The purpose of the visit was to also gain an insight into how British schools tackle the challenges involved with teaching pupils from a wide range of backgrounds - including pupils with English as an Additional Language (EAL) or Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
Rockwood Academy, run by CORE Education Trust and rated ‘good’ by Ofsted in April 2016, has almost 600 pupils who are largely from a Pakistani heritage. The school has an above average number of pupils with EAL or SEND. It also has an above average number of students entitled to pupil premium, which is additional funding provided by the government for pupils known to be eligible for free school meals and children looked after in public care.
“We were very impressed by Rockwood Academy, particularly by its pursuit for excellence and its high expectations and aspirations for its pupils and teachers alike,” said Žydronė Žukauskaitė, director of Education at the Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science. “The school’s approach to leadership, which sees its principal delegating and entrusting his deputies to share, spread and implement his vision is certainly a style I think we could emulate in Lithuania.”
CORE Education Trust was established in March 2015 and sponsors Nansen Primary School and Rockwood Academy in Alum Rock, Birmingham. The organisation prides itself on its innovative and pioneering partnerships with high-profile external organisations in the arts, culture and sports industries. The Trust, also based in Alum Rock, is led by CEO Adrian Packer, with Bob Wiggins as chair of the board of directors.
Adrian Packer, CEO of CORE Education Trust, said: “Rockwood Academy has been on an epic journey that has seen it achieve an incredible and rapid turnaround in a very short period of time. Much of its success is thanks to principal Fuzel Choudhury and the team he has developed since he arrived in September 2015.
“We are very proud of Rockwood Academy and it is a joy to be able to open our doors to international visitors to share our success story and to influence teaching models across the world.”
Mr Choudhury added: “It was an absolute delight to be able to welcome the delegation from Lithuania to see our school and share the work we do to create the best opportunities for each and every one of our pupils. I think our biggest strength is that we put our children first, and we do not operate a one curriculum fits all attitude.
“I hope the head teachers from Lithuania were inspired by what they saw here, and we can form a small part of their future as they also drive their schools on to successful futures.”