Category Archives: Schools

Red letter day on climate change

Wednesday 21st July, 2021

Andrew Mitchell talks to pupils at Hill West Primary, watched by headteacher Dr Beth Clarke

MP visits after children write to PM

Sutton Coldfield youngsters have taken their concerns over climate change to the very top of the UK Government.

Year 5 children at Hill West Primary School felt so strongly about the issues, that they wrote to the Prime Minister, asking him to uphold his responsibilities as a Duty Bearer to take positive action to support the rights of children around the world.

The school has since received a letter of thanks from Number 10 Downing Street.

As a result, pupils and staff welcomed Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell to the school in response to children’s handwritten letters to Boris Johnson.

Mr Mitchell visited the school after he passed on the letters – which focused on climate change and the impact on children’s rights globally – to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The MP joined pupils and staff at the school on Friday 16 July to talk about a range of topics, including the UNICEF Outright campaign, which looks at how climate change can impact negatively on children’s rights, and supports children to voice their views.

The letters were initially sent to Mr Mitchell, as he is both their constituency MP and also has a strong record of campaigning for the rights of people around the world, with pupils asking him if he would consider forwarding them to the Prime Minister.

Acting deputy headteacher, Rhian Warrack said: “We were thrilled to learn that Mr Mitchell did support the rights of the children at Hill West to express their views and opinions, and to have their voices listened to, as he forwarded their letters to the Prime Minister in early July.

Acting deputy headteacher, Rhian Warrack, right, next to Andrew Mitchell and headteacher Dr Clarke and pupils from year 5,

“We were absolutely delighted to then be contacted by Mr Mitchell, asking if he could come to Hill West and meet some of the children who had written letters, and we welcomed him in school on a beautiful sunny afternoon.”

Hill West Primary School, part of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership, is working towards the UNICEF Rights Respecting School Gold Award. Mr Mitchell spoke to the children about a range of subjects, sharing some of his experience of supporting human rights during his career.

The children asked insightful questions on matters including climate change and how Mr Mitchell has been supporting those living in poverty in the UK, especially during the pandemic. Pupils also asked how the MP and the government are supporting children’s right to a high quality education now and moving forwards after COVID.

The children were interested in why and how Mr Mitchell became a Member of Parliament. They heard about the work he has been doing to try and prevent the government from reducing the International Development Budget, and his decision to keep Sutton Park open during the pandemic.

Dr Warrack added: “The children relished their opportunity to express their views and feelings in all matters affecting them to their Member of Parliament and to have Mr Mitchell take them seriously. They are also extremely grateful for his support in putting their views forward to our Prime Minister and sincerely hope that they are taken seriously by Boris Johnson, as they have been by Mr Mitchell, so that they can have a positive impact on children’s rights, both here in Sutton Coldfield, the UK, and around the world.”

Mr Mitchell said: “It was wonderful to meet the pupils and staff at Hill West and to learn more about their work with UNICEF’s ‘Rights Respecting Schools’ and ‘Outright’ campaigns. I was very impressed with their letters – huge congratulations to the children for all their hard work and tenacity. These future citizens care about the rights of all children globally and are empowered to instigate change by using their collective voice.

“The pupils are politically and environmentally aware, so it was an excellent opportunity to talk to them about politics, the world they live in and the issues that impact them and others across the world. There is no doubt that we have some young leaders in our midst.”

Inspirational Sue honoured again

Sue Bailey MBE is a Silver winner

Arthur Terry teacher’s work wins silver award

A Sutton Coldfield teacher has received a second top award for her services to children and education.

Selected from thousands of nominations, Arthur Terry School/Arthur Terry Learning Partnership teacher Sue Bailey MBE has been honoured as one of 102 Pearson National Teaching Silver Award winners across the country.

Sue was honoured with a Silver Award in The Award for Lifetime Achievement for their outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children they work with every day. 

Sue has devoted her career to the educational, social, and emotional welfare of children, transforming many lives, and in 2017 she received an MBE for services to the community and vulnerable children.

She was the Strategic Lead for the Four Oaks Children’s Centres, providing a ‘lifeline’ to families, by organising transition days, community choirs and partnership events.

Sue received her MBE from HRH Prince William in 2017

A Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award holder, recognised by the Outward Bound Trust for her long service, Sue has headed up visits to partner schools in South Africa through ‘Aspire for Africa Trust’. In 2016, Sue’s dynamic leadership became headline news when she led students and colleagues to safety during a military coup at Istanbul Airport.

