Sutton Coldfield School pays moving tribute to founder

A Sutton Coldfield school has paid a moving tribute to its founder by naming a newly-refurbished building after her.

Andrew Mitchell and Amanda Lees
Andrew Mitchell and Amanda Lees

Janice Rankin founded The Shrubbery, Sutton’s oldest independent school, in 1930, in the Walmley home where she lived with her family.

And last week Sutton MP Andrew Mitchell officially opened the refurbished building – now called Rankin House – cheered by the entire school.

Mr Mitchell said: “I had the great honour of meeting Miss Rankin, who was a true educational pioneer and much-loved by the pupils she taught over many decades.

"It was a privilege to open Rankin House and to see how the school she created nearly a century ago is thriving in the 21st century.”

Miss Rankin, who passed away in 1997, had only one pupil when the school first opened, a little girl called Eileen King, teaching her in a single classroom in the now listed house.

Headteacher Amanda Lees said: “We are really grateful to Mr Mitchell for coming along and helping us celebrate Miss Rankin’s achievements, and the children really enjoyed learning about how she created their school.”

Shrubbery CEO Craig Johnson said: “It was great to see Rankin House opened – the refurbishments include everything from a new reception area and security system to wood panelling that celebrates the heritage of this historic building.

“However, Rankin House is just the start of exciting investment in The Shrubbery as the school prepares for its second century of educating local youngsters.”

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