Prof. Caroline Whalley awarded CBE for services to education

Caroline Whalley, founder of the Elliot Foundation, one of the most successful primary academy sponsors, has been awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

The daughter of a Chesterfield coal-miner, Caroline spent part of her childhood in care following the death of her parents and then dropped out of school in her early teens. On moving to London she attended evening classes which ignited a lifelong passion for making learning inclusive.

Caroline earned her degrees and doctorate through the Open University whilst bringing up a young family and rising through the ranks of the teaching profession to become Executive Director at the London Borough of Ealing. She went on to found the Education business of Babcock International and worked with educational charities including SHINE and City Year.

Opening its first academy in Walsall in September 2012, the Elliot Foundation now has 6,000 pupils in 17 rapidly improving primary schools. More than two thirds of the schools in the Elliot Foundation were sponsored academies i.e. their results were below floor and/or they were in an OfSTED category of ‘Special Measures’ or ‘Notice to Improve’. Today, 80% are good or outstanding only three ‘require improvement’ and more ‘Outstanding’ judgements are expected this year .

The exceptional turnaround is the result of the Elliot Foundation’s system leadership approach to school improvement. This enables teachers to focus on the core job of teaching whilst connecting schools to a rigorous development and support network that builds capacity within the academies themselves.

Prof. Whalley said, “I am personally delighted by the honour but also happy that it recognises the phenomenal achievement by all our pupils and teachers; as well as being a tremendous accolade for my co-founder Henry Bedford and other founder directors. It is equally a major pat on the back for my husband and family.”

Elliot Foundation Chief Executive, Hugh Greenway said, “We are over the moon that Caroline’s selfless commitment to helping build a genuinely school-led system has been validated. Caroline’s unique gift is to find the positive in any situation thereby creating opportunities for growth and development. The success of the Elliot Foundation is a testament to what happens when you treat schools and teachers the way we would like them to treat our children.”

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