BPET Leadership Consultant – Sir Bruce Liddington Obituary

Sir Bruce was a first rate educationalist who ultimately believed in education autonomy for the benefit of pupils he served. He became the driving force of the academies programme under the Labour government.

Sir Bruce led Northampton School for Boys from 1986, where just 9% of boys achieved 5 good GCSEs to 2000 when 79% of pupils achieved 5 A*-C GCSEs.  Later, after joining the civil service, Sir Bruce rose to become the first National School Commissioner in 2007.

Born in Kettering General Hospital in 1949 and brought up in Wellingborough as an only child to a stone mason and shoe factory worker, Bruce thrived academically.  He passed the eleven plus and was accepted into Wellingborough Grammar School with contemporaries like Sir David Frost.

Having been accepted into London University’s Queen Mary College (as it then was) to read English, Bruce took a year out to teach and he caught the bug.  After gaining a first class honors degree, he also enjoyed reading, a lot and going to the theatre and gigs.  He passion was musicals and the opera along with seeing his favourite band Crosby, Steals and Nash all over the world.

Whilst doing a master in Washington State, with the aid of a rotary club sponsorship, he met his wife Carol Jane.  After completing his first-class honours in English, he did his PGCE at King’s College, Cambridge.

Inspired Bruce to take up teaching in Conisborough, Yorkshire, Bruce developed as a great school leader and applied for his first headship at Northampton School for Boys.  Far from the grammar school it once was, it was the worst performing school in the town.  Through grit, resilience and pure determination, the school improved year on year, at one point being the only school nationally to improve 11 years in a row.

After 14 years as Head Teacher at the school for Boys, Bruce had taken the school out of Local Authority control, a controversial process for greater school autonomy, and made it the most oversubscribed school in Northampton.

Sir Bruce was knighted in the 2000 new year honours and went onto a secondment in the now Department for Education.  He soon found himself at the forefront of a new education policy called City Academies.  He threw himself into formulating policy and challenging the worst performing schools to have a structural solution.

He will always say he was put on this earth to close Willesden High School in Brent, north London.  A school in special measures for five years and a term, to become Capital City Academy.  Now performing at national average, Sir Bruce even wrote the design brief for what is a vastly improved school.  He copied this model across the country.

He became the Government’s enforcer on poor performing secondary schools, challenging Local Authorities and recruiting sponsors, initially with £2m donations, to govern the new academies.  Time has shown these schools to be very successful.  As the worst performing schools, more than half are now rated Good or better by OfSTED.  This has become the blue print for failing schools that has continued to be used as the strategy for school improvement by the Government today.

Sir Bruce left the civil service in 2009 to become the Director General of E-ACT.  Believing the role to be for high-level public advocacy of education, he soon found himself leading an academy sponsor through a governance crisis with six poor performing secondary schools in mainly large cities across England.  They all improved significantly and most were judged Good by OfSTED in their first inspection as academies, with two being Outstanding.

After expanding the organisation to 35 schools, including opening the first Free School in the country, Sir Bruce left E-ACT in 2013 and will be long remembered by those who knew him as an education visionary, who saw what was best for pupils and how best this was overseen and governed.

Not many transitioned from classroom, to Headship, to senior civil servant, to Chief Executive and were respected deeply along the way.

Sir Bruce celebrated his 70th birthday last September.  He leaves his wife Carol Jane and three children, Gaby, Richard and Jamie along with six cherished grandchildren.

Evendons Primary School joins BPET

We are delighted to announce that Evendons Primary School, Berkshire, has joined Bellevue Place Education Trust (BPET) on 1 February 2020.

Evendons Primary School, Wokingham joins BPET

Opened in September 2014, Evendons Primary School is a very successful Free School in Wokingham. Driven by the energy and passion of local parents, it has gone from strength to strength and in June 2017 was rated by OfSTED to be an Outstanding school.

July 2019 saw the first year group to complete Year 6 with pupils achieving average results in their core subject areas and benefiting from a rich, outdoor curriculum with a core focus on STEM subjects.  Their STEM focus premeditates through teaching and learning and is a key strength of the school.

Over the past two years, Evendons have been seeking a multi academy trust to join, recognising that there is greater security and opportunity by being part of a Trust than a stand-alone Free School. Bellevue Place was chosen as the preferred Trust in the autumn of 2019.

BPET Chief Executive Mark Greatrex said “Evendons will enrich the Bellevue Place group and being close, geographically, to Braywick Court School, Maidenhead we anticipate the development a local partnership within the wider multi academy trust.  This will benefit all the pupils we serve and promote greater staff development opportunities as a group of schools.”

Bellevue Place Education Trust are now a multi academy trust of eight schools across London and Berkshire, educating 2,030 pupils who are supported by 283 members of staff.

For more information, contact:

Tracey Blandford, Marketing Manager

Email: Tracey.Blandford@bpet.co.uk

Braywick Court School welcomes its pupils

Braywick Court School welcomes its pupils

It has been momentous week for Braywick Court School as pupils returned from half term at their new permanent building on Monday 4 November 2019.

The purpose built facility is situated on the edge of the village of Bray in Maidenhead. The building has been constructed by Interserve over the past year.

In the week before half term staff and parents moved over all the equipment from Riverside School, where the school has been in temporary accommodation for the past three years.

The new classrooms are light and airy, with Key Stage 2 having a balcony on the first floor to enjoy the great setting of the nature reserve the school is set in.

The school is situated in the local nature reserve
Parents and children wait to enter the school on Monday 4th November 2019
Pupils arrive for the first day at the new permanent site in Bray.
The children are keen to start learning in their new school

Deer Park close to being in their ideal location

Deer Park School was opened in September 2015 and is expected to move into their new, permanent, building in September 2019.

It has been used in the national press as an example of Free Schools who have waited over three years to be in their permanent building – there is a lot more to this journey.

Deer Park’s Journey to the preferred location

When Deer Park School was in the planning to open, Bellevue Place Education Trust, who maintain the school and the Local Authority were very keen that this new school be situated in East Twickenham/ St. Margarets area, as it is a ‘black spot’ for primary school places in this area. Parents were very supportive and the Local Authority have been excellent, in providing places in an area they have long been aware has a shortage.

However, with London being so tight on available land, a site could not be found in this area initially. Parents supported a push from the council, in discussions with Lidl who owned a sizable site in the ideal area and had planning rejected twice with residential and a hotel proposal.

Agreement was reached with Lidl to look at the school being situated on the same site. Plans were submitted for the school to be situated over the car park and Lidl store that will be an excellent use of land in a congested part of London. The planning permission application received unanimous approval from Richmond’s planning committee in April 2016 and building work began in July 2018.

Parents and the school have been patient for these plans to be developed and approved, with construction well underway for a September 2020 move in date.

With the support of the Department for Education and their excellent project team, Deer Park School’s journey to be situation in the ideal area for London has moved forward well. In the mean time, the temporary site for the school has continued to be good, expanding every year, meeting the needs to provide a great education offer.

Deer Park School achieved an Outstanding rating by OfSTED in July 2018, demonstrating that a high quality provision can continue while permanent buildings are being developed. Parents are grateful for the provision, which remains very popular with 293 application for 60 places for this years Reception cohort (September 2019).

Deer Park School looks forward to move into this excellent mix-use facility shortly.

Parent Survey Results 2019

We are very grateful to our parents who have completed our annual parents survey, which provides invaluable feedback and ideas for improving child’s education experience. We place a great emphasis on regular review and improvement, with input considered carefully from all of our key stakeholders – this is factored into the planning for the following academic year. The annual BPET Parental Surveys was sent out in June 2019 and yet again, we have received very positive feedback across our schools.

Overall, we are delighted to say that 95% of parents agree or strong agree that their child enjoys coming to school and 93% of respondents would recommend a BPET school to their friends – which is the same excellent feedback as we received last year.

Across BPET, parents responses show they are very happy with their child’s education, across the seven schools and in addition:

  • 94% of parents and carers strongly agree or agree that their school’s values and attitudes have a positive effect on their child
  • 92% of parents and carers strongly agree or agree that their school develops their child’s independence and responsibility
  • 88% of parents and carers are satisfied with the leadership and management of their school

These positive response are a testimont to the hard work and dedication put in by staff teams across the year for the benefit of our 1,400 pupils. These positive results continue as strong as previous years, though our schools continue to grow every year.

All schools have written to parents, setting out the areas that have been identified for improvement and what we are developing to achieve this improvement. These include ideas for clubs next year, better communication with parents, especially where information is given about pupils performance and investment into playgrounds equipment in our new schools.

To emphasis these positive survey outcome, parents have again left testimonials they are happy we share across our seven schools, below:

Halley House School is an exceptional school with great school values, my children learn, succeed and enjoy all that Halley has to offer and has already achieved a lot in a short space of time being pupils at the school. I’m a very happy and proud parent with my children attending here.

From the very first day, our son was totally in love with his new school. Everything about the school appealed to him. The uniform made him look smart, the children’s behaviour was well managed, and everyone was working hard to learn. His teachers were wonderful and he was made to feel at home from the outset. At the same time, he was given a chance to explore and learn what he liked best and choose his teacher. He loves being at Kilburn Grange School and never wants to miss a day.

We feel so happy to have chosen Braywick Court School for our daughter. It has an extremely nurturing environment where the children feel happy and keen to learn. The teachers and staff know each child on an individual basis and this makes each and every one feel special. In addition to the curriculum there are lots of extra opportunities for the children to learn and play sport at the excellent after school clubs.

We are very lucky to be a part of Deer Park School. My child loves going to school and is doing very well academically, thanks to his wonderful, dedicated teachers. The school offers a broad curriculum and enhances learning through extra activities, such as trips to London museums, local attractions and even the seaside! The school has a strong leadership, dedicated and approachable staff, friendly, caring environment. I couldn’t have asked for a better school.

Whitehall Park School is a positive and stimulating school, with inspiring teaching staff and a beautiful facility, that all together nurtures the child’s growth mindset and love of learning.

Rutherford House School is an inspiration to education and creates free thinking, confident individuals I am so proud of all of the wonderful things my daughter has done and achieved at the end of each day and what the brilliant staff, teaching and non teaching have created!

My son has excelled at Watling Park School. He loves to learn and the encouragement from the teachers is amazing. They share methods with myself to make sure he continues to enjoy learning. I love how enthusiastic he gets telling me different facts about the various topics…. Thank you

Glowing OfSTED for Rutherford House School

Rutherford House School welcomed OfSTED into the school in April 2019 for a short inspection, monitoring standards since the Good inspection report in July 2015.

The report shows very positive improvement for a school that has grown when last inspected from 4 classes (in July 2015) to 12 classes of pupils up to the eldest pupils currently in Year 5. Over the period, the inspector judged that the ‘the school has improved significantly overall’.

As an ‘oasis of calm’, the school is judged to be providing high standards through an ‘ambitious curriculum’ for their pupils, ‘where pupils are keen to find out new things and share their views and ideas. They learn very happily together.’

We are delighted with the report that is a very good representation of the school. The report is an absolute credit to Head Teacher, Mrs Mallatt and the staff, Local Advisers, parents and most importantly, the pupils at Rutherford House School.

A copy of the report can be found here, on the OfSTED website

OfSTED usually visits Good Schools with short inspections to monitor standards. The inspector did report that the next OfSTED visit will be a full (section 5) inspection in the next one to two years, or early if requested.

BPET Year 3 Girls Football Competition



On 21 May 2019, it was the Year 3 Girls Football competition at our great Watling Park School facilities. Girls from across the seven BPET primary schools came together to play in the first BPET Year 3 Girls Football Competition.

The games were very competitive and fair, with a round of group games where all teams played each other, with the team with the most points, playing in the final round to determine the winning team.

Congratulations go to Year 3 girls at Rutherford House School, who like the Boys before, won by a narrow margin, with Whitehall Park coming second and Halley House coming third. Kilburn Grange made it to the fina round too.

The weather showed off the excellent facilities at Watling Park and the girls really enjoyed the competition and games, as they came thick and fast.

A huge thank you goes again to Mr Richards from Rutherford House School, who arranged this fantastic day with the support of Wimbledon AFC again.

All pupils received a medal for taking part. We are looking into developing the best players into a BPET team that might be able to compete nationally, as they get into Year 5 & 6, which everyone is excited by.



BPET Director of Education appointed

It is with pleasure that we announce that Laura Gregory has been appointed as the first BPET Director of Education.  From a field of outstanding candidates, we felt that Laura had the skills and experience for the role, along with being an excellent fit for an expanding, ambitious multi academy trust.

