LABOUR PLANNED TO CLOSE IT - CONSERVATIVES SAVED IT
A Northumberland school planned for closure by the previous labour County council and saved by Northumberland Conservatives has received some fantastic feedback in the report of its most recent Ofsted monitoring visit.
Effective leadership, the quality of teaching and pupils attitudes have all been highlighted by the inspectors as areas where the schools is showing great improvement.
Haydon Bridge High School was placed in special measures back in March 2018 but, since that time, the local authority has taken back control of the school, a new Interim Executive Board (IEB) has been put in place and the school has strengthened its management team.
The report says that leaders and managers are taking effective action towards the removal of special measures, that the school’s action plan is fit for purpose and that it may now appoint newly qualified teachers - all key measures that have improved since the last visit.
Lead inspector Darren Stewart said that since the previous monitoring visit the headteacher, the IEB and the senior leadership team have continued with ‘unwavering candour and resolute determination’ to improve standards. He also said that as a result of this the rate of improvement is gathering momentum and standards are improving at a faster pace.
The report goes on to say that senior leader collaboration is bringing about a more strategic approach so that the quality of teaching improves across the school. Middle leaders are reported to be ambitious for the teams they lead, although it was acknowledged that more time is needed to see the full impact of this.
The IEB is acknowledged to be highly skilled and experienced and is holding leaders and staff at all levels to account through regular monitoring.
The quality of teaching is showing clear signs of improvement and well-thought-out, bespoke professional development opportunities were complimented. Pupils who were spoken to as part of the inspection agreed that teaching is improving and that teachers now expect more from them!
Pupils attitudes to learning have continued to improve, and the inspectors found the school to be a calm and orderly place. Pupils reported that bullying is rare and that if it did occur they are confident that it would be dealt with quickly by a member of staff.
Students in the sixth form spoke highly of the opportunities they were given to demonstrate their leadership skills. Behaviour in the school has also improved and evidence shows that there has been a marked reduction in the proportion of pupils excluded from school.
Councillor Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services and deputy leader at Northumberland County Council said: “I am absolutely delighted by this report.
“The hard work and commitment of the IEB, the headteacher and management team, all of the staff at the school and the students is, as the inspectors say, ‘bearing fruit’ and they should all be very proud of their achievements.
“This great report, along with the work that is just about to start on £4.5 million capital investment in buildings and facilities on the site, is putting the school in an excellent position for a very bright future indeed.”
(PIC - Wayne Daley with Head Teacher Darren Glover and Director of Education Dean Jackson)
DALEY ON DAILY MILE
Over 1,000 school children from around the county celebrated The Daily Mile last week by walking to the Northumberland School Games Festival in Cramlington.
The pupils aged between 6-15 years of age walked from a designated drop off point in Cramlington to the festival which was held at the town’s The Learning Village.
The Daily Mile is a national campaign aimed at improving the physical, social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of school children regardless of age, ability or personal circumstances. It is fun, free and easy to do and is being backed by the Cabinet Member for Children's Services, Wayne Daley at Northumberland County Council.
Children at school are encouraged to simply walk, run or jog for fifteen minutes each day. Studies are beginning to show that The Daily Mile improves children’s health, happiness and even school results. They eat and sleep better, they concentrate more in class and they feel happier.
Councillor Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council said:
“It was great that we were able to incorporate The Daily Mile into the festival for the young people and their teachers. In Northumberland we are encouraging a flexible, whole school approach so that the responsibility for physical activity doesn’t just lie with the PE department, or limit activity to the sports hall or playing field. We want to encourage children to walk to school and we want to encourage all teachers to incorporate some form of physical activity into their lessons and their daily classroom routine.
"Raising physical activity and fitness in our young children will undoubtedly help to build stronger and more successful students while instilling in them good habits that they will take into adult life.”
(PIC with Wayne and Veronica on the Daily Mile with students)
SCHOOLS HELP DESIGN A CYCLING JERSEY FOR TOUR OF BRITAIN
School children from across the county are being invited to take part in a competition to create a winning design for a Northumberland themed design cycling jersey.
The competition is part of Northumberland County Council’s celebrations to mark the arrival of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain cycle race which will be coming to the county in September.
A cycling jersey is a specially designed T-shirt which is often made from synthetic material to help keep the cyclist cool. In competitions, designs and colours show which team riders are part of, who is winning a particular competition or race, and even if they are a World Champion!
Northumberland schoolchildren are being invited to come up with their own jersey design. The winning entry will be brought to life when the design is printed, framed and presented to their school.
There are three age categories - reception to year 4, year 5-8 and year 9 onwards - with some fantastic cash prizes. A prize fund of £10,000 will be shared among the winning schools to spend on sporting activities or school trips. The winning designs will also be turned into a real life jersey and presented to schools.
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Wayne Daley said,: “We are encouraging businesses, communities and schools to support the Tour of Britain celebrations. This competition is a great opportunity for local schoolchildren to get creative and get involved. They can design a cycling jersey with any design they wish as long as it has a Northumberland theme and I am sure there will be some colourful entries heading our way soon.”
The closing date for the jersey competition is July 15.
(PIC WAYNE , VERONICA and Ian Hutchinson promoting the Tour of Britain)
NEW USE FOR OLD SITE
Conservative run Northumberland County Council has agreed a £1.2m investment on the former Lindisfarne school site in Alnwick to create a modern Adult Learning Centre and Community Campus.
Before May 2017 the Middle School and Sports Hall had been approved for demolition and were due to be sold for housing. However, there was strong opposition from the local community and when the new administration was formed, officers were asked to shelve the demolition plans and retain the site.
Consultation over the future of the site has continued over the past two years with the local community through the Alnwick Forum - a partnership between the county and town council.
The County Council has already committed to retaining the school playing fields and through the Forum, the Council set up a user group to explore transferring the Sports Hall to the Town Council to run it for the benefit of local clubs and community groups.
Feedback for potential uses for the remainder of the site overwhelmingly favoured creating a Community Campus anchored by the Council’s Learning and Skills Service who are already operating from the site, albeit in poor quality facilities.
Now the plan is that Learning and Skills Service will be based in the annexe buildings which will be fully refurbished, while the existing community organisations will also have the opportunity to move across. This will include the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Alnwick food bank.
The annexe also contains a multi-purpose hall that can be let out on a casual use basis for a variety of local community activities. Work will get underway in November this year and be complete by July 2020.
Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Wayne Daley said: “Providing the best education for everyone is an absolute priority and this is a major investment in our skills service provision.
“The work will see the service have a new home in modern, fit-for-purpose facilities and also give much improved space for the various community groups who use the site. This is a Conservative Council delivering for everyone."