31 July 2017

The evolution of the ATLP

The ATLP was born out of distinctive moral purpose to: “provide the best education for all in one community.” From its modest beginnings of two single secondaries, to its respected multi-academy status of seven schools, one teaching school and five children’s centres, the partnership has grown to become one of the region’s key players in school improvement.

Today, the partnership boasts a 4,500-strong learning community, more than 800 staff and governors, and a turnover of £25 million. As it enters the next stage of development, we chart the evolution of the ATLP.

2009-2010: A Tale of Two Secondaries

Arthur Terry School prior to its refurbishment.

In 2009, National Support School, the Arthur Terry School, in Four Oaks, was asked by the local authority to work with Erdington’s Stockland Green School in a drive to raise standards.

With National Leader of Education (NLE), Sir Chris Stone (pictured) at the helm and a proven track record for excellence, Arthur Terry was both morally and geographically aligned to work with neighbouring schools.

Sir Chris Stone.

Tim Sewell, Chair of the ATLP Trust Board, said:

We knew that it was absolutely the right thing to do – we had a duty to improve the local education offer for all children and this was our chance to make a real difference.”

2011-2012: Birth of the Teaching School and Children’s Centres

After a successful period of collaborative working, the partnership was sealed, with the formation of the Arthur Terry and Stockland Green Federation in 2011. While both schools kept their own governing bodies and their individual identities, the federation appointed its own governing body to work alongside Executive Headeacher, Sir Chris.

In that same year, the Arthur Terry School became one of the country’s first 100 teaching schools. Its focus would be on training new teachers, the professional development of staff and providing school-to-school support to schools working both directly with the federation and as a wider alliance.

The final piece of the Arthur Terry National Teaching School (ATNTS) was complete when, in 2012, it became one of two newly accredited School Centred Initial Techer Training (SCITT). Today, it is widely regarded as a centre of excellence in that area.

Cathryn Mortimer, Director of the Teaching School, said:

We had the freedom to take charge of our own future – to create the next generation of leaders and retain this talent as part of a continuous cycle of system-led school improvement.”

2012-13 Welcome to the ATLP

Primary Numbers

Such was the reputation of Arthur Terry, that primary headteachers were keen to forge links and raise standards locally at Key Stage 2 and to ensure the smooth transition from primary to secondary.

Joining Arthur Terry in Four Oaks, were Hill West and Mere Green primaries, which were keen to work with likeminded schools.

Hill West wanted to work with likeminded schools. Photo from 2017.

In a major turnaround, Mere Green moved from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘outstanding’ in just two years and has been expanding to accommodate the local community.

Mere Green Primary School is now oversubscribed after ‘transforming’ its fortunes with the ATLP.

NLE Anna Balson, Headteacher of Mere Green Primary School and newly appointed Executive Headteacher of the ATLP’s primary schools, said:

Everyone in our school and the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership has believed and aspired. Many obstacles were either put in our way or we had to overcome them and this status from Ofsted is testament to the commitment, strength and aspiration that we all have here, and we are very proud.”

Brookvale and Slade primaries formed part of a regional Erdington cluster with Stockland Green School.

Slade Primary School pupils benefit from improved teaching and learning.


Brookvale Primary School is going from strength to strength.


Richard Gill, current CEO of the ATLP, said:

We kept a local focus and chose to work with schools who shared our vision. We have always been mindful not to ‘cherry pick’ schools, because we have to make sure all children can benefit from our partnership and that means serving schools from a range of different communities and phases.”

Richard Gill.



The Arthur Terry Learning Partnership multi-academy trust (MAT) was officially formed in 2012. Becoming an academy sponsor enabled the ATLP to fulfil its commitment to support other schools. By 2013, the MAT’s portfolio comprised four primaries and three secondaries, plus the ATNTS and the five Sutton Locality Children’s Centres, positioning the ATLP to educate the whole child, birth to 18.

The newly appointed Trust Board worked closely to support schools and provide strategic management and leadership. The leadership team of headteachers worked alongside the CEO and a centralised team of business professionals, to oversee the day-to-day running of the ATLP.

