SEPTEMBER will see the dawn of a new era at a city primary school.
The new term will see a new school, Northern Saints CoE Voluntary Aided School, open its doors to pupils for the first time.
The school is the result of a merger between Hylton Red House and Bishop Harland CoE primaries, which has been agreed by Sunderland City Council’s School Organisation Committee.
About 140 pupils from Bishop Harland will join about 350 pupils from Hylton Red House to form the new school which will open on the existing Hylton Red House site in Rotherham Road.
Though the schools were running effectively, they both had a surplus of places. Together, the schools were 164 places down on their maximum capacity, which is a surplus of 25 per cent.
Steve Williamson, who has been headteacher at both schools since 2010, said: “I’m absolutely delighted for staff, pupils and parents. I’m particularly pleased that we are going to be able to build upon the good work that’s already begun.”
Though Northern Saints will open at an existing school, the pupils will have a new uniform and about £330,200 is expected to be spent on revamping the building.
Mr Williamson said: “The children already work closely together on visits and projects. I’m sure they will be happy together and to meet new friends. We will be working very closely with parents and pupils to plan for September. There will be challenges for some as some pupils will be moving from a small school to a big school.”
A separate consultation will now begin to look at staffing at the school.
.The existing schools have been operating as a soft federation, which involves a close working relationship between teaching staff and governors, since 2010.
Mr Williamson added: “By sharing our skills, knowledge and resources we have made two struggling schools extremely successful.
“I am thrilled to have been appointed as the headteacher designate for the new school and will ensure that at Northern Saints our children continue to flourish”.
Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, Coun Pat Smith said: “Working together we have identified a solution which will sustain the high levels of education provision in this part of the city.
“We listened to what parents, teachers and local residents wanted and by combining the two current schools in the existing Hylton Red House Primary School buildings we have been able to make best use of resources and facilities within the community, and will safeguard the future learning opportunities for children and families previously provided separately by the two schools.”
Jeremy Fitt, Diocesan Director of Education said: “The new school will ensure that the significant improvement in the provision of education in this part of Sunderland continues.”