A SCHOOL has transformed its fortunes and been named one of the best in the country.
Bernard Gilpin Primary School in Hall Lane, Houghton, was struggling in 2011 and was rated as inadequate in an Ofsted report.
But now, the school received a letter from RT Hon David Laws MP, Minister of State Schools, congratulating them on their recent successes.
It has just been rated in the 250 top performing schools in the country in terms of the progress their disadvantaged children make between Key Stage 1 and the end of Key Stage 2 and their attainment at the end of the Key Stage.
Bridget Phillipson, Houghton and Sunderland South MP, visited the school to congratulate them.
The MP said: “The school has made great progress and it is good to come and see the work they have done and witness progress they have made.
“It is always nice to speak to the children about their work and look at what interesting things they have been doing.
“During my previous visit I chaired a debate with the children on a Dementia Friendly Society and saw how informed they were on the issue. I am very pleased that they have now been shortlisted for a National Dementia Award and I wish them every success with it.”
The pupils at Bernard Gilpin also go on many educational trips to support their learning.
Some students from Years Five and Six recently went on a visit to France, Belgium and London as part of their World War I project.
They visited numerous places including Lochnagar Crater and Thiepval Memorial in France and the Menin Gate in Belgium.
The children located a number of names on the memorial of people they had previously found on Houghton’s Cenotaph, and laid down three wreaths in remembrance.
Now the school are going to open a museum to give the community a chance to take a look at what the children have done on their visits.
Headteacher Andrew Bainbridge said: “I want doors open, everyone is welcome, I want the people in the community to know what we are doing and to get involved.”
The school’s work with the Alzheimer’s Society has led them to be shortlisted for the National Dementia Award.
It opened a new facility which hosts a number of dementia-friendly activities, including an integrational choir, music for the brain, which will use music as a form of therapy, a cafe and a rock ‘n’ roll disco.
The headteacher added: “It is nice to be recognised for what we have been doing, everyone has worked really hard.
“We have got to where we are from the efforts of the staff, governors, parents, community and especially the students.”