A respected educator who first taught in Sutton in 1999 is set to leave to take up an exciting new role – but he says he’ll miss working in a place that’s ‘lucky to have an incredible choice of secondary schools’.
Neil Warner first joined Arthur Terry in 1999 as an English teacher, before returning in 2009 as Deputy Headteacher.
He became Headteacher of the Kittoe Road school in 2011, before becoming the Director of Education (Secondary) for the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership (ATLP) in 2015, overseeing the development of all the Secondary schools in the respected group.
Now he says he’s excited to be going back to what he describes as ‘the best job in the world’, by assuming the headship of Yardleys School in Tyesley, Birmingham from September.
“I’ve immensely enjoyed my work as Director of Education at ATLP, because it’s a role where you are able to spread your sphere of influence over a greater number of schools and support more children and support more staff. But, at the end of the day I do desperately miss the direct engagement you get from life as a headteacher. It was a tough choice to make because Arthur Terry is part of my DNA, but you’ve got to follow your heart.”
Mr Warner said he had seen huge amounts of change at Arthur Terry during his time at the school.
“It has changed in so many ways. It’s always had an excellent reputation in the community I think over the years we’ve built on that.
“Obviously, it’s become more technologically advanced, and I think the teaching and learning here has continued to get better and better. There’s also much more collaboration in terms of Arthur Terry supporting other schools in the area, and vice versa – that’s one of the great things about education in Sutton.”
Now he’s set to take the reins at Yardleys School, returning to the place where he gained his first leadership role in education.
He said: “Yardleys has always held a special place in my heart, just like Arthur Terry. I was Assistant Headteacher there, responsible for teaching and learning, before I came back to Sutton in 2009, so I know the school very well.
“The staff are a fantastic, committed body of people and doing an immense job for the students and the community they serve. I’m really looking forward to leading the school into the next stage of its development.”
Mr Warner says he will take a great deal with him from his time educating Sutton students and working with local schools.
“Sutton is lucky to have an incredible choice of secondary schools, and the parents here really put their trust, support and confidence in local schools to educate their children.
“I have always felt that we get that tremendous support from parents, and all of Sutton’s schools have a collaborative way of working that benefits the entire town.
“I’ll miss things like the Sutton Coldfield Schools Debating Competition – it’s an annual event that has been going since I got here, and I haven’t missed a single one. It just exemplifies for me how dedicated the schools are to developing and encouraging young people.”
He says he will also miss his ATLP colleagues, and expects his last day to be ‘emotional’.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside the most professional, dedicated and hard-working teachers, support staff and governors. It’s been a privilege to walk alongside them.”
Richard Gill CBE, Chief Executive of Arthur Terry Learning Trust, said:
“Neil has made a huge contribution to the success of not only Arthur Terry but all of the secondary schools in our partnership, inspiring thousands of students and setting an example to colleagues.
“He will be a huge loss to ATLP, but a real gain for Yardleys School, where I have no doubt he will have a similarly positive impact on school life.
“We wish him all the best, and look forward to seeing him again, as he will always have many friends here in Sutton Coldfield and across the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership.”
Neil Warner first taught at Arthur Terry School in 1999.