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Exclusive: Carter 'worried' about non-teachers leading MATs

National schools commissioner says there is 'risk' associated with non-teachers heading academy trusts

Sir David Carter, national schools commissioner

National schools commissioner says there is 'risk' associated with non-teachers heading academy trusts

It is worrying that academy trusts will increasingly be led by people from business with no experience of teaching, the government’s academy tsar has said.

Sir David Carter said that currently about 90 per cent of multi-academy trust CEOs had previously been headteachers, but he expected this proportion to drop in the future.

The national schools commissioner told Tes that “as the landscape gets more complex, we will need a more complex skills set in some places”.

He said that in the future there would be “more people than there are at the moment who are in a CEO role who have maybe worked in industry or in business or in a university rather than just the single school route coming through”.

Non-teachers leading academies

And although he thinks that the number of MAT leaders with experience of school leadership “will not drop alarmingly”, he said more CEOs would be appointed because they have “a broader experience and broader skill set around change management strategy, delivery, action planning”.

Asked if he had concerns about academy trust leaders who did not have direct experience working in schools, he said: “It is a worry and I do think about that.”

He cited his own career route, which saw him progress from being principal of John Cabot City Technology College to leading the Cabot Federation of schools in Bristol.

He said the CEO role had seen him address staff at conferences and Inset days, and that “you have got to be able to stand up and talk about education with some credibility”.

However, he added: “I still think there are people who can do that, as long as you have got a team around you of people who are really good school improvers.

"I think it’s mitigated in that way, but that is a risk – I would agree with that.”

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