Northern Education Trust

Working to fulfil the potential of young people

A Fresh Chapter for The Grangefield Academy

25th May 2016

A Fresh Chapter for The Grangefield Academy

Nikki Gibb with head boy Euan Lodge and head girl, Ellie Carter outside the new Grangefield Academy building.

As the summer term gets underway, The Grangefield Academy?s new principal, Nikki Gibb, is able to look forward to a much brighter future in her impressive new school building, which opened its doors to students for the first time as they returned from the Easter break.

The purpose-designed, three storey building, which has been funded by the Education Funding Agency through the Priority Schools Building Programme, can accommodate 1050 students and has been under construction on the site of the former Grangefield Academy since October 2014.

Specifically designed to meet the needs of human scale education ? sometimes known as the ?schools within school? model - the thinking behind this type of teaching is to develop small learning communities within large schools so that each year group can remain in a dedicated area for most of their time in secondary education, with their own set of teachers. Students are only required to leave their school to attend lessons in PE, technology, music, art and drama. All other lessons are delivered by a team of teachers working with the head of school.

At The Grangefield Academy, this has led to its five year groups being given aspirational names like Discovery, Ignite, Innovation, Pioneer and Revolution. Each school also has its own colour scheme with coloured accent walls as well as its own front door and staircase.

The accommodation comprises seven science labs, four specialist IT studios, two resistant materials labs, two food technology labs, a textile lab, a graphics studio, two art and design rooms, a music suite, a drama suite, a sports hall, an activity studio and a main hall with bleacher seating for more than 200 students.

Although newly appointed to the post of principal, Ms Gibb is no stranger to The Grangefield Academy, gaining promotion to the post from her former role as head of academy. Passionate about capitalising on the impact these new surroundings are already beginning to make on both students and staff, Ms Gibb is determined to continuously drive up standards at the academy, which had its best ever set of GCSE results last year. She said:

?I have a fantastic team here now. The original school built on the adjacent site was a grammar school and it used to have a very good reputation. I am committed to restoring that tradition of achievement and want to see every Grangefield Academy student with high aspirations. We are on a journey of significant improvement.

?We have the highest number of new year seven students entering the school for many years in September and I expect this to continue improving, year on year, as we leave a more challenging period behind us. Our GCSE results have improved steadily over the last few years and this year we hope to improve further. We are on a journey to becoming an outstanding school.

?The ?schools within school? model is a great differentiator for us. It allows academic progress to be more easily evaluated and any information gaps identified and addressed with tailor made academic or welfare support. Teachers maximise their quality of engagement and quantity of time spent with the students, by remaining standing throughout every lesson.

?It is very definitely the start of a new and exciting chapter, both for me and The Grangefield Academy.?

Ian Kershaw, chief executive of the Northern Education Trust, added:

?It is a pleasure to walk around this new building. Students now have the very best environment for learning with this purpose-designed academy and its marvellous facilities.

?With the appointment of Nikki Gibb to the post of principal, students are in a most capable pair of hands and we will offer the utmost support to assist Nikki in fulfilling her ambitious plans for continuous improvement.?

The Northern Education Trust is the north?s largest multi academy trust and sponsors five academies in Stockton including Grangefield, plus a further 15 throughout the north east and north west of England.