Latest News

Penk Valley Academy Trust welcomes new Chief Executive Officer Brynley Evans

Thursday 9 September 2021

Penk Valley Academy Trust are pleased to announce the arrival of their new Chief Executive Officer Brynley Evans.

Brynley was previously Headteacher of Yardleys School, an ‘Outstanding’ rated secondary academy in Birmingham, where he had been Headteacher since 2015 and Deputy Headteacher for the six years beforehand. He brings huge experience, not only of the schools and academies sector, but of leading an Academy with an excellent reputation for delivering great results through a broad, far-ranging curriculum.

Brynley has hit the ground running by leading the Trust’s first ever whole staff conference on Thursday 2 September with a keynote address focusing on his vision for the trust of ‘learning together’.

In his first week he has been busy meeting staff from all seven schools and planning for the exciting future developments of the Trust.

Brynley said, “I am truly delighted to have been given the privilege of leading Penk Valley Academy Trust into the next, exciting stage of its development. It has been lovely to be given such a warm welcome and to meet individual members of the Trust community.

“My main aim as CEO, and our core purpose as a Trust, is to support all our schools in delivering a truly wonderful, holistic education for all of our children.  Everything we do is underpinned by our ethos of ‘Learning Together’ and our core values of collaboration, challenge, curiosity and care. Our work will prioritise aspects that make a sustainable difference to the quality of education and schools. These include fostering strong organisational culture, developing leadership, focusing on a broad curriculum and ensuring highly effective operational systems across the Trust.  We are also looking to work with others outside our organisation as we build on the many existing strengths of Penk Valley Academy Trust.”

Year 11 celebrations at Wolgarston High School

Thursday 12 August 2021

Wolgarston High school was pleased to welcome students and parents back to school to collect their GCSE and BTEC results as well as their yearbook and leavers top. 

As with Year 13, grades were awarded through teacher assessed grades which were approved and awarded by the exam boards after summer exams were cancelled. 

Jo Fairclough, Headteacher said: “Students have impressed us with their 100% commitment and work ethic, despite the challenges of this year. Our staff have worked incredibly hard to support students to achieve their potential and I am delighted that so many students are continuing their studies at Wolgarston sixth form<<.” 


GCSE and BTEC success at The Rural Enterprise Academy

Thursday 12 August 2021

It was wonderful to see our year 11 pupils this morning collecting their GCSE and BTEC results. After two tumultuous years, their efforts and hard work paid off, as they received their grades. 

Sadly, we now say goodbye to them as they move on to the next stage of their education and training. We are very proud of our pupils, despite all the challenges of the year, they showed perseverance and determination to succeed and we wish them every success in the future. 


Sixth Form students celebrate success

Tuesday 10 August 2021

Wolgarston High school is delighted to report some excellent achievements by students in their A level and BTEC qualifications this year. 

Ruby Turner, Head Girl, achieved four A*s and is studying French and Philosophy at the University of Oxford. Joe Ballance also achieved four A*s and is going to the University of Warwick to study Maths and Millie Gould is also going to the University of Warwick to study Politics after gaining three A*s. 

Ruby Turner, Head Girl at Wolgarston High School will be studying at The University of Oxford following her achievement of four A* grades at A Level.

This year, following the cancellation of exams, grades were awarded through a process of teacher assessed grades, against a national standard and approved and awarded by the exam boards. 

Jo Fairclough, Headteacher said: “We are immensely proud of the hard work and resilience of all our students, especially after such a challenging and disruptive year for them and their families. Our staff have worked tirelessly to ensure students have been able to progress onto their chosen destinations, and I know our Year 13 students will achieve great things in the future.” 


Brynley Evans set to become Chief Executive Officer of Penk Valley Academy Trust

Thursday 1 April 2021

Following the announcement of the retirement this Summer of Phil Tapp as Chief Executive Officer of Penk Valley Academy Trust, a rigorous recruitment process has taken place to appoint his successor.

Penk Valley Academy Trust is pleased to announce the recruitment of Brynley Evans to the post. Brynley will start in September 2021.

Brynley is currently Headteacher of Yardleys School, an ‘Outstanding’ rated secondary academy in Birmingham, where he has been Headteacher since 2015 and was Deputy Headteacher for the six years beforehand. He brings huge experience, not only of the schools and academies sector, but of leading an Academy with an excellent reputation for delivering great results through a broad, far-ranging curriculum.

Brynley is excited to bring his strategic vision to Penk Valley Academy Trust to ensure that the Trust goes from strength to strength through a commitment to its strategy of investing in quality, investing in people and investing in a designed curriculum offer.

