vote if you are now the head of a Trust? Seems a bit dodgy that someone who is now Head of a Trust, and will be wanting a…let’s say…’preferable outlook’ towards their sponsor chain could potentially be involved in voting for people who will then advise on preferred sponsors. Or am I being cynical?

5. How long are the terms? And can a new Regional Commissioner boot the old ones out? Is it like the House of Lords where you can stay forever? Can a mean new Commissioner make people resign?

This is not to say that the HeadTeacher Boards (or HTBs as they will no doubt become) can’t or won’t work. But it’s important we think through these issues in advance. No one likes a fiasco, right?

Update! Everyone can vote in an area… Okay. Have amended blog to reflect this.

Related Posts:

Where Is The Desk Of The New Regional School Commissioners?

8 thoughts on “Serious Questions about the new “HeadTeacher Boards”

  1. Not all “Outstanding” judgements are created equal! We have seen too many reports of schools which have lost their OS judgement when inspected under the new framework. I would like the heads of schools which have been rated OS under the new framework to be eligible, not those who were inspected under the old framework. This leads to my second concern. What if the head of an OS school leaves the school. The school is inspected and is now no longer OS. According to what they are suggesting, the previous head is entitled to be elected.

  2. I may have misunderstood, but I think that the proposal is that ‘all academy headteachers in each region will be eligible to vote’, & therefore have their say. Just membership which is limited to outstanding heads.

    Would think as well that if you move to improve a school, membership if htb could still be open on ‘recent wx-head’ grounds

    1. Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I meant eligible to be members. My concern is that if a head of an OS school where standards were on a downward spiral since last inspection, left before the next inspection then that head is still categorised as head of an OS school and therefore eligible to be a member. I would like something put in which says that if your school loses the OS judgement within, say two years, of you leaving, then you are not eligible. It seems unfair that in this case the new head won’t be eligible but the old one will although problems may have started during the previous headship.

  3. Another question is what governing body in their right mind would want their outstanding head teacher to be spending 20% of their time somewhere else?

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