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 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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