Sue has now been shortlisted to win one of just 15 Gold Awards later in the year, in a programme which will be broadcast on the BBC. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the exceptional school staff who have worked wonders during an incredibly challenging time for educators across the country. 

She said: “I’m really honoured, humbled and proud to have received this Pearson Silver Award. Thank you to all the colleagues I have worked with over the years, who have supported me, inspired me, challenged me, laughed with me, cried with me and been part of this incredible journey. On this national ‘Thank a Teacher Day’ I would like to congratulate all schools and everybody who works in education for the incredible work they do.”

Sue is pictured (centre) along with her daughter Jodie, husband Colin and colleagues from Arthur Terry School and the ATLP.

Richard Gill CBE, CEO of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership and Chair of the National Teaching Schools Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted to see Sue win this Silver award. She is an inspirational and dedicated teacher and leader, who has transformed the lives of so many children and young people, both at the Arthur Terry School and across our family of schools. It’s a privilege to work alongside Sue, and we all look forward to congratulating her on this ‘National Thank a Teacher Day’ when we will also be celebrating and thanking all colleagues across all schools for their incredible work, every single day.”

Sue’s work with schools in Africa is a key part of her role

Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell said: “Congratulations to Sue on such a phenomenal achievement. Her outstanding service to education and safeguarding across Arthur Terry School, ATLP and the wider community, has helped to shape so many lives over the years. This Silver Pearson Award is richly deserved!

Every child matters to Sue, and this was never more apparent than when she helped to secure the safe return of her students and colleagues following a military coup in Istanbul. Sue was calm, caring and courageous – exactly what we need in great teachers and leaders, and it is an honour and a privilege to work with her.

“It is befitting that she receives this accolade on ‘National Thank a Teacher Day’ when we celebrate the valuable contribution that all school staff make to our schools and communities. We are very fortunate to have such wonderful schools here in the Royal Town, filled with exceptional individuals like Sue Bailey, and I am very proud of their incredible work.”

The Silver Award winners are being honoured as part of the wider celebrations for ‘Thank a Teacher Day’, a national campaign to honour and recognise school staff for their incredible work. The celebrations follow new data which shows how the previous year’s lockdowns have significantly changed how families across the country view the role of teachers. 

New research from Parentkind and The Teaching Awards Trust highlights that three in four parents and carers have a newfound respect hold for the teaching profession following their experiences of remote learning during lockdown. 74.9% of survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they had more respect for the work that teachers do following their family’s experiences of remote learning.

The last year has seen a wealth of stories of teachers making care visits to vulnerable families, coming up with innovative ways of remote teaching, keeping their pupils settled by regularly checking in and even using their school sites for Covid-19 testing when classes did return to school. There has never been a better time to appreciate them and the vital work they do. 

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in education, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with. This year marks its 22ndyear of celebrating, award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and lecturers across the UK 

Sharon Hague, Senior Vice President of Schools at Pearson UK, said:  “After a year like no other we want to take today to say thank you to all the incredible school staff who have kept children and young people learning despite unprecedented challenges. We hope the celebrations today show how much you are appreciated, and that your hard work has not gone unnoticed nor unrecognised.” 

Sutton schools to help bereaved


A Sutton Coldfield school has been leading the way in training teaching staff from 14 schools to help students cope with the terrible loss of bereavement, writes Bill McCarthy.

Teachers from across Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield and Tamworth have received vital training to help young people facing loss and living with bereavement.
Phoenix, the children and young people’s bereavement service for St Giles Hospice, has been working with staff from schools from the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP), which include Arthur Terry School, John Willmott School, Stockland Green School, Brookvale Primary School, Curdworth Primary School, Hill West Primary School, Mere Green Primary School and Slade Primary School in Birmingham.
The session covered the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on young people as well as issues around bereavement and facing loss.
Sue Bailey, Assistant Head at Arthur Terry, said: “We are very much aware that many families within our community of schools have lost loved ones during these difficult times.
“Our aim as a partnership is to offer as much support to these families as we can and the training we received from St Giles will further enable our staff to do this.
“The training was of a very high quality and left us feeling better equipped to support families and also how to access the expert support available from St Giles.

