10 October 2016

Growing a new school together – “rapid progress” stems from teamwork

The first green shoots are already emerging at John Willmott School as the popular secondary’s fresh start is planted in praise from Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP).


During a visit on 22 September by BEP – an organisation of serving headteachers tasked by the local authority to oversee school improvement across the city – John Willmott was commended for making “huge improvements” and “rapid progress.”  The comments follow the school’s decision to team up with the respected Arthur Terry Learning Partnership -which specialises in school improvement – along with key changes made by new senior leaders at the school.

To mark the growth of new era for both the school and its youngest students, each of the 195 year 7s has planted a daffodil bulb at the front of the school, which represent the bright future at John Willmott. The children have also met with the Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell, MP for Sutton Coldfield, who is: “impressed by the progress the school is already making.”

In its post visit assessment, BEP commended the improvements in student behavior, presentation and: “a change in culture which has increased student expectations.”

Tracy Ruddle, director of continuous school improvement, said:This school feels like a new school. Huge improvements have been made and children and staff are working hard to ensure that rapid progress is being made.”

The positive changes follow a rigorous action plan by new headteacher Tracey Peters, who has experience of improving schools and partnership working. New deputy Paul Averis has been recruited to help senior leaders raise standards, while the continued support of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership gives the team access to wider resources and expertise.

Tracey Peters said:

I’m delighted to see that our rapid progress has been acknowledged by BEP, which knows what school improvement looks like. We’ve all worked incredibly hard in a short space of time to start bringing John Willmott up to the standard it deserves. We’ve made some small changes with a big and immediate impact. More ambitious improvements, relating to teaching and performance, will underpin our long-term academic vision for the school.

There is still much to do to move out of special measures, but with a relentless focus on raising standards and the advantage of working with specialist education partners, we will soon be in an even stronger place.

 It’s clear that John Willmott is transforming into a new school – just ask the students and staff, or the families who came to our successful parents’ evening and open mornings. they can see a school which is changing quickly and will continue to grow throughout the coming academic year.”

National leader of education and Arthur Terry Learning Partnership CEO, Richard Gill, said the rapid progress was “just the beginning” for John Willmott School.

He said:

We have every confidence that this school will continue to excel under Tracey’s expertise and leadership. We are already seeing significant improvements and the benefits to pupils are immediately obvious. If we can do this in just a few months, then in the longer term we expect to see a school that fulfils its potential to deliver high quality education for all.”

The Rt. Hon. Andrew Mitchell MP for Sutton Coldfield, said:

This is an excellent start to John Willmott’s journey to improvement and I am impressed by the progress the school is already making.

There is a great sense of pride in John Willmott and a strong determination for it to succeed. I want to add my support for the school and the community, as they pull together to ensure positive outcomes all round.”