Northern Education Trust is delighted to announce that Rob Tarn, chief executive officer of Northern Education Trust (NET) has been made Commander of the order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2023 New Year Honours List for his services to education.
Rob took up his first headship in 2009 and led a number of schools from special measures to good or outstanding. In September 2017, he was appointed as chief executive of Northern Education Trust. At that time, many of the schools sponsored by the trust had never been judged good in their history, proving notoriously difficult to lead, and situated in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the north of England. Since Rob’s appointment, with the support of trustees, the trust has undertaken a radical transformation, the scale of which should not be underestimated.
With the resilience and strong desire to lead the trust to make rapid and sustained improvements, Rob devised and implemented the unique NORTHERN model of school improvement which has led to unprecedented improvements in student outcomes. NET academies are now high performing, and in 2022, the percentage of students who achieved strong passes in English and maths at grade 5+ was 54%, compared with 50% nationally. Standard passes at grade 4+ was 72%, compared with 69% nationally. Set against the background of the pandemic, and the fact that many of the trust’s academies are located in areas of high deprivation, with 48% of secondary students eligible for free school meals, this is an exceptional achievement.
Attainment in NET primary academies has also increased in all areas. In 2022, in the combined measure of reading, writing and maths, a magnificent 71% of students achieved the expected standard or above, 12 percentage points higher than the national average. Reading results are 80% (compared against the national measure of 74%); writing is 78% (compared against the national measure of 69%); and maths is 79% (compared against the national average of 71%). In addition, within five years of Rob’s appointment, 19 inspected academies are now judged as good or outstanding, including North Shore Academy in Stockton which rose from requires improvement straight to outstanding in all areas in 2021, and Dyke House Academy in Hartlepool which was judged outstanding in all areas in 2022. Rob’s leadership has had a significant impact on the lives of thousands of students and their families.
On achieving the accolade, Rob said:
‘I cannot describe how I felt when I received the letter notifying me of this prestigious award, which I accept with immense gratitude on behalf of our dedicated staff and the 15,000 children and young people the trust now serves. Every day, I feel humbled to observe our students overcome significant personal challenges and barriers to learning in some of the most disadvantaged communities. They show enormous resilience and determination and I will never become complacent in supporting their development, focusing on their wellbeing whilst enabling them to succeed.
I feel extremely privileged to have been given the opportunity to lead the trust since 2017 and witness the transformation. It is down to the sheer hard work and commitment of our students and staff that together we have been able to achieve our success. Without the support of our parents and carers, governors and trustees, who give their time freely, we would not have been able to succeed in our journey in such a short space of time. I want to thank everyone involved, particularly our staff who work tirelessly to support our students every single day’
Mark Sanders OBE, Chair of Northern Education Trust said:
‘I am extremely proud that Rob has been made a CBE. His passion for improving the life chances of children and young people is palpable. He relishes the opportunity to work in challenging schools in the most difficult of circumstances, rapidly transforming the lives of the most vulnerable children. He acts not only as an educationalist, but as a parent himself, not wanting to let down those children who depend on their teachers and believe in their promises that they can succeed, despite many of them having the biggest mountain to climb in terms of equity and social mobility. He has demonstrated his ability to influence change in some of the most challenging communities in the northern region, and in schools that have historically proved very difficult to lead. On behalf of all trustees, I send our heartfelt congratulations to Rob on this well-deserved award’.