The Sutton Coldfield Locality Children’s Centres are popular with families

2014-2015: Expansion to North Warwickshire

Coleshill is welcoming more students than ever following its best Ofsted in more than 20 years.

In 2014, the Coleshill School – then rated as requires improvement – called on the expertise of the ATLP.

Headteacher Ian Smith-Childs said:

We saw the benefits of partnership working very, very quickly. In two years we completely turned the school around.”

The academy, which officially joined the ATLP family a year later, is now celebrating its best Ofsted in more than 20 years and enjoying record-breaking results.

Ian added:

The Arthur Terry learning Partnership made this school a better place. Our rapid improvement came as a direct result of being in a partnership of generous schools.”

2015-2016: Changes at the Top

Richard Gill, NLE, was appointed CEO of the ATLP in 2016.

NLE Richard Gill, the Joint Headteacher of the outstanding Arthur Terry School, was appointed CEO of the ATLP in 2016. The experienced and dynamic leader was a natural successor to Sir Chris and interim CEO, Sally Taylor.

Richard, who is the elected Teaching Schools Council Member for the West Midlands and Vice-Chair of Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP), said:

I am fortunate to work alongside the most talented headteachers you could meet; professionals who work tirelessly for the young people and families within their care – genuine leaders who are committed to ensuring that all of our young people are given the very best life chances.” 

Neil Warner, NLE, Headteacher of Arthur Terry and newly-appointed Executive Headteacher for ATLP secondary schools is pictured with secondary heads


School Improvement Partners

In 2016 Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP) designated the ATLP as school improvement partner (SIP) to John Willmott School. The secondary school is experiencing steady improvement, with Ofsted recognising the strong leadership of experienced ATLP Headteacher, Tracey Peters, along with the “effective support” and “high impact” of the ATLP.


2017: The Magnificent Seven

After eight years of providing school-to-school support and five years as a MAT, the ATLP is seeing the results of its work. Arthur Terry School continues to top performance league tables, Stockland Green is making good progress and Coleshill is now expanding to accept even more students. A recent MAT performance table shows the primaries are in the top 20 MATs for maths and the top 30 for reading.

Over the last decade our success has provided 17 Headteachers and 30 Assistant Headteachers.

Kristal Brookes (with Anna Balson, right) passes her ‘Aspire to Headship’ course, run by the ATNTS.

Richard Gill said:

These are positive indicators that our schools are making great progress and delivering improved outcomes. The greatest sign of all that our schools are thriving are our happy, confident and creative learners.”

The ATLP Student Awards 2017, organised by the partnership’s Student Leadership Group, showcased the talents of a growing student community.

Trust Grows

In 2017, the ATLP began working with another secondary school to raise standards, after being appointed as SIP to the CTC Kingshurst Academy in Solihull.

Reaching out to other schools is all part of the ATLP’s growth strategy, but Richard Gill is adamant that the partnership will never become too big to serve its original purpose.

He said: 

We have purposefully grown at a pace that enables us to expand our capacity to provide effective, yet personalised support to others.

Our MAT is in great shape – more and more students are accessing a quality education. They have the ambition to learn because we have high expectations of our leaders and staff.

By working together, we have a chance to unlock the potential of every child and assure their futures – and that is a powerful driving force.”


  • 2009: Arthur Terry School begins working with Stockland Green School
  • 2011: The Arthur Terry and Stockland Green Federation is formed
  • Arthur Terry School becomes one of the country’s first 100 Teaching Schools
  • 2012: The Arthur Terry Learning Partnership is formed
  • Slade Primary School joins the ATLP
  • ATLP awarded governance of the Sutton Locality Children’s Centres
  • 2013: Brookvale, Hill West and Mere Green Primary Schools join the ATLP
  • 2015: The Coleshill School officially joins the ATLP
  • 2016: ATLP is appointed School Improvement Partner to John Willmott School
  • 2017: ATLP becomes designated SIP to CTC Kingshurst Academy