Arthur Terry’s assistant head teacher Sue Bailey

We look forward to further partnership working and would recommend this training to others.” 
Phoenix lead Jodie Phillips said the right support in schools for young people who had experienced the death of someone close to them was essential, particularly in the current circumstances.
“Schools can be a safe space for young people, providing normality and consistency at times of extreme pressure and change, which is often the case when someone dies,” she said.
“Working with ATLP to help their staff to support young people facing the death of a loved one or living with that loss is an important part of creating a safety net for those young people.
“Given the right support, most grieving children and young people will not need professional help, but what they do need is the care of adults they trust who are familiar to them such as a teacher.”
The Arthur Terry Learning Partnership is a growing multi-academy trust of 14 schools and one teaching school in Birmingham, North Warwickshire and Staffordshire.
Phoenix offers support for any child or young person under the age of 18 who is facing loss or who has been bereaved, in the St Giles Hospice catchment area.

Referrals can come from parents, teachers, healthcare professionals or young people. To find out more, please call 01543 434536.

Sutton head teacher honoured

Head teacher Rachel Davis has been awarded and MBE for services to education

School delight at MBE for Rachel

By Bill McCarthy

A Sutton Coldfield head teacher’s achievements has been recognised in the the Queen’s New Year Honours List. The honours recognise the incredible achievements and service of people across the whole of the UK.

Rachel Davis, headteacher at Little Sutton School and from Sutton Coldfield, was awarded an MBE for services to education.

Staff members at the school, rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted inspectors, praised Mrs Davis on their Twitter account saying: “Congratulations to our Headteacher Rachel Davis on being awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours. We are all so proud of her.”

Parents also praised Mrs Davis’ for her work. Clare Macphail, has three children who spent happy years at Little Sutton.

She said: “All three of my children enjoyed time at Little Sutton and that was down to the warm and friendly learning environment created by Mrs. Davis and her staff. Her MBE is well deserved.”

Mrs Davis has been head teacher at the Worcester Lane primary school since 2004 and is both a National Leader of Education (NLE) and an Ofsted inspector for the West Midlands.

National Leaders of Education provide focused support to under performing schools to enable rapid improvement.

According to her LinkedIn profile,  in 2014 she supported a school in challenging circumstances to move from ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Good’ in 12 months.

The following year she then helped a school to move from Ofsted category of ‘Special Measures’ to ‘Good’ in 15 months and in 2015-2016 supported a school to move from ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Good’ .

Little Sutton Primary School has more than 400 pupils and is designated one of the government’s new English Hubs – one of just 34 schools nationwide recognised for their excellence in teaching and learning.

The hub aims to support schools to achieve excellence in early literacy teaching through an initial focus on developing early language and closing the word gap, developing early reading through systematic, synthetic phonics. It also promotes a love of reading.

Her work was acknowledged by a Tamworth school she supported, who congratulated her for her award on Twitter: “Congratulations from all at Coton Green Primary School… Your help from the English Hub has had an enormous impact.”

Professor Colin Diamond, CBE and Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Birmingham, added: “Warmest congratulations to headteacher Rachel Davis on being awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours. Always the head who goes that extra mile to help others in Birmingham. So well deserved.”

Sutton offers A* for education

Wide choice of schools on offer for parents

Sutton Coldfield schools have a proud record for education students, with many achieving some of the best results in the country.

There are a number of secondary schools, both selective and comprehensive, in the area, including Fairfax School is on Reddicap Heath Road in the east of the town.

Opposite the school is The John Willmott School, while Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls is on Jockey Road.

Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School, its male equivalent, is on Lichfield Road in the centre of the town adjacent to Birmingham Metropolitan College.

The Arthur Terry School is on Kittoe Road in Four Oaks in the north of the town near Butlers Lane station, while The Plantsbrook School (formerly The Riland Bedford School) is on Upper Holland Road near the centre of the town in Maney.

Bishop Walsh Catholic School is next to the Sutton Park Line and New Hall Valley Country Park and is a 10 minutes from Wylde Green. All these schools are for ages 11–18. However, from September 1972 until July 1992, schools in the Sutton Coldfield area were divided into first school for pupils aged 5–8 years, middle schools for pupils aged 8–12 years, while the entry age for secondary school was set at 12 years.

There are also many primary and infant schools in the area including : St Joseph Catholic Primary School; Whitehouse Common Primary School; Deanery Primary School; Banners Gate Primary School; Holy Cross Infant and Junior Catholic Primary School; Walmley Primary School and Moor Hall Primary School in the Mere Green area.

Others include Four Oaks Primary; New Hall Primary and Children’s Centre; Little Sutton; Coppice Primary; Hill West and Mere Green Combined.

