High Achieving Head Heads For Elliott

Having transformed the fortunes of a school in Surrey

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Mark Phillips is expected to take up the reins at Elliott after the Easter break. Before his new appointment, he was head at de Stafford School in Caterham, which he has successfully turned into one of the most improved schools in Surrey.

Prior to his arrival at de Stafford in 2004, the school had a £500,000 budget deficit and only 26 per cent of its students were attaining five or more GCSEs at grades A to C. Its truancy levels were also high with an absence level of 14 per cent. Under his leadership, the school has balanced its books, 52 per cent of pupils now achieve top GCSE grades and absentee levels have fallen to just five per cent.

The council's education spokesman Cllr Kathy Tracey said:
"Mark is an engaging and passionate headteacher who brings a breadth of experience in school improvement. He has been responsible for a major transformation in the fortunes of his previous school and has the skills and experience to lead Elliott to great success."

Mr Phillips will take over the reins from Margaret Peacock who has served as interim head since June last year. She will be returning to Chestnut Grove school in Balham where she has been head teacher since 1990.

Under her leadership - and with strong support from the Interim Executive Board that replaced the former governing body - standards of learning and education at Elliott have improved dramatically, continuing an upward spiral of achievement that saw the proportion of students at the school who gained five or more A* - C grades at GCSE last summer rise by 17 points.

Cllr Tracey added, "Everyone connected to Elliott School - be they pupils, parents or staff - owes Margaret a huge debt of gratitude. She has laid some really solid foundations for the future success of the school."

Details are also being finalised for a £35m refurbishment of the school under the Building Schools for the Future programme. This will 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 in the drive to raise standards will be the creation of a new charitable trust involving Elliott School, Chestnut Grove, Ernest Bevin College and Roehampton University, which would deliver substantial educational expertise and support to Elliott. A public consultation on this proposal is currently under way and will conclude later this month.

 March 5, 2010