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Webinar: A recipe for success – Creating unimagined futures

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A presentation on Stone Soup Academy's approach to transforming young lives

In this special webinar for members we heard from Kerrie Henton FCCT (Principal, Stone Soup Academy) and Oliver Sillito (Assistant Principal, Stone Soup Academy) who shared their recipe for success in transforming the lives of young people excluded from mainstream education. Professor Dame Alison Peacock (Chief Executive, Chartered College of Teaching) and Gwyneth Gibson (Headteacher, Lea Manor High School) chaired the session.

Stone Soup Academy were awarded Alternative Provision of the year (TES awards: 2020). Their success has led to remarkable student outcomes, with attendance above 80% (it’s at 62% for AP nationwide), 100% of all students achieved qualifications, 82% achieved GCSE English and Maths.

“We wanted to give our students a future so they might care more about the present – they might not get involved in crime and violence if they had something to lose – so we set about creating this future for our students.”

Resources shared:

Our guests:

Kerrie Henton FCCT

Principal, Stone Soup Academy
Kerrie graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a first class honours degree in Design Technology with Secondary Education. Kerrie started her career in mainstream secondary schools and over 18 years in 3 schools she was promoted through Head of Department to Assistant Principal to Vice Principal.

Kerrie has now worked in alternative provision since 2014 taking on the post of Principal of Stone Soup Academy in 2018.

Kerrie is passionate about creating unimagined futures for students, many of whom have faced challenges and adversity in their lives by the time that they arrive at Stone Soup Academy.

Kerrie says “Here at Stone Soup we are making a positive difference to lives and I am privileged to lead our school as we progress into the future.”

Oliver Sillito

Assistant Principal, Stone Soup Academy
Oli was recently promoted to Assistant Principal (Behaviour for Learning) at Stone Soup Academy, having previously held the role of Head of Engagement. He initially came into the school to help students through stand-up comedy workshops that he had developed based upon his successful stint as a stand-up comedian.

Through delivering the workshops, Oli found that he had a passion for helping students overcome barriers to engagement and helping them to learn in a fun and stimulating way.

Oli loves working at Stone Soup Academy, helping students who haven’t engaged as well in mainstream and showing them there are different ways to engage in school. He believes seeing students start to love what they do in school and go onto their next steps, confident and happy with what they want to do in life, is the best feeling ever.

Gwyneth Gibson

Headteacher, Lea Manor High School
Gwyneth joined Lea Manor High School in January 2018, fully aware of the challenges facing her. The school was judged by Ofsted as RI back in 2017, with the national press subsequently naming it as one of the worst schools in the country. Gwyneth believes being a Headteacher is a privilege and it is an honour to work at Lea Manor High School with a staffing body committed to bringing about positive change and raising pupil outcomes.

Since starting her education career in 1998, Gwyneth has been a teacher, education consultant, senior leader and Her Majesty’s Inspector. She has an unstinting passion to serve our most challenged communities and is proud of a career that has done just that.

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