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Small Heath School


Members of the Interim Executive Board

Rob Elkington (Chairman of the IEB)

Rob shapes and leads Arts Connect’s programme of work. Reporting to Arts Connect’s board and funders, he is responsible for the overall effectiveness and impact of the organisation. Rob builds connections across the arts and education sectors in the region and acts as an advocate for cultural education for children and young people. He ensures that Arts Connect’s work makes a genuine difference for young people, provoking change and improvement to arts provision.
Rob’s career started at The Play House, a drama and theatre company for young people based in Birmingham, where he rose to Executive Director. He was Director of Creative Partnerships in Birmingham from 2004 to 2008, leaving to undertake a Clore Fellowship where he was Learning Fellow. Before joining Arts Connect he was Head of Education Partnerships at the Royal Shakespeare Company, responsible for leading meaningful partnership programmes with schools, theatres and universities across the country and beyond.
He is also a Director of the Victoria Park Academy Trust, a Trustee of the Children’s University and Chair of Stan’s Cafe.
Rob’s motivation throughout his career has been a strong belief in every child’s right to the arts and the opportunities it gives children and young people to create and learn, to understand themselves and the world they live in and simply to enjoy themselves. Outside the office, Rob tries to see as many exhibitions and performances as he can.

Christine Owen OBE

I taught for 40 years in Birmingham, in four different schools, the last twenty as Headteacher at Bartley Green School. All the schools have been in challenging contexts and all did improve as the result of the hard work and commitment of all the staff in the school. A positive culture and ethos in a
school has always been a high priority for me. Bartley Green School was recognised by Ofsted as one of the “Twelve outstanding secondary schools: Excelling against the odds” in 2009. In the same year, I was asked by the National College of Teaching and Learning to apply for the position of National Leader of Education and as a result have played a key role in the city in terms of supporting schools in need of improvement, including acting informally, in the capacity of Executive Head of a local primary school and in developing a strategic school improvement group for the city. Bartley Green School was selected as one of the first hundred Teaching Schools in the country in 2011 as a result of its history of freely sharing good practice and supporting fellow professionals in other schools. Since I retired last year, I have continued NLE work in supporting schools in an Ofsted category and as a member of BEP’s Commissioning Group for the city. I was previously an IEB member at Saltley School.

John Orchard