Highclare School, founded in 1932, is a primary and secondary school located on three sites in the Birmingham area. Two of the sites are located in Sutton Coldfield, with the other being located in nearby Erdington. The Sutton Coldfield facilities are on Lichfield Road in the Four Oaks area and in the Wylde Green area to the south, which houses the nursery.

St Nicholas Catholic Primary School in Jockey Road is a voluntary aided Catholic primary school. Established in 1967.

Martha’s England Lionesses pride

A Sutton Coldfield football manager has spoken of his pride after a former player was selected for training with the England Lionesses under-16 squad.

Fifteen-year-old Arthur Terry School student, Martha MacPhail, who started her career as the only girl in manager John Watts’ under-7s Sutton Coldfield Town Juniors football team, was selected to attend the England Lionesses U16 residential training camp at St George’s Park National Performance Centre in Burton.

Martha plays for Aston Villa Women’s Regional Talent Centre U16s and is also part of the newly-formed Villa Women’s Academy talent day release programme. The sporty Year 11 student undertook intense match training, including strength and conditioning, along with education workshops around performance psychology.

Now manager of the successful under -16 Sutton Town team, John paid tribute to his former player. He said: “Martha’s ability was clear to see from as young as four years old. Luckily for me, my son is her best friend, there was no way in the world she was playing for any other team but ours.

“What set her apart from any other player was her ability to quickly pick up and use a complex skill successfully and consistently during a game. The praise she received in those five years from opposing team mangers and parents alike is unquantifiable. Such wonderful technique and superb agility only scratch the surface of what is incredible young lady.”

Versatile Martha, who plays in various positions, said “I was pleased to have been selected for the camp this time round, given the current climate with Covid. It’s been hard keeping fit throughout the last six months, but I have been focused on my goals and hopefully I’ll be rewarded with an England call up one day!”

But the modest youngster added that her foremost goal was forging a career with Aston Villa first.

During her training, Martha was assigned time to complete her school work. Aston Villa Women has launched a dual career pathway, a programme to support future stars of the game to manage elite football expectations and studies so that players are well qualified individuals.

Cristina Torkildsen, Youth Technical Director at Aston Villa Women’s Football Club, said: “We couldn’t be prouder of Marty for her international call up, she deserves it and has worked incredibly hard to achieve this.

“Marty has been in and around England Camps for the last few years, but this was her first England U16s Training Camp and that’s a recognition of the great work she has put in over the last few years and beyond. Marty has a huge personality with bags of potential and we have no doubt that this was the first of many – hope she enjoyed every second.”

Martha, who was previously selected to attend an England Women’s U15 training camp, started her career with Sutton Coldfield Town Juniors Football Club U7, before moving on to Aston Villa Women, Birmingham City RTC and Birmingham Women.

Arthur Terry School PE teacher Donna Horspool said: Martha’s dedication and attitude towards chasing her dreams is exemplary, she is a fabulous role model around school and deserves the success she is receiving.”

She added that Martha has “contributed significantly” to the success of Arthur Terry School’s football team, helping them to be crowned Birmingham School Futsal Champions, Erdington and Saltley Cup Champions, West Midlands County Cup Champions and English Schools Quarter Finalists. Martha is also an integral member of the West Midlands Schoolgirls County Team, working tirelessly to help them reach the semi-final of the National Cup.

Samantha Kibble, headteacher of Arthur Terry School, which is part of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP), said: We’re delighted that Martha was chosen to train with England at this level. This honour is testament to her hard work and talent. She is incredibly gifted and dedicated, both as a player and as a student, and we were all cheering her on at home.”

Sutton Coldfield Town Juniors Football Club and Sutton Coldfield Town Football Club have formed a working partnership to provide ‘Football for All’ and become one of Birmingham Football Associations new HUB CLUBS and achieve the COMMUNITY CHARTER STANDARD. 

Sutton Coldfield Town Football Club provide an opportunity for everyone to enjoy playing and taking part in football related activities. The two clubs have, for a long time, been successfully representing Sutton Coldfield in junior and senior football but have now found the formula to work together to promote football across the community for the benefit of all abilities and give progression opportunities for players to move from junior to senior football. 

Sutton Coldfield Town Juniors Football Club currently run 18 junior teams (aged 7 to 16) from their ground at Bishop Walsh School and run a Saturday morning soccer school for girls and boys. Teams can play in the Central Warwickshire league at the weekend – and they have the opportunity to progress into the higher level Junior Premier League. Players can also be selected to join the Sutton Coldfield Town Academy teams where promotion into the under 18, under 21 and senior team is now a real opportunity.