Headteacher who turned around Kidderminster school given national improvement role

A headteacher, who turned around a Kidderminster school, has been chosen as a National Leader of Education so he can help other ailing schools improve.

Matthew Carpenter with Baxter College students
Matthew Carpenter with Baxter College students

The appointment of Matthew Carpenter, principal of Baxter College, will be used by the Department for Education to support schools in challenging circumstances to help raise standards.

Mr Carpenter took up his position at Baxter College, his first headship, in 2018 and was immediately faced with a restructuring programme to ensure the financial sustainability of the school.

He led the school to a ‘good’ Ofsted-rated inspection in January 2020, just weeks before the Covid pandemic saw schools close their doors to most students during lockdown and move to virtual learning.

He said: “The start of my career as a headteacher was a baptism of fire followed by navigating through the unchartered waters of a global pandemic, but we have an incredibly strong team and together we pulled through with our students, who are at the heart of everything.”

The DfE’s criteria for National Leaders in Education (NLEs) is that they are “outstanding headteachers”, who can demonstrate a strong track record as leaders in their own schools in all areas to create excellent education and high standards for all.

Mr Carpenter added: “Working in support of other schools is a sensitive role which will develop my skills and knowledge as well as helping them initiate long-term positive changes.

“I’m delighted to have this opportunity and to bring back what I learn to Baxter College.”

Chris King, chief executive of the Severn Academies Educational Trust, of which Baxter College is a member, said: “Mat’s influence on Baxter College is immense and his leadership skills, critical thinking and problem solving, optimism and resilience make him an ideal national leader.

“I am delighted for him, for Baxter College and for our trust, for which Mat is our secondary director, as we can only benefit from the experiences he will have and the knowledge he will gain."

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