Page 12 of 22
Hummersknott Academy is a successful, thriving and consistently oversubscribed academy in Darlington that converted to academy status in July 2011. I am proud to report that 78.5 per cent of our pupils achieved five good GCSEs including English and maths in 2012, our best ever results, up from 62 per cent in 2010.
We decided to convert because we had already taken a number of the services previously provided by our local authority in house, and it felt like a natural step to take complete control of our own destiny. We have not looked back since becoming an academy. It is fantastic to feel that providing the best possible education for our pupils is now solely in our hands.
We have been able to use our financial freedom to increase investment in our school buildings, provide a wider range of staff development and training opportunities, upgrade ICT equipment and expand our foreign school exchanges to Africa, Russia, Italy, France and China.
Having started as a single academy, we are now moving to a multi academy model. We are in the process of sponsoring Skerne Park Primary School, a local primary school situated in a very deprived area. Skerne Park Academy is due to open in February 2013.
The work that we’ve already done with Skerne Park has already seen them improve from below floor target to above floor target and achieve their best ever key stage 2 results. This is not only great news for the school, but it also means that pupils from Skerne Park will then join Hummersknott at a higher starting point.
As an academy sponsor, we have been able to take responsibility for matters relating to such areas as finance and premises, allowing the headteacher at Skerne Park to focus solely on teaching and learning. In future we plan to share expertise in areas such as teaching reading, literacy and SEN, enabling staff to learn from each other using the strengths that exist in each to raise standards.
Over the last two years we have used our freedom from local authority control to develop a greater emphasis on community engagement. We have a whole host of leisure and learning activities taking place and we run the Duke of Edinburgh scheme on behalf of the whole town. All of the things that enrich our curriculum also benefit the local community and we want to use those experiences to develop a similar range of community opportunities at Skerne Park as well.
We continue to treasure the values we had before we converted, but we are building on those values as an academy, and using our freedoms in the best interests of our pupils and our community.
Pat Howarth, Headteacher
Page 12 of 22