Appointment of School Commissioner

St Helens Council has announced that it has become one of the first Authorities in the Country to appoint a local Schools Commissioner with the appointment of Phil Fitzpatrick to the role.

Phil’s principal role will be to chair St Helens School Improvement Board, which will regularly and robustly hold schools to account for their performance.

Councillor Grunewald said: “When I became Leader of St Helens Council I outlined my commitment to ensuring that improving educational outcomes for the children and young people in our borough were paramount.

“That work started with the establishment of an education task-force and Phil’s appointment is building on the work of the task force and is a clear signal that we are determined to see standards rise further in our schools.

“The results of our primary schools are amongst the best in the country. While our GCSE results remain stable, in a year that witnessed falls in other local authorities, there is still much more to do in our secondary schools.

Phil, 66, has a track record in the secondary sector for delivering rapid improvement in education, experience that we will harness to help schools in all phases to do even better.”

His work in school improvement includes recent headship at Birkdale High School in Sefton, which was placed in special measures by Ofsted in 2011.

Phil was appointed by the Department for Education to take the school out of that category of concern. Birkdale High School was subsequently graded “good”by Ofsted in November 2013.

The inspection report commented: “the school is led by an inspirational headteacher who has transformed the culture to one of ambition and continued improvement. …The school is led by an outstanding headteacher”.

Phil says his key strengths are problem solving, identifying and initiating positive developments and putting every child at the centre of the educational processes. He added: “I am delighted to have been appointed as commissioner and looks forward to working with all concerned to bring about sustained improvements.’

He lives in Liverpool and is married with two girls and four boys.

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