Simon Rea


Simon is an experienced evaluator, researcher and adviser having led Isos projects for national governments, local authorities, and other national organisations. He has previously held senior roles in central and local government.


Simon has expertise in school-based research and advisory work. He led the evaluations which produced the research publications Does school-to-school support close the gap? (2011), Closing the gap: how NLEs and schools can work together (2013), and Freedom to Lead: a study of outstanding primary school leadership and governance (2014), all for the National College. He has led improvement work with a number of large academy trusts and worked with Robert Hill on the national publication on the growth of academy chains (2012). Since 2017 he has been working with the RSC SW team and over 30 MATs across the South West region to develop and use a self-evaluation framework focused on school improvement across trusts.

Simon has expertise in national research projects with school partnerships and teaching school alliances. He led the Isos team that worked with 30 teaching school alliances across the country for two years developing the Leadership of Great Pedagogy in TSAs report (2015). He was a member of the research team led by Nottingham University on the National Evaluation of TSAs (2015) and has been working with the same team since 2017 on a three-year evaluation of the national EEF Research Schools programme.

Simon has expertise in reviewing local authorities’ support for schools, and developing and evaluating LA/schools strategic partnerships. He led the Isos team that published the LGA report Enabling School Improvement (2018) analysing different local authority approaches. He has undertaken numerous reviews of local authority school improvement services; and has worked with Essex, North Yorkshire, East Sussex, Milton Keynes, and Camden LAs over several years to help establish and develop their school partnership structures.

Simon has expertise in reviewing children’s services responsibilities. He worked on national evaluations commissioned by the Local Government Association into the factors that enable improvement in local children’s services (2016 and 2017). He has worked with a range of local areas on strategic reviews of children’s services improvement and demand pressures, strategic reviews of the availability and quality of SEND provision and support for vulnerable young people, and reviews of financial planning support for schools and worked with school leaders to implement savings.

Simon has more than twenty-five years’ experience of public sector policy and delivery. Prior to founding Isos Partnership, he worked as a secondary school teacher in London, a local authority adviser in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, and spent over ten years at senior levels in central government including five years leading the Education Team in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit.