A NEW school is on track to become outstanding within the next four years.
Staff and pupils are celebrating the success of their first academic year at North Huddersfield Trust School, which opened on the site of the former Fartown High School in Woodhouse Hall Road on September 1, 2011.
Kirklees Council announced the closure of Fartown High School in early 2010 following poor levels of attainment and leadership issues.
Although it’s still early days, there is much to be pleased about at the new school, according to executive head teacher Dr Andy Williams. The school’s five-year plan is to be rated as Outstanding by Ofsted by 2016 and it is already ahead of target in some areas.
NHT School is set to welcome a record intake of 100 Year 7 pupils when it re-opens in September, as the buzz about the new school and its positive ethos spreads through the surrounding community. It currently has 370 pupils and 80 staff.
Staff invited two Ofsted inspectors into school earlier this month for an unofficial mini-inspection and were pleased with their findings. They reported that NHT is a very happy school where the pupils feel safe.
According to Mr Williams:
Standards of behavior have shot up and are well ahead of targets
Attendance has improved by around 7% and is now regarded as Good in Ofsted terms
A new culture of PRIDE – Professionalism, Respect, Innovation, Determination and Enrichment is taking root and providing the basis for future improvements
Pupils are proud of the school uniform introduced last year and proud of the school.
Staff are waiting with baited breath for the results of this summer’s exams, but are hoping that gradual academic improvements will follow successes in other areas.
The year has been a series of firsts for the school. It has held its first annual prize giving evening at Huddersfield Town Hall, first sports day at Spenborough sports complex, first trip abroad to Paris, won its first trophy – for go-karting – and a pupil has been selected to represent Kirklees abroad in athletics for the first time.
This month it has also launched the National Centre for Youth Leadership which means that from September, the school will run courses on leadership for pupils and staff initially from West Yorkshire and then further afield. This has been set up with the University of the First Age charity.
Dr Williams said that they want to make young people into doers and leadership is about skills that everybody can develop. Skills which will help young people to support their families and communities and which they can use at work. It is all about aspirations. They often don’t push ourselves that extra 10% in case they fail. Sometimes you have to educate young people that good things happen to those who work hard and aspire and who sometimes take risks. People have noticed the changes within the school, there is a different atmosphere. There is a sense of cohesiveness which has been brought about by huge support from staff, pupils and our trust partners. The improvement would not have been possible without all of them.
NHT already has big plans in place for the next academic year, including much work with the National Centre for Youth Leadership, day and evening classes for adults from the local community and the first students will be heading off on a Duke of Edinburgh award scheme expedition.
Other ambitious plans for the future include introducing the subjects of Mandarin Chinese and business studies and giving hand-held electronic learning devices to new students.
A taekwondo (martial arts) club, dance club and gardening group will also be formed when the new term starts.
Dr Williams added that the school should be exciting young people with a breadth of opportunities and teaching them to love learning. They are expanding young peoples’ horizons. They want to make sure our youngsters are ready for work and ready for life.
He is very, very happy. They set their selves an ambitious five-year plan. They have hit all of their targets at the end of their first year and have much to look forward to next year.”