A tale of eight regions: Part 2: Challenge and support across the Regional Schools Commissioner areas
A tale of eight regions: Part 2: Challenge and support across the Regional Schools Commissioner areas

Jude Hillary, Susan Bamford, Daniele Bernardinelli and Geoff Gee

April 2017


Following our 2015 ‘A Guide to Regional Schools Commissioners’, we've produced two further reports about Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) areas across England.

In our first report, published in November 2016, we focused on how the schools’ landscape has changed by region since RSCs were introduced. In this, our second report, we use latest available performance data to explore the challenges RSCs face in terms of schools requiring action and the availability of Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) that are ready to expand to meet this need.

Key Findings:
  • There is considerable variation in the level of challenge across RSC regions with two regions having almost double the number of schools needing attention compared to the lowest region. These disparities could affect an RSC's ability to tackle underperformance as effectively as is needed.
  • There is a marked disparity between school phases, with one in four secondary schools underperforming compared to one in seven primary schools. These differences between school phases are wider still for all school types apart from converter academies.
  • Although available capacity in MATs exceeds demand for new trusts needed to take on the most serious underperforming schools nationally, there are stark regional differences. Many RSCs could face supply shortfalls, so a key priority will be to identify and attract new sponsors.
  • As academy numbers have increased, so have the number of underperforming academies. RSCs will need to be seen to be addressing this underperformance as proactively as they do for LA controlled schools to maintain public credibility.

Regional Schools Comissioners - Region profiles

East Midlands & the Humber | East of England & North-East London
Lancashire & West Yorkshire | North of England
South-Central England & North-West London | South-East England & South London
South West England | West Midlands

To see a list of local authorities in each Regional Schools Commissioner region, please click here.


Further Information:
Format: PDF, 39pp
Sponsor(s): NFER


How to cite this publication:

Hillary, J., Bamford, S., Bernardinelli, D. and Gee, G. (2017). A Tale of Eight Regions. Part 2: Challenge and Support Across the Regional Schools Commissiioner Areas. Slough: NFER.


URL: