Sir David Carter, National schools commissioner – Why I’m standing down

So “King David” is off. The government’s academies tsar is departing for pastures new this summer and he says he’s quite happy about it. Tes reports.

“It’s been the most incredible leadership journey,” a relaxed-looking Sir David Carter says as he sits down to talk to Tes. “But I set out a number of things I wanted to do in this job and I think I’ve done most of those.

It was an era when the Department for Education (DfE) was hoping its new schools’ figurehead could help it cut down to size the then Ofsted chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw.

And it was an era when the fallout from the Wild West gold rush-style expansion of multi-academy trusts (MATs) was just starting to settle and Sir David was traveling the country with presentations full of five, seven and 11-point plans about how to steady the ship.

Today he believes he has been successful. He says he has got regional schools commissioners (RSCs) to work better together; helped MATs meet expectations on governance, school improvement and leadership; and ensured there are more checks on MATs before they expand.

But of course, there are some very high-profile problems that people can quickly point to to suggest that our academised schools system is not in a healthy state at all, not least the case of the Wakefield City Academies Trust, which collapsed and had to hand back 21 schools.

So the system could now prevent a repeat of the WCAT debacle? “I think the answer is yes,” Sir David says after a pause. “But I think it is really hard to sit and say there won’t be failure.

Asked if he views funding as a problem, Sir David says: “I think there are some positives around it in a way – you might think that is a bit bizarre to say. But it has created a sense amongst many school leaders that they have to take a completely fresh look at their finances, they can’t just take a little bit of this budget and a little bit of that budget.

Read the full interview  Sir David Carter, National schools commissioner – Why I’m standing down

Has he done a god job? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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