Kings Langley School

In 2011, when I joined the governing body of Kings Langley School – a mixed state school with about 1,300 pupils roughly a mile from where I live in Hertfordshire – it had been a failing school, and this had been turned around by Headteacher Gary Lewis, pictured above. But the buildings, services and infrastructure were in a state of despair. The chairman, who recruited me, had ideas about trying to redevelop parts of it using the private finance initiative PF2.

We started lobbying the Department for Education. We got Michael Gove up to the local Conservative Association when he was Secretary of State for Education, and two of our sixth-formers attended a Conservative Association dinner. Eventually, we got the school onto the list of about 300 that were developed under the programme.

The new school opened in time for the academic year in 2016. And thanks to Headteacher Gary Lewis, who is really the one who’s delivered this amazing new programme, the school has been transformed. There’s a brand new sixth form, which now attracts new students as well as retaining existing pupils, a lot of whom used to leave after year 11. So from being a net loser, the school has become a net gainer. And its Ofsted rating is now good.