Wolverhampton's new Director of Education wants schools standards in the city to be the best in the Black Country – if not the West Midlands. Julien Kramer says he is determined to continue the good work to drive up education attainment levels in Wolverhampton, and further increase the number of local schools rated either good or outstanding by Ofsted.
Julien, who has held senior posts in education departments across the country, most recently with Portsmouth City Council, has taken over the role of Director of Education from James McElligott, who stepped down in the summer because of ill health.
The father-of-five said: "I am passionate about improving education and the well-being of, and life outcomes for, children in Wolverhampton and I want to build on the excellent work overseen by Dr James McElligott.
"I’m very ambitious for our city and for our children; I want educational attainment in our city to be the best in the Black Country, if not the West Midlands – and for Wolverhampton to be one of the top performing areas nationally on a regular basis.
“This means that we want our children to succeed in life; to go to college and university, to get good jobs and to achieve.
"We've already got much to celebrate – we saw better outcomes for children at Early Years Foundation Stage, in Phonics and at Key Stages 1 and 2 once again this year, while our 16-year-olds recorded improved GCSE results. The news is even better at post-16, where results have improved for seven years running.
"The number of good or outstanding schools in Wolverhampton has risen from 56% to 76% in just two years, and I see no reason why we cannot continue this rapid improvement over the coming months.
“Parents want every school in Wolverhampton to be a good school. I agree with them, and we are determined to deliver.
“Furthermore, the council has recently completed the £270m Building Schools for the Future programme, which has seen our secondary schools transformed, providing modern learning environments our young people can be proud of.
“So we have strong foundations to build upon, and I’m looking forward to working closely with the excellent leadership teams we have in our local schools, and the council’s School Standards Team, so that we can achieve wonderful outcomes for all our children.”
He said the council would continue to support and challenge schools where necessary. He said: “It is my role to support schools to do well, and by the same token I will not hesitate to challenge poor performance where required.
“We've seen the important work which is being carried out by the Interim Executive Boards (IEBs) we have installed to raise standards in struggling schools, and I won’t hesitate to establish more IEBs where necessary.
"IEBs have an important role to play, and what is particularly notable in Wolverhampton is that the council's Managing Director Keith Ireland, who chairs two IEBS and a governing body, is so heavily engaged in supporting school recovery. It sets a great example and shows how seriously the City of Wolverhampton Council takes the issue of raising school standards.
"I’m confident we can continue to make excellent progress – students in Portsmouth achieved their best ever results while I was Assistant Director of Education there, and I am determined to repeat that performance here in Wolverhampton.
“Ultimately I have a very simple test for Wolverhampton's schools – would I be happy to send my children there? I want to get to the stage where I can honestly answer yes for each and every one of our schools."
Councillor Claire Darke, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “I’d like to welcome Julien Kramer to Wolverhampton and am looking forward to working closely with him as the council continues to drive up performance within our city’s schools.”