Ambition School Leadership appoints new regional director to tackle the North/South educational divide

Dec. 15, 2016

National education charity Ambition School Leadership has appointed Raksha Pattni, previously Area Director for Business in the Community, to spearhead its work with school leaders across the North of England. Ambition School Leadership delivers leadership development programmes for school leaders at all levels, focusing on schools in the most challenging circumstances.

The disparity between education in the North and South is profound. In the South and East 81% of secondary schools are judged to be Good or Outstanding, while in the North the figure stands at only 70%. That has a direct impact on student outcomes; in 2014-15 only 34% of disadvantaged students attending Northern schools achieved 5+ A*-C GCSEs including English and maths, compared to a national disadvantaged average of 37% and 48% in London.

Raksha’s expertise is in turning economic and social insights into strategic opportunities and programmes, specifically in the North of England. She joins the charity having previously set up the pioneering education programme Business Class, which has impacted the lives of over 230,000 young people in 545 of the UK’s most challenging secondary schools through strategic business engagement.

This puts her in a strong position to take on the issues identified in the Northern Powerhouse Schools Strategy, published last month. The report, commissioned by the Department of Education, is an independent review which aims to address the educational disparity between North and South as part of the Government’s overarching ambition to create a one-nation economy.

The report’s recommendations include: ensuring that more academies are part of multi-academy trusts (MATs) so that they receive effective support; providing mentoring for MAT chief executives; and investing in building leadership capacity.

James Toop, Chief Executive of Ambition School Leadership said:

“We want to ensure that every child in every school has a great education. Their life chances should not be limited by family income or geography. We know that exceptional school leaders at all levels create great schools, and that’s why we develop school leaders at every stage of the leadership pipeline. I am excited to welcome Raksha as our new Regional Director for the North; she will develop and deliver our strategy and help ensure that all children in the North have the great school leaders they need to fulfil their ambition.”

Raksha Pattni said:

“I share Ambition School Leadership’s belief that great school leaders can change lives.  If the North is to realise its full economic potential then it will need every drop of talent and I am looking forward to ensuring we play a strong role in unlocking this potential in children and leaders alike through collaboration with other organisations.”

In November, Ambition School Leadership announced four strategic commitments which Raksha will support:

  • To develop headteachers
  • To build a leadership pipeline
  • To create and deepen effective partnerships
  • To reach priority areas and reduce the progress gap

Raksha’s passion for regeneration in the North began early in her career, when she worked as Head of Race and Equality at Preston City Council. She later joined Business in the Community, where she led on the development and implementation of significant regeneration programmes.

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