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The inspirational head who turned a inner-city school in Gorton into one of the most successful in the country

Neville Lewis Beischer has taken Wright Robinson College on one hell of a journey.
Neville Lewis Beischer

Meet the incredible man who turned around a ‘run-down’ inner city school in Gorton into an Ofsted ‘outstanding college’.

Neville Lewis Beischer, who has dedicated over 33 years of his life to Wright Robinson College, was recently awarded an MBE for services to Education.

This joins a long list of previous awards he has scooped for helping to transform the fortunes of an inner-city school in Gorton, one of the poorest areas in the country.

The school now ranks as one of the largest and most successful secondary schools in the country.

Neville Lewis Beischer

Neville Beischer

‘”When I first arrived at Wright Robinson College, it was pretty run-down. My first steps were to increase student numbers and improve standards, particularly around uniform, behaviour, and attendance,” he said.

At that time, attendance was about 88%, a figure he was determined to improve.

Neville’s approach was hands-on and direct. He described his leadership style as ‘unabashedly driven, determined, and hands-on,’ a philosophy that has paid off.

Through his leadership, the college experienced a dramatic increase in student intake and subsequent improvements in funding and facilities.

An incredible £38m development at Wright Robinson College

A significant milestone in the college’s development was the new building opened in 2007, costing about £38 million.

“At that time, it was the most expensive school building built in Europe,’ he stated proudly.

The new facilities included state-of-the-art sports facilities, contributing to Wright Robinson’s reputation as a top sports college.

“We were a sports college before that, but with the new sports facilities, we now have four brand-new football pitches and about 14 tennis courts. Things went up a gear – it’s a great place to go to school if you love sports.”

Creating the right culture

Beyond physical improvements, Neville said his greatest achievement lies in the culture he created at Wright Robinson.

“It’s about creating a team environment where everyone – pupils, teachers, parents, and staff – feels part of something bigger. If you don’t manage the culture of the school, the culture of the school will manage you.”

This ethos has been a cornerstone of the school’s success, with students and staff alike buying into the vision.

This is reflected in the impressive results and academic achievements coming out of the school.

Wright Robinson College’s progress scores under Neville Beischer

The college’s progress score last year was 0.56, placing it in the top 20% of schools nationally.

Every student on average scores half a grade above the national average across every subject.

The school’s ethos of high aspirations is particularly meaningful given the socio-economic challenges faced by many of its students.

“We serve four of the poorest wards in the country,” Neville notes.

Improving attendance at Wright Robinson College

However, this has not deterred the school’s commitment to excellence.

“Attendance is probably the biggest indicator of how successful a school is,” he said.

“If children like the school and feel valued, they’ll feel inspired and committed to what we’re trying to achieve here.”

Engaging the community has been another key aspect of Neville’s strategy.

He said: “When I arrived at Wright Robinson, the intake of parents at evening meetings was very low.

“I made an effort to get out into the community, visit primary schools, and meet with parents.”

This proactive approach has fostered a strong connection between the school and the local community, further enhancing its appeal.

How did he get into teaching?

Neville’s journey into education was somewhat serendipitous.

“I initially wanted to be a marine biologist,” he revealed.

After failing to get the necessary grades at A-level, he spent a year teaching at a local preparatory school.

“I enjoyed it, and that experience inspired me to pursue a career in teaching.”

Reflecting on his career, he highlights the influence of his background. “I was born in Camberwell, South London, and went to school in Croydon.

“Seeing many of my peers not achieve their potential instilled in me the will to try and do better. I wanted to help create an environment where people can make the most of themselves.”

This personal drive is evident in his professional achievements and the lasting impact he has had on Wright Robinson College.

One of the earliest challenges at Wright Robinson was instilling discipline and respect.

“When I first visited the school, the students were shouting things out during a performance of Bugsy Malone,” he recalls.

“I threw several of them out and set my reputation immediately. I couldn’t believe this kind of thing was being tolerated.”

Neville’s commitment to creating opportunities for all students is a recurring theme in his story.

“We try to get every child involved in some sort of social, creative, performing arts, or sporting activity,” he said.

“If you feel valued in a school, then you’ll come to the school and buy into it.”

An inclusive approach

This inclusive approach has been instrumental in the school’s success.

The numbers tell a compelling story. Wright Robinson receives over a thousand applications each year for just 360 places, and there is currently a waiting list of nearly 300 students.

“There isn’t another school in Greater Manchester with so many people on a waiting list. Even the grammar schools can’t match us,” he stated with pride.

Looking back on his career, he is most proud of the culture he has built at Wright Robinson.

“The Children here believe in themselves”

“The children here believe in themselves,’ he says. ‘Our examination results are incredible because we have created a culture of self-belief and high aspiration.”

Neville hopes that his legacy will be the enduring culture of success and self-belief he has instilled in the school.

“Every head teacher’s dream is to leave a legacy. At Wright Robinson, we’ve achieved that. The school is in a fantastic place, and I’m confident it will continue to thrive long after I’m gone.”

In the words of one of the school’s staff members, “Our progress score last year was 0.56, which means that every student, on average, scores half a grade above the national average across every subject. This puts us in the top 20% of schools nationally.”

Neville Beischer’s story is one of passion, determination, and making a difference.

His contributions to Wright Robinson College will not be forgotten in a hurry.

As he prepares to pass the torch to the next generation of educational leaders, his legacy will undoubtedly continue to inspire.

You can find out more about Wright Robinson College by clicking here

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