15 January 2018

Sporting great and broadcast journalist inspire Learning Partnership team to ‘aim high’

More than 800 staff from across 10 schools, five children’s centres and one teaching school, joined British Paralympian, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, TV presenter Ashley John-Baptiste and educationalist Professor Mick Waters at a large-scale conference on 8 January.

Teaching and non-teaching staff from the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP) took part in the respected multi-academy trust’s inaugural training event at the prestigious Solihull National Conference Centre. They were also able to visit a number of exhibitors to find out more about a range of services available to them.


CEO and national leader of education, Richard Gill, introduced the high profile speakers to an audience comprising staff from primary and secondary schools in Birmingham, North Warwickshire and Staffordshire.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson is one of Britain’s greatest Paralympic athletes, having won 11 gold, four silver and a bronze medal during her illustrious 16-year career, before going on to sit in the House of Lords with specialist interest in disability, sport, education, health and welfare.

She gave a memorable talk about overcoming challenges and the value of education and teamwork, before signing complementary copies of her book, ‘Aim High’.

Tanni said:

Education is more important now than it ever was – it gives you choices. Without the amazing education I had, I would not be able to achieve any of the things I did in my life.

 If you don’t push your boundaries you never know what you might achieve. Never give up, never be afraid to try and always be the very best you can be.”


Ashley John-Baptiste is an inspirational speaker and BBC broadcast journalist who overcame a troubled childhood to study at Cambridge. The 28-year-old spoke passionately about beating tremendous adversity to achieve success. The former X-Factor finalist finished his session by giving an entertaining live performance on stage.

Addressing the audience, he said:

Never ever should we diminish an aspiration of all young people. Educators have such an incredible influence over the lives of so many and we should encourage our young people, believe in them and unlock their potential. It’s the right thing to do.”

Former headteacher and new ATLP Trust Board member, Professor Mick Waters, works with schools in the West Midlands in raising standards. He works with schools in other parts of the country on innovative approaches to learning and on several other initiatives to push the boundaries for making learning better.

He reminded the team about the importance of providing “joyous and purposeful learning” and the transformative power of education.

He said:

We are trying to make children’s lives better for having met us, making the world in which our children grow up in a better place. Raising aspiration is more than helping children to achieve higher grades; it’s the contribution you make to give them that feeling of worth and inspiration.

We’re part of a really big profession – a noble, global profession and this partnership is built on trust and integrity.”

CEO Richard Gill said:

This conference realised our vision to see all staff together under one roof – what a wonderful start to 2018. It was a real pleasure and a privilege to be part of such a rewarding and uplifting event.

Tanni, Ashley and Mick gave such motivational talks and we were all inspired and humbled by their incredible stories, which show the possibilities available if you can reach that potential early. They demonstrated the power of teamwork, positive thinking and resilience – all values that we aspire to.

Our staff can start a new term on such a positive note, taking that group learning back into their schools and ensuring that it improves the lives of the children who remain at the heart of everything we do.”