Sir David Carter to step down as national schools commissioner

Academies tsar oversaw growth in the power and resources of the regional schools commissioners

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The government’s academies tsar has announced he will stand down after two and a half years in the post.

Sir David Carter, who oversees the network of more than 7,000 academies, was appointed national schools commissioner in February 2016.

His time in office has spanned three education secretaries, and witnessed the birth and death of flagship government policies to force the academisation of all schools, and create a new generation of grammar schools.

It has also seen the role and resources of the eight regional schools commissioners he oversees expand greatly, to include deciding the fate of coasting and inadequate non-academies, and playing an increasing part in school improvement.

The last two-and-a-half years have also witnessed the high-profile collapse of Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT), growing concerns about the transparency of the academy system, and a turf war between him and Ofsted over school inspection.

In an exclusive Tes interview published today, Sir David said he thought the greater scrutiny MATs were now under would prevent another collapse like WCAT. 

But he added: "There is always a potential risk that things can go wrong and it would be really naïve to say otherwise.”       

Sir David previously led the Cabot Learning Federation academy trust, and was appointed the first regional schools commissioner for the South West in 2014.

He said: “Over the past four years, it has been a pleasure to work with so many passionate, talented people who are working tirelessly to improve schools and raise standards for children. 

“I am proud to have played a part in this, and to have had the honour to lead the regional schools commissioners team. I have no doubt that this improvement will continue to evolve in the years to come.”

Education secretary Damian Hinds paid tribute to his “excellent work over the last four years”, and added: “Since joining the department, he has drawn on his wealth of experience in the classroom and at the forefront of academy trusts to nurture innovative approaches that have helped raised standards across the country.”

Sir David will step down from the role at the end of August 2018, with the DfE due to start the recruitment process to select a new national schools commissioner.

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