New start for trouble-hit Sunderland school as it eyes ‘secure future’ with new headteacher and new trust

David Dawes - the new Executive Principal of Grindon Hall Christian School.
David Dawes - the new Executive Principal of Grindon Hall Christian School.
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A former controversy-hit Sunderland school is looking forward to a ‘secure future’ with a new executive headteacher and new trust.

As of today, May 1, Grindon Hall Christian School is part of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation.

Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland.

Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland.

Full and final agreement between the Department for Education and the foundation has been confirmed and the school is now a member of the ESF Multi Academy Trust.

Grindon Hall in Nookside was thrown into the spotlight in November 2014 when it was placed in special measures by Ofsted and was told to join the Bright Tribe Trust, which it did in 2017.

However, in February last year, Bright Tribe announced it was relinquishing all but one of its northern schools, including Grindon Hall.

Now the new Wearside school has become ESF’s second ‘all-through’ academy alongside Bede Academy, Blyth, which takes children from age 3-18, and will join Emmanuel College, Gateshead, The King’s Academy, Middlesbrough, Trinity Academy, Doncaster, and Joseph Swan Academy, Gateshead.

We are delighted that the parents and students of Grindon Hall can look forward to a secure future

David Dawes

David Dawes, who is the new Executive Principal of Grindon Hall, said: “This outcome is the culmination of strenuous efforts of colleagues in both organisations, fully supported by the Department for Education, and we are delighted that the parents and students of Grindon Hall can look forward to a secure future.

“Grindon Hall is a perfect fit for ESF, having a Christian ethos, being all-through, centrally located geographically and with enormous potential to benefit from the expertise, specialist resources and capabilities of our locally-based trust.

“We look forward to building this school for generations to come.”

Mr Dawes will work alongside the current interim head, Chris Robinson, and principal designate, Julie Roberts, who will bring a wealth of experience of all-through education when she moves at May half term having served as acting head of secondary years at Bede Academy.

Mark Pike, Chief Executive of ESF, added: “We are now a family of six schools at a time of unprecedented growth for our foundation and we look forward to all members of the new family getting to know one another.

“Welcoming Grindon Hall Christian School to our multi-academy trust soon after Joseph Swan Academy joined us is tremendously exciting and cause for celebration as we have the opportunity to provide more children and young people with high-quality ESF schooling.”

Prof Pike added: “As a Christian-ethos multi-acadmey trust, our vision is to provide schools of character for the communities we serve.

“We know that success at school and in life for our students depends upon them building the character they need to achieve their personal best. We have a great team of dedicated and skilled professionals ready to support Grindon Hall’s journey towards outstanding together.”