Northern Education Trust

Outcomes Focused, Child Centred

A Fond Farewell to One of Sunderland's Best Known School Leaders

24th Jul 2017

A Fond Farewell to One of Sunderland's Best Known School Leaders

Colleagues, pupils and parents are preparing to bid farewell to a much respected, familiar face at Red House Academy in Sunderland this week, when principal, Dr Therese Quincey, works her last day at the school before heading off to a well-earned retirement.

With a teaching career spanning some 40 years, after teaching in Newcastle from 1977, she joined the former Hylton Red House School, a comprehensive secondary school for students aged 11-16, as deputy head in 2001.

Four years later Dr Quincey was appointed as the headteacher taking the school out of special measures and has tirelessly worked to raise standards, leading the school through years of change within the education sector yet always remaining focused on her goal of providing the very highest standards of education to enable every student to fulfil their potential.

July 2009 saw the school converting to an academy with sponsorship by local technology, software, media and communications giant, the Leighton Group. When the old school closed in preparation for the transition of its staff and students to the newly built Red House Academy, this purpose-built school marked the beginning of a new era for Dr Quincey and her staff and governors with state of the art buildings that not only fostered community aspiration but importantly, encouraged students to dream bigger dreams.

The Academy has had several external validations of Leadership consistencies acknowledging strength of leadership, for example 'inspirational leadership by the Principal drives staff to continually improve their performance for the benefit of all students. Leaders and governors provide strong support for the Principal's vision. They are determined in their ambition for the academy to become outstanding."

The school has continued to see many changes under Dr Quincey's leadership, not least, the decision to hand over sponsorship to the Northern Education Trust (NET) in October 2014 because of its reputation as an education organisation that is solely focused on improving the life chances of children and delivering academic excellence.

This new administration led to further improvements in governance at Red House Academy along with continuing professional development for all staff and the opportunity to share best practice with the other 19 schools which form the portfolio of NET schools.

No matter how high Dr Quincey climbed the management ladder over the years, she has always been a teacher first, second and third, relishing her ability to provide strategic leadership in the face of the constant challenges posed by government legislation as well as the community.

David Filmer, senior assistant vice principal, comments: "Therese has been an inspirational principal with a passion for education and pastoral care, placing staff and students at the heart of all she does. She is an outstanding practitioner."

Looking back over her recent career highs, she would place the opportunity to work with parents and students to design the new school building near the top of her list and by instilling a sense of ownership at that stage, this has resulted in a school, which today, some eight years later, is still as pristine as it was the day it opened.

Secondly, is her pride in Red House Academy students and her love of showcasing them and their excellent behaviour whenever opportunity allows. Always amazing ambassadors of the school, Red House Academy students have travelled as far afield as China, Iceland, France, Ghana, Washington DC and New York. When challenged by anyone about any aspect of school life, she will always say; "come in and see the academy at work, where we provide the highest quality support for students. Come and see our good behaviour and the very calm atmosphere we all work in."

Veronica Preston, vice principal, added: "Therese is passionate about educating children - this is her prime motivation - their futures are paramount. Ofsted called her 'inspirational' but she is also human - always kind and supportive to staff and with a great sense of humour."

Over the last three years, Therese has also enjoyed being part of the Northern Education Trust and its exemplary teamwork it provides. She regularly benefits from the Trust's investment in continuing professional development as well as the sustained support and constructive challenge provided by its trustees and executive team when dealing with matters such as Ofsted inspections, the need to quicken the pace of improvement or continuously improve leadership and academic achievements.

NET chief executive, Ian Kershaw, has an abundance of praise for Therese. He adds: " Dr Quincey has set an example as a leader in the Trust. She has set the highest professional standards and all who have worked with her acknowledge her moral purpose, courage and outstanding commitment to the young people in Red House Academy. "