The following text summarises the roles and remits of the key Departmental officials who may contact you in relation to the new approach to school improvement.
The Department’s strategic engagement with local authorities on school improvement for underperforming schools is led by:
- Supporting school improvement divisions. These divisions are led by Dominic Herrington and the engagement with local authorities is headed up by three Deputy Directors who each cover a geographical area:
Within their teams, there is a lead DfE official who will be your contact for strategic discussions about your improvement plans for schools below the floor.
This division will also host the lead advisers. These advisers will be commissioned by the Department and will work with the Schools Commissioner, Dr Elizabeth Sidwell, to diagnose and monitor particular issues in schools below the floor standard.
- The Office of the Schools Commissioner (OSC) is headed by Dr Liz Sidwell CBE. The Deputy Director within DfE is Ian Brady and the engagement with local authorities is headed up by two team leaders who each cover a geographical area:
Within their teams there are OSC brokers who have conversations with local authorities to explore whether an academy is the right solution for schools below the floor and/or those in an Ofsted category. There are also OSC sponsor brokers who work with OSC brokers to agree an appropriate sponsor package for each project in development.
Once a project has been identified, a Statement of Intent is produced for submission to Ministers. When the Statements of Intent are approved by ministers, the projects transfer to the Sponsored Academy Projects division.
For sponsored academies and schools judged satisfactory by Ofsted seeking to become part of an academy chain, an Academy Education Adviser (AEA) is allocated. These advisers provide educational advice to the Department and provide an educational risk assessment. They will normally be allocated to the project from ministerial approval of the Statement of Intent until the academy opens.