Lord Agnew’s first ministerial appearance at the education committee: 5 things we learned

The academies minister spoke to MPs today about regional schools commissioners, inspectors and academy pay reports Tes.

Theodore Agnew made his first appearance at the education select committee since being appointed as an education minister in September. Here are five things we learned: 

1. He thinks the cost of the school commissioner programme is ‘reasonable’ – and will grow

Lord Agnew told MPs today that they were expecting the cost of the regional school commissioners (RSC) network this year to come to around £31million – which is around £4,000 per academy. 

When challenged on the rising costs, he said: “If it is changing life chances for pupils I think it represents good value for money.”

Lord Agnew added that there would be “further growth” with 1,000 academies in the pipeline. “Probably we will see some increase,” he said. 

2. He is not concerned about the RSC revolving door 

A number of RSCs have stepped down in the past year to take up a role in the multi-academy trust (MAT) sector. 

He added: “It is worth remembering that the title of MAT CEO barely existed five years’ ago and that is an area of expertise that we need to develop. 

“So if there is this sort of movement then I am personally not worried as long as the proper protections are put in place.”

3. He sees the system as working – despite high-profile failings, such as WCAT 

Lord Agnew was asked – in light of the controversies around Wakefield City Academy Trust (WCAT)and Bright Tribe Trust – why the government still believes MATs are the best for school improvement. 

Lord Agnew added: “I have to keep restating that these were some of the most damaged schools in the system. If these problems were so easy to solve, why weren’t they solved in the previous Labour government?

Read more of Lord Agnew views Lord Agnew’s first ministerial appearance at the education committee: 5 things we learned

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  1. wasateacher

    Wakefield and Bright Tribe are just the latest in the long list of failures. Below are just some of those I have recorded this year.
    2013/14 £3 million was spent on “rebrokering” academies (moving them from one trust to another).
    February 2017 it was estimated that the cost of rebrokering could have cost £30 million over 2 years.
    Jul 17, it was reported in Hansard that 108 academies were transfered from one trust to another in 2 years.
    Jun 17, AET was stripped of 2 of its academies.
    April 17, it was reported that the Ridings Federation was getting rid of all its schools.
    April 17 the Greenwood Academies Trust was stripped of 2 of its schools.
    March 17 the Education Fellowship Trust announced it was closing down – 12 schools affected.
    February 17 the Learning Schools Trust went into liquidation, with 4 schools needing new sponsors.
    February 17, Erudition Schools Trust went into liquidation, leaving 3 schools to be rebrokered.
    February 17, Academies Transformation Trust handed over 3 academies.
    January 17, Broadmead Primary was moved from Reach 2 to Pioneer AT

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