New school head feels at home in Sunderland

Melanie Carson.
Melanie Carson.
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A NEW headteacher is looking forward to exciting times after taking over the reins at one of Sunderland’s most popular schools.

Melanie Carson has joined Portland College as the new head after the retirement of Jennifer Chart, who had been at the Chapelgarth school for 18 years.

Melanie, who has joined the school from her previous post as deputy headteacher at a special needs school in York, said she has had no trouble settling in.

She said: “Staff, pupils and families have all been very supportive and welcoming, helping me to settle in and learn about the school.”

Melanie, who is married with two children aged 20 and 18, said she was delighted to be offered the post of headteacher at the Weymouth Road school, which has a great reputation for the work it does for the pupils.

Melanie, who commutes to the school from her home in North Yorkshire, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity for me to be part of such an outward-thinking school, with wonderful facilities and the capacity to really provide outstanding education for the pupils.”

She said she was particularly impressed by the huge range of exciting extra-curricular, life-enhancing activities, which the school runs, such as a recent plane trip to Ireland and camping for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, and this is something she plans to continue and grow.

Melanie said: “I don’t believe in making changes for the sake of it. I want to build upon the good work which is already going on here.”

Portland College has 146 pupils, aged from 11 to 19, with a wide range of learning difficulties. Melanie, who moved to the North of England from Essex 23 years ago to pursue her teaching career, said it is hugely important to provide them with the best possible individual education as well as preparing them for life after they leave school.

She said: “Provided with the right support, there is a lot more these students can achieve than people realise.”

Portland has always enjoyed good community links, which Melanie says she aims to continue, and anyone interested in supporting the school in any way is welcome to make an appointment to visit the staff and students.

Anyone who would like to find out more about the school and its current fund-raising projects, can visit the webside at

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