Primary head is appointed to lead growth

LEADER: headteacher Paul Smith is the new schools commissioner
LEADER: headteacher Paul Smith is the new schools commissioner
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Primary head Paul Smith has been named as the first Regional Schools Commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Mr Smith. who is headteacher at Parbold Douglas CE Academy and teaching school near Wigan, 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.

He will work closely with national Schools Commissioner Frank Green and Education Secretary Michael Gove to shape the role and priorities of the schools.

Mr Smith said: “I am very excited to take up this key role as Regional Schools Commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

“I am well aware of the diversity and challenge that exists within the region and I am determined to begin the process of transforming 
under-performing schools, and promoting excellence within our area.”

He added: “My fundamental duty will be to help ensure all children and young people receive an excellent standard of education by attending schools where they are challenged and supported.”

Mr Smith, who will take up his new post later this year, will be supported by a board of around six head teachers of outstanding academies or experienced educational leaders.

Most of them will be elected to the position by their peers.

The board will challenge and support the work of the commissioner.

His job will involve:

• Making decisions on the creation of new academies on behalf of the Education Secretary;

• He will also be responsible for monitoring their performance and improving underperforming academies

• Ensuring there is a strong supply of excellent sponsors to work with 
underperforming schools in the region.

Lancashire is one of the largest education authorizes in the country by virtue of the number of schools it has, more than 640, but has been at loggerheads with the Government because it only has a handful of academies.

More than half of the county’s schools are faith institutions, more than anywhere else in the UK, and Lancashire has a string of schools ranked in the top fiver per cent nationally.