Ex Headteacher Appointed to Deliver £60million Primary School Regeneration in North Solihull

(26th May 2006)

Paul Hanbury has been appointed to head up the delivery programme for a series of new primary schools as part of the £1.8bn Regenerating North Solihull programme.

Mr Hanbury has enjoyed a successful 24 year teaching career, which included three posts as headteacher for primary schools in challenging neighbourhoods. However, since 1998, he has worked at the Department for Education & Skills in Westminster, pioneering the conception of Education Action Zones, before relocating to Cornwall to lead one of the UK's largest Excellence Clusters.

Having relocated back to his birthplace of the Midlands, Mr Hanbury has taken up the new position as Director of North Solihull Primary School Regeneration. The 53 year old will be taking an instrumental role in the public/private sector development consortium for the ambitious 15 year community-led project. The four-strong partnership comprises housebuilder Bellway Homes, investment-led regeneration company Inpartnership, Solihull Council and Registered Social Landlord Whitefriars Housing Group.

Paul Hanbury commented: "Since concluding my teaching career eight years ago, I have been fortunate to work at the forefront of Government-led educational investment programmes, which have successfully raised the aspirations and achievements of both primary-aged children and entire communities.

"Before regeneration work has commenced in North Solihull, it is enlightening that feedback from a cross section of the 40,000 residents has shown that this community believes transforming education provision is more critical to improving lives than the key parallel aim of modernising the area's dilapidated 1960s housing stock.

"By working closely with parents, teachers and children, as well as the wider community, we have a once in a generation opportunity to create a series of new primary school buildings that will be the catalyst to turning round the fortunes of North Solihull. This is the first project of its kind to undertake the redevelopment of each existing primary school within such a concentrated community. We have committed £60m to build the new schools, which will enable each resident within the 1,000 acre area to be within 0.5 miles of a state of the art primary school." 

Paul Hanbury was hailed as a trailblazer in the early 1980's when as headteacher, he transformed a traditional primary school into a community school in a mining community near Chesterfieldin Derbyshire, as a direct result of the aftermath of the miners strikes.  In his second post as headteacher in Eckington, near Sheffield, Mr Hanbury supported an early model of a 'collaborative cluster' employing a community teacher across seven primary schools to help families improve children's learning.

At his third primary school headship in one of the most deprived communities in Stoke on Trent, Mr Hanbury pioneered the conception of a Children Centre to provide 'wrap around care' 12 years before they were later introduced into a number of mainstream schools. He also wrote and delivered a project aimed at increasing the involvement of families and lifelong learning into primary schools.

Mr Hanbury has been tasked with delivering the first of the new primary schools for the 07/08 academic year. Kingshurst School, located in the ward of Kingshurst & Fordbridge, has been named as the pilot primary school project, and a project team has been appointed to work up the design and construction plans.

Each of the new primary schools in North Solihull will provide extended facilities to support local families. Each building, which will cost approximately £6million a piece, will act as an all-encompassing community facility incorporating a nursery, an extensive ICT resource that can be accessed by parents and the local community, as well as having a comprehensive extended school programme. Each new primary school will accommodate approximately 420 infants and juniors.

Alongside the new primary schools that are being delivered as part of the 15 year Regenerating North Solihull project, 12,500 existing homes are being improved, 8,000 new homes will be built and five new village centres will be created at a cost of £100m, incorporating enhanced local healthcare provision and additional community facilities. North Solihull's area-changing programme has been brought about because its three wards of Chelmsley Wood, Smith's Wood and Kingshurst & Fordbridge fall within the UK's top 10 per cent of deprived neighbourhoods.

As part of his wide remit, Paul Hanbury will also be coordinating the £60m primary school investment with the Building Schools for the Future project, for which North Solihull is privileged to be in receipt of £84m of first wave funding.


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