Sunderland school set to change its name

A school has marked the end of the old academic year by announcing a new name and plans for improved facilities.

By Gavin Ledwith
Sunday, 21 July, 2019, 06:00
Julie Roberts, principal of Grindon Hall Christian School, which is soon to become Christ’s College, with Ruby Collins, 12, and Dylan Maxwell-Lawson, 11, wearing the new school blazer.

Grindon Hall Christian School, in Sunderland, will become Christ’s College after the summer break and benefit from up to £1m of investment.

The change of name for the school, which caters for pupils from four through to 16, follows its incorporation within the Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF) in May.

ESF took over from the Bright Tribe Trust, which itself had only taken over in 2017 after the school had been placed in special measures, when the trust decided to relinquish the bulk of its northern schools.

ESF says it is already attracting families who are happy that the school will retain its distinctive Christian ethos while also welcoming children and staff from across the faith and none-faith community.

Led by principal Julie Roberts, who has moved from Bede Academy, in Blyth, Christ’s College will also introduce a new uniform which will be phased in over two years for existing pupils.

Executive headteacher David Dawes said: “The new name of Christ’s College, on which we have consulted, underlines the school’s ongoing Christian ethos and connection with the roots of the original school whilst also signalling our confident fresh start and ensuring the college retains its own identity within the multi academy trust.

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“We have been delighted to see a surge in applications in 2019 for admissions of children into our two reception classes and into Year 7.

“Grindon Hall has always been a popular school with parents thanks to its smaller class sizes and caring, nurturing environment, which will only be enhanced further by becoming part of ESF.”

Mr Dawes said the investment would focus on improving existing buildings, including the immediate addition of engineering and food technology rooms – for which new staff will also be recruited – and a newly re-purposed science block.

The main hall building will also be upgraded over the next year.

Although the college has a new name, the legacy of the old hall building, which was originally occupied by the Doxford shipbuilding and political family in the late 1800s, will retain its historic name of Grindon Hall.