Mark Roberts, Chair of Trustees at Penk Valley Academy Trust said, “We are delighted with the appointment of Brynley who brings a wealth of experience and skills and an absolute commitment to the purpose and values of our Trust. I look forward to working closely with him to ensure that all seven of our schools continue to deliver the very best outcomes for our communities.”

Brynley Evans

Brynley Evans said, “I am truly delighted to have been given the opportunity to lead Penk Valley Academy Trust into the next stage of its development. I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know all the schools and members of the Trust community including parents, carers and children. I am also excited about the prospect of working with all staff, Governors and Trustees, building on the many positive features within the Trust to ‘inspire learning’ and to deliver a truly wonderful education for our children.”



Phil Tapp to retire as Chief Executive Officer of Penk Valley Academy Trust

Tuesday 2 February 2021

Following a career entirely working in education, Phil Tapp will be retiring in Summer 2021 from his role as Chief Executive Officer of Penk Valley Academy Trust.

Phil began his career in secondary teaching in Bristol and 20 years ago relocated to Staffordshire to work for the Learning and Skills Council on the development of 14-19 education and training. This gave him the opportunity to meet every secondary school headteacher, every Further Education College Principal and most private training providers on a regular basis.  It gave a unique insight into how the wider local education system operated. It also demonstrated the value of working together to create education pathways for all rather than competing in isolation.

Phil began his Penk Valley journey two years later when he was appointed first Deputy Headteacher and then a year later as Headteacher of Wolgarston High School, Penkridge.  During this period, the school improved to become one of the highest performing schools in Staffordshire and in the top quintile for progress nationally. The sixth form was one of only a few to be rated as outstanding. In 2014 Phil committed Wolgarston High School to becoming a Visible Learning school.  Drawing on the extensive research of Professor John Hattie, Visible Learning provided the framework for developing expertise in teaching, learning and assessment.  Wolgarston is now one of the most highly-commended Visible Learning schools in the UK.

Phil was integral in ensuring that Wolgarston, as part of a pyramid of schools that together provide the education journey for children in the local area, worked closely with all eight First Schools and both Middle Schools. All schools came together formally as a Collaboration, ensuring that they worked together to develop and improve the learning journey for all. 

As the national academy programme gathered pace nationally, Phil led Wolgarston to join with three other Collaboration schools in forming a Federation in 2016 – bringing the four schools under one governing body.  Phil was appointed to the role of Principal of Penk Valley Federation of School. A year later another Collaboration school joined the Federation and, under Phil’s leadership, the five schools worked together to form a Multi Academy Trust.

Penk Valley Academy Trust came into being in April 2018, the newly formed Trust Board appointing Phil to a dual role of Chief Executive Officer and Headteacher of Wolgarston High School. In 2019 another former Collaboration First School joined the Trust alongside local Free School, The Rural Enterprise Academy.

As a locally rooted Trust, it covers the full age range from nursery to sixth form and includes both church and non-church schools with a strong commitment to keeping schools open in small, rural communities. Phil in his role as the senior leader of the Trust, has developed a strong shared sense of purpose, with the seven Headteachers meeting weekly with the Trust’s executive team to develop and share practice and discuss policy and procedures.

The fundamental purpose of Penk Valley Academy Trust is to educate children and young people and is committed to following an evidence-based approach to the development of its teaching.  Following the success of Visible Learning at Wolgarston, Phil has spearheaded Penk Valley Academy Trust in becoming a Visible Learning trust where all seven schools are committed to developing and training their staff in this evidence-based approach.

More recently Phil has led Penk Valley Academy Trust to join forces with two other local education providers, the Codsall High Federation and the Endeavour Multi Academy Trust, to form Staffordshire Education and Research Alliance (SERA).  In addition to delivering training for Newly Qualified Teachers, teachers and leaders, SERA is now providing initial Teacher Training to ensure that Penk Valley Academy Trust can grow its own talent.

Now, after a lifetime in education, Phil is looking forward to retiring this summer.  This opens up a brilliant opportunity for someone new to take over the reins and lead this strong and successful trust into the next phase of its journey.

Chair of Trustees of Penk Valley Academy Trust, Mark Roberts, said “Phil has been a driving force for the development of a broad age 2 to 19 approach to education in South Staffordshire for a number of years. This culminated in the creation of both PVAT and SERA. As a Trust we will miss his passion, drive and dedication and wish him a relaxing and enjoyable retirement with his family and friends.  We are looking forward to the next stage of our development and identifying a new CEO who will continue to shape the future education of all our young people.”