A HEADTEACHER is predicting a bright future for a struggling Wearside school.
Since taking over at Southmoor Academy eight years ago, Dr Phil Ingam has turned it into one of Sunderland’s success stories.
Now, the principal is planning to do the same with Sandhill View School, in Grindon Lane.
Twelve months ago, the school was rated inadequate by Ofsted inspectors because of serious weaknesses.
It forged a partnership with nearby Southmoor Academy, with a view to becoming an academy itself, and Ofsted inspectors have been impressed with the improvements.
Dr Ingram said he has already made a number of changes, including new members of the management team and up to 20 new teachers.
But he stressed a lot more is planned to completely transform the fortunes of the school, particularly once the academy status becomes official.
Dr Ingram has already introduced a number of new lunchtime activities and clubs, including movie time in the theatre, complete with an industrial sized popcorn machine.
The school will be getting a makeover to create a new warmer, welcoming look and the older children will get their own cafe-style area.
Another change will be the school uniform, out will go hoodies and sweatshirts, to be replaced by traditional blazers and ties.
Dr Ingram said: “It will show the high standards and expectations that we have at Sandhill View. This school has enormous potential. It already has fantastic facilities and the kids are great.
“It just needs a lot more rigour. We will be setting very high standards, we won’t lower the bar.
“There are going to be significant rises in achievement. I am feeling very bullish about the future.”
Dr Ingram said a lot of emphasis will be placed on the teaching of strong subjects, such as languages, history and geography, and students and teachers will know exactly what is expected of them.
He said the school already has a new energy about it and there has been a very positive response so far to the changes by both staff and students.
The headteacher said: “The number one priority is results, along with behaviour and good attitudes. But, we want out kids to enjoy coming to school.
“The main aim is to work hard and play hard as well. We want the students to go home tired.”