New trust pledges to turn round troubled Sunderland school

Phil Marshall (back left) and Rachel Donohue pictured with Academy 360 pupils Stephen Ellwood, Warren Hodgson and Brooke Hodgson.
Phil Marshall (back left) and Rachel Donohue pictured with Academy 360 pupils Stephen Ellwood, Warren Hodgson and Brooke Hodgson.
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A new broom is promising to sweep clean at a Sunderland school.

The Laidlaw Schools Trust has now officially taken over the running of Academy 360 and says an ‘exciting new era’ has dawned.

Academy 360

Academy 360

The Pennywell school has faced some difficult times since becoming the city’s first all-age academy, catering for 800 pupils aged from nursery to 16, in 2008.

There have been several leaders at the school, which was rated as requiring improvement in 2014 and then as inadequate in May this year.

However, there was some good news for the academy this summer when it celebrated the number of pupils gaining five or more A*-C grade passes at GCSE rising from 16% to 32%.

Now, the Laidlaw Schools Trust has taken over from housing company, Gentoo, as the sponsors of the academy and plans to build on this improvement.

I want Academy 360 to make the community proud

Rachel Donohue

Phil Marshall, LST Director of Education, is the former headteacher of both Sandhill View Academy and Monkwearmouth Academy.

She said: “The Laidlaw Schools Trust will share with Academy 360 the expertise and success it has achieved with its existing academies.

“It’s an exciting partnership for us and we are looking forward to building upon the rapid progress the secondary school is making and to support the development of its highly respected primary school.

“The new partnership will improve teaching and learning opportunities for pupils and enhance training and development of staff and resources available to them.”

Rachel Donohue, Academy 360 secondary school principal, said: “I want Academy 360 to make the community proud.

“We are at the beginning of our exciting journey and we are building a culture of high expectation, based on effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching and learning and celebrating our pupils’ achievements.

“We have made significant progress in the past year, and we are looking forward to building on the success of the Laidlaw Schools Trust. Academy 360 is joining a trust with a proven track record of academic success and of strengthening partnerships with the wider school community.”

Keeley Wood, the primary school principal, said: “I am looking forward to working with LST and sharing experience and expertise within the trust.

“In partnership with LST, we will further develop the many benefits of all-through provision by building on the success of our primary school.”

Academy 360 will still have its own local governing body as well as representation on LST’s board of directors.