One of the borough’s longest serving headteachers is to retire this summer after successfully piloting two schools through a major reorganisation.
Jon Sherwin, executive principal of Melton Vale Post 16 Centre and Belvoir High School, played a pivotal role in the shake-up of secondary education in Melton and the Vale of Belvoir.
The changes have seen more than £45m invested in new learning facilities in recent years and have contributed to a marked rise in attainment levels by pupils.
Mr Sherwin (60) was appointed as headteacher of Belvoir High in Bottesford in January 1998 when it was an 10 to 14 school with 317 children on roll.
Under his stewardship the school went on to achieve two outstanding Ofsted reports and is now an 11 to 16 school with 600 pupils. It is ranked the fourth best school in the county for GCSE results based on a three year average.
During the reorganisation Mr Sherwin was also given the task of establishing MV16 as the borough’s new sixth form centre, something he describes as ‘a totally different challenge’ and ‘the icing on the cake’. It has posted excellent A-Level results and is ranked fourth best across Leicester, Leicestershire, Rutland and Lincolnshire in terms of its value added score, a measure of how much progress students make.
Mr Sherwin said: “When I started at Belvoir High 40 per cent of lessons were taught in mobile classrooms so my first campaign was to get a new build. It now has facilities which are fit for purpose and a vocational centre as well.
“The next challenge was to present the case, with the backing of parents and the Vale primary schools, for a change in the age range to County Hall. Changing school at age 10 before Year 6 SAT tests and then again at 14 before GCSEs were real issues which had to be addressed.
“I remember telling that first year group that they would be staying on at Belvoir High and they all stood up and cheered, they were so happy. They now have a strong link to MV16, too, and more than half of them choose to come to Melton to study for their A-Levels despite the distance many of them have to travel.”
Mr Sherwin said his priority when taking the helm at MV16 was to give the former King Edward VII School staff he inherited optimism and confidence in the future.
He said: “They had been through the wringer with the reorganisation but they have been magnificent and MV16 is building an enviable reputation for quality education. I feel it is now time to step aside and let someone else take things forward.”
Mr Sherwin and his wife Lin, a student counsellor, have the weddings of two of their three children to look forward to later this year and plan to visit family in New Zealand. “I plan to take the slow boat back and learn to scuba dive.”