Sally Taylor, Birmingham City Council’s Service Director for Education and Commissioning, is retiring. It seems that her successor has already been appointed, though the decision has not been made public yet. The job has gone to Colin Diamond.
He is well known to Birmingham because since September last year he has been stationed here as Deputy Schools Commissioner to Schools Commissioner Sir Mike Tomlinson. They were despatched to Birmingham by Nicky Morgan to enforce government recommendations following the Trojan Horse reports. Colin Diamond was previously a senior official in the Department for Education.
His appointment to take over from Sally Taylor embeds the DfE’s representative within Birmingham local authority. But he has a particular specialism. He was the head of the DfE’s academies division. The article below by Warwick Mansell explains Diamond’s role in driving forward the academy agenda. Is this why he has been appointed as Director of Education and Commissioning? And was Nicky Morgan pulling the strings to make sure he got the job?
Education in Brief: cuts mooted; ‘resistance’ quashed
Guardian 28 October 2013
Another DfE document to come our way offers further evidence of the zeal to create academies. The presentation, given two weeks ago by DfE civil servant Colin Diamond, sets out the goals of the DfE’s academies division to the end of the year. The first four pages of the document set out how many schools have become academies or are “in the pipeline” to do so: 61% of English secondary schools and a perhaps less impressive-sounding 13% of primaries.
Then, under Academies Group Priorities – September-December 2013, the stated goals include “increase the number of primary academies”, “further incentivise primary [academy] conversion” and, presumably in a reference to council areas with few academies, “focus on 18 local authorities where most can be gained”.
The document goes on to talk about the need to “identify schools whose performance brings them in scope for a sponsored solution”, the use of a “whole local authority solution [towards academy conversions] where required” and “more interim executive boards [replacing an existing governing body] where we face resistance and persistent underperformance”.
Update 6 May 2015:
Following the announcement of Sally Taylor’s decision to leave the Council at the end of this term, we are able to announce today that we have been able to secure an interim service contract with Colin Diamond.
Colin will become interim executive director education with immediate effect and will work with the Council until a substantive post holder is appointed. Our plan at the moment is to advertise in October.
Alongside Colin’s substantial experience in education, the agreement reached with Colin is also based on his time here as Deputy Commissioner. Colin is obviously very familiar with the issues facing the City and the progress made on our action plan.
Part of Colin’s role meant that he has been providing support to the academies at the heart of the Trojan Horse claims. The DfE have agreed to appoint the council as its agent so that Colin can continue to provide this support.
We are delighted to have Colin working with us and are confident that he will support the continued improvement of the council and its services to children. The improvement plan that cabinet agreed has assumed savings from that review which are vital to our stability.
Colin and Sally will start the handover of schools work this week as Sally is going to provide the necessary support and senior leadership to the early years review which was approved by the cabinet yesterday.
Mr Diamond is a former director of children and young people’s services at North Somerset council and was head of academy education advisers at the Department for Education from 2011 to 2014.