New Interim Head At Elliott School

top-performing head teacher has been appointed as the interim head

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Margaret Peacock has been appointed as interim head at the school and will take up her post on June 1. She was recently designated a "National Leader of Education" by the National College for School Leadership, as part of a scheme to raise school standards across England.

National Leaders of Education (NLE) are outstanding school heads who use their knowledge and experience of teaching to provide additional leadership capacity to raise standards and achievement at schools that are struggling.

Mrs Peacock has been head teacher at Chestnut Grove School in Balham since 1990. In that time standards of teaching and achievement at the school have risen significantly. The school's 'value-added' score, which measures the progress pupils make, is now in the top one per cent in the country.

Under her leadership Chestnut Grove School has become a specialist school in arts and modern foreign languages. It is also a Foundation Arts College designated Visual Arts College; has been a training school since 2005, and has the Artsmark Gold. It has been recognised by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust as a highly performing specialist school.

In March 2008 Ofsted report on Chestnut Grove School concluded:
"Leadership and management are outstanding. The head teacher's leadership is inspirational to her staff. Her vision and clear direction for this inclusive school have successfully focused the highly committed managers and staff on raising achievement for all students."

Her secondment to Elliott will be for two terms until a permanent head teacher is employed in time for the Spring term. During that time she will remain as executive head at Chestnut Grove. She will work at Elliott four days a week and at Chestnut Grove one day a week. At the end of her secondment she will return to Chestnut Grove full-time.

A new acting head will be appointed at Chestnut Grove to cover her absence. Christian Kingsley, currently one of the school's three deputy heads, will be appointed to the role and will work together with the rest of Chestnut Grove's experienced senior leadership team to ensure that the schoolcontinues to flourish while Mrs Peacock is at Elliott.

The future for Elliott

A spokeman for the Council said that
" The appointment of a high achieving head teacher like Ms Peacock to Elliott is just one of a set of radical measures to improve educational standards at the Putney school and give a significant boost to the quality of its teaching and learning."

Plans are well advanced for a £35m refurbishment of the school under the Government's Building Schools for the Future programme. This money would see a complete overhaul of the school's buildings to improve classrooms and other facilities and ensure a better learning environment for pupils.

Another key element will be for the school to achieve National Challenge Trust (NCT) status, which will secure additional Government funding for improvements and allow Elliott to collaborate much more closely with other high achieving educational establishments.

Potential partners include universities plus school foundations and trusts which run some of London's highest-achieving state and independent schools. Elliott is also likely to benefit from a new working relationship with Graveney School in Tooting, which is one of the best performing state schools in England.

Graveney has recently been formally designated as a ‘high performing specialist school’ by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and has been awarded a further specialism as part of the ‘Raising Achievement Partnership Programme’. This provides funding for Graveney to work with other schools in order to help them raise standards of achievement.

Interim Executive Board
In addition to the new educational partnerships and the school's new Trust status, a new Interim Executive Board (IEB) will be set up to replace the school's existing governing body. The purpose of an IEB is to secure a step-change in the leadership and management of a school through the use of a specially appointed governing body for a temporary period.

The membership of the new board has been carefully chosen to reflect senior education experience nationally and locally in tackling challenging issues; detailed knowledge of the particular issues facing Elliott and successful experience of governance in other schools.

Heading the new IEB will be Lorraine O’Reilly - a successful senior executive with 30 years experience of leading at the highest levels. She has been an Executive Director, Director of Children’s Services and a Director of Education in three different local authorities.

Parents Forum
And to ensure that the voices of parents are heard clearly, a Parents' Forum will be created to enable them to provide regular feedback on the school’s performance.

The council's executive member for children and young people Cllr Kathy Tracey said: "The appointment of such a high-achieving and successful head as Margaret Peacock shows that we are determined to take swift action to improve standards at Elliott.

"Under her leadership, Chestnut Grove has been transformed and is now an outstanding school with a well-earned reputation for excellence and achievement.

"We believe that in the coming months, she will be able to lay the solid foundations necessary to begin a similar transformation at Elliott."

The creation of an IEB is subject to the consent of the Secretary for State for Children, Schools and Families. The aim is to have this approval in place by June 1.

 May 22, 2009