Man with a head for business;Profile;Stanley Goodchild

12th February 1999 at 00:00
The privatised Kings' Manor school will now look to 3E's Ltd for its 3Rs. Biddy Passmore profiles Stanley Goodchild, its director

The man behind the successful bid to run the first privatised state school describes himself as a frustrated businessman. And Stanley Goodchild has adopted a businesslike approach to the many roles he has played in education and local government.

A former maths teacher and adviser, Mr Goodchild built up links between schools and business in Wiltshire, Bexley and Berkshire and used business support to help turn round Garth Hill comprehensive in Bracknell.

He is now head of the business arm of the original city technology college, Kingshurst in Birmingham.

Mr Goodchild will need all his management skills to oversee the tricky transformation of Kings' Manor in Guildford from failing school to state-of-the-arts-and-technology college.

However time-consuming his new role as project manager, Mr Goodchild will not need to acquire new lodgings. He and his wife already live in Oxford. His wife, whom he married after a long-standing relationship a year ago, is Valerie Bragg, Kingshurst's principal. And Oxford happens to be half-way between Birmingham and Guildford.

Stanley Goodchild, 55, was educated at Bournemouth Grammar School. He opted for teaching after boring part-time jobs had turned him off business, and trained at King Alfred's College in Winchester.

His rapid promotion was not enough for a man who obviously likes running things. He started applying for headships at the tender age of 27 and couldn't understand why his applications were turned down, until a kindly soul suggested he needed to acquire more years.

So he became a county adviser in Wiltshire, moving in 1978 to the London borough of Bexley, first as chief inspector and then as chief education officer for schools. He reorganised the schools department, finally completed his Open University honours degree in maths and management (an upper second) and was ready for the next challenge.

Which turned out to be the headship of Garth Hill in Bracknell, a school in such dire straits that Berkshire was proposing to close it.

Stanley Goodchild consulted the parents and gave them what they wanted, which was discipline and uniform. Bracknell being in England's silicon valley, it made sense to concentrate on information and communications technology.

Mr Goodchild managed to attract more than pound;4 million in sponsorship from local industry, brought in innovations ranging from a hi-tech library to early-morning breakfast for pupils.

By the time he left in 1989, he had turned it from a school that couldn't get pupils to one attracting three per place.

It was Garth Hill, he says, that was a model for the Conservatives' CTC programme and Mr Goodchild was a founder member of the CTC Trust.

After that, Mr Goodchild ran Berkshire's education service for four years. He promoted local management, putting into practice the idea of running schools like businesses.

There followed two stress-filled years as chief executive, masterminding the break-up of a county with a pound;600m budget and 18,000 staff into six bite-sized pieces.

He became managing director of 3E's, Kingshurst's enterprise arm, last August, and then spotted the opportunity offered by Surrey at Kings' Manor.

"He is an extremely good salesman," according to a former CEO colleague. But not everyone in Berkshire was a fan. "He did turn Garth Hill round, but infuriated and upset many of his secondary school colleagues.

"I hope he's not going to try and run Kings' Manor - I hope he'll leave it to the headteacher."

Mr Goodchild's team is not going into Kings' Manor with a detailed blueprint.

"I believe it'll only work if it's owned by the community," he says. Parents have already given a strong lead that they want an extended day: the rest is open to discussion.

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