Laura has previously work for two academy trust’s and is currently working at a seven school trust as the Primary Education Lead across their six primary schools.  Laura is also a primary leadership coach for Ambition Institute.  Prior to this, Laura was Deputy and then Principal of a large outstanding primary academy in Hertfordshire – also one of the first designated as a Teaching Schools in England.  While in this role, Laura became an OfSTED Inspector for primary and early years, before leaving to be a School Improvement Adviser for Buckinghamshire Local Authority.  Laura brings a deep and innovative understanding of working in a multi academy trust and we believe she will be an asset to the team. 

We are pleased Laura has accepted this role and is due to start on 1 September 2019. This is an exciting appointment that is part of our planned growth of the central team as BPET continues to grow in terms of the number of pupils over the next five years, until the schools are at capacity.

Charity Quiz for CEO’s London Marathon Efforts

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the RSBC Charity Quiz Night at Halley House School on 19 March 2019, in aid of Mark Greatrex’s 2019 London Marathon efforts.

The quiz was wonderfully hosted by impressionist and comedian, Jon Culshaw from Radio 4’s Dead Ringers. Jon delivered the questions with a range of brilliant voices from Donald Trump, Alan Bennett and John Craven to Stephen Hawkens and Michael Gove.

Congratulations goes to the winners of the quiz, The Bitter Longshots, a team of Halley parents! They led from the first round and were unchallenged by the picture and true or false round that caught a few teams out. Beat the bar came second, with Comet Genius and Jesus College, Cambridge in joint third.

We are delighted say that the quiz night raised over £1,500 from tickets sales, the raffle and proceeds from the bar. We are deeply grateful to Michael from The Saville Club in Mayfair, who is also a parent of x in Year xx, who provided an amazing buffet that was enjoyed by all.

The raffle prizes were generously donated by a range of supplier and local businesses that includes Ream, the Facilities Management company for Halley House, a meal for two at Tipsey’s and brownies from Arbor – the company that provides the school’s management information system.

Mark is running for the Royal Society for Blind Children and funds were being raised for this great cause. RSBC is a national children’s charity, based in Halley House School that support visually impaired children. They believe no child in the UK should grow up to be poor or lonely just because they are blind. There are an estimated 36,000 blind and partially sighted children and young people in England and Wales. Every day, four more children will be diagnosed with sight loss.

A huge thank you to Jo Kessell and Kevin McNulty from RSBC, who helped arrange the quiz night to runs so smoothly. You can still sponsor Mark on his Justgiving page, with the big run on Sunday 28 April.

Mark completed the London Marathon on 28 April 2019 in a time of 4 hours 34 minutes, taking 25 minutes off his previous marathon time. Thank you to everyone who supported the event and fundraising for this effort (pictured below with his friend who he ran with).

BPET Year 3 Boys Football Competition

Pupils from across the seven BPET primary schools came together to play in the inaugural BPET Year 3 Boys Football Competition.

Hosted by Wimbledon AFC Football Club, boys from across the BPET schools took part in a number of group matches, allowing all schools to play each other.  The games were very competitive and fair, some officiated by Year 5 pupils from Rutherford House.  There was also strong, vocal at times, support from school sports coaches, staff and parents who enjoyed the day.

With the weather more like a cup final day in May, rather than mid-February, the boys played fairly in an open competition.  There were some exciting skills on show too and exciting goals for all to cheer.

Between games, all the boys had an opportunity to have a tour of the Wimbledon AFC football stadium and see where the men’s first team play.  This is a team that were narrowly defeated in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

The eventual winners of the competition were Rutherford House School, with Deer Park in second place and Whitehall Park in third.  Braywick Court, Halley House, Kilburn Grange and Watling Park all came joint fourth.

A huge thank you goes to Mr Richards from Rutherford House School, who arranged this fantastic day and to Wimbledon AFC for hosting the competition.  A day all the boys who took part will remember.

All pupils received a medal for taking part, with a special medal for two players from each school who had played fairing and demonstrated good sportsmanship.

It will be the turn of the BPET Year 3 girls in the summer term, which we are now looking forward to with Kilburn Grange tipped as early favourites.

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