A TALENTED middle-distance runner lived up to his recent national selection with an emphatic victory at his school sports championships.

Sarah Gourley in the discus

Olivia Quinn cruises home to set one of three new records for Bede Academy


Jake Boyle leaps for glory

Girls: Grace Brown (left), Ellie O’Brien (centre) and Ella Downing do battle on the track

Cameron Hood leads the field in front of the Bede Academy crowd at Monkton Stadium

Adrian Wray performs in the javelin

Track talent, Bede Academy’s Taylor Glover, who has been selected for English Schools

Taylor Glover set off so quickly that commentators believed he might have mistakenly thought he was running the 400m rather than the 800m.

The 16-year-old student from Bede Academy, Blyth, almost lapped the slowest competitor at the annual academy track and field championships staged at Monkton Stadium, in Jarrow.

But the impressive display of athleticism and time of 2.05 was still 4/100ths outside Taylor’s  personal best.

The Year 11 student, who is a member of Morpeth Harriers, was selected last week to compete in the English Schools National Championships, due to be held in Birmingham, in July.

He will compete in his favoured event – the 1500m – where he has already run a PB of 4.04mins.

“This year I’m really concentrating on my running,” he said. “In fact I’m quitting football with Newcastle City so it doesn’t impact on training. The dream is to run for my country one day.”

Hundreds of Year 7-12 boys and girls vied for house honours in a day of track and field events marking the 8th annual Bede Academy sports day.

Heavy morning rain gave way to hot and humid conditions in the afternoon leading to 12 new academy records across the age groups in the various disciplines, all set by the girls.

Ellie Morris started the day with a strong run in the 75m hurdles, following it up by posting new best figures in the high jump. Ellie, a strong all-round performer, represented Northumberland in the recent North East combined events championships.

In Year 7, Isobel Richards achieved new records in the discus and javelin, while the Year 8 stand-out performer was Abbie Ross, who won three events on her way to becoming Victrix Ludorum and also set a new record in the long jump.

In Year 9 Khai Nguyen won the 300m, triple jump and discus events and subsequently lifted the Victor Ludorum, which is awarded to the best all-round male athlete in the year group.

Star of the day, however, was Year 10 student Olivia Quinn, who completed a winning treble in the 100m, 200m and 300m, smashing academy records in all events.

The day finished with the staff -v- sixth form relay, which the staff won for the first time.

Cuthbert house was overall winner followed by Aidan in second place and Oswald house third.

Director of Sport Simon McAree said: “The standard of performance seems to increase every year and this year is no exception. Teams and individuals competed at the highest levels and we are seeing increasing success as the passion for sport develops across all year groups at the academy.”

A donation by a Blyth businessman has helped complete a mission by students to fund a volunteering exhibition to South Africa.

Cash for Africa: Blyth businessman Barry Elliott presents £1,200 to students at Bede Academy, who will soon leave for South Africa, (L-R) Josh Aisbitt, Louis French, Jamie Watson, Natasha Johnstone and Adrian Wray


The sixth formers from Bede Academy, in Blyth, are now ready to fly out to Tembisa, near Johannesburg, on July 1. 

The final funds they needed were donated by Barry Elliott, a keen supporter of the academy, local charities and community projects. 

Handing over £1,200 – £200 towards each student’s fund-raising target – he said: “We should all appreciate how well off we are and do what we can to make sure everybody in the world has access to fresh water, heat and food. It’s just not acceptable for any child to be hungry, cold or without clean water. 

“I think the students will see levels of poverty they can’t yet imagine and it’s great that they are going out there to do what they can to help.” 

The students will work with AIDS orphans in a local school, using their talents developed at the academy to teach music, games and art to children whose education is provided by the charity Love Trust. 

As well as helping in the classroom and on the sports field, they may also get involved in some construction work. 

Student Jamie Watson said: “It’s really generous of Mr Elliott and we’re really grateful for his support.” 

Adrian Wray added: “It shows how people in Blyth will help each other as a community.”

The Bede Academy students will join others from Emmanuel Schools Foundation schools – The King’s Academy, in Middlesbrough, Trinity Academy, near Doncaster, and Emmanuel College, Gateshead – on the trip.

They had to apply for a place, stating what qualities they felt they could bring to the work and what they hoped to learn from the experience.

Vice principal Dr Andrew Middleton, who will accompany them, added: “The flights are booked and we’re all ready to go. Mr Elliott’s very generous donation is a huge addition to our total.

“The students are looking forward to an incredible experience and an opportunity to serve.” 

The students had to raise £1,000 each and organised events including a gym-based sponsored bike ride, car washes and a concert. Younger children at Bede South also got involved with a sponsored readathon.

The head of primary years at a Northumberland academy has been recognised with an MBE in The Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Honoured: Students at Bede Academy, in Blyth, celebrate with Head of Primary Years Bethan Harding, who has been awarded an MBE, (back row, L-R) Scott Green, Eve Turner, (front row, L-R) Luke Gannie, Jasmine Krzysiak, David Skierski and Ruby Jones


Bethan Harding, who joined Bede Academy, in Blyth, from a primary school in Cardiff last September, has been honoured for services to education.

The award recognises her contribution to school improvement in Wales and beyond.

A teacher since 2000 and a head since 2011, Mrs Harding not only led her own highly successful school but was also selected as a board member of a strategy group charged with leading teaching and learning improvements and professional development across South Wales.

She worked with academics on research that led to the establishment of School Improvement Hubs and the delivery of bespoke packages to schools in need across the region. She also worked with ministers within the Welsh Assembly, contributing to the formation of education policy.

Jonathan Winch, executive principal at Bede Academy, said: “It is Bethan’s expertise and commitment to the ethos of every child being given the opportunity to achieve, regardless of background, that made her a perfect fit for Bede Academy and the Emmanuel Schools Foundation. We are very proud now to call her one of our own in the North East.

“Strong and effective leadership is critical to a school’s success and Bethan’s experience will be invaluable within ESF as we seek to build leadership capacity in our academies for the future.”

Mrs Harding added: “I received a letter in the post telling me of the award. It was a huge surprise and I feel honoured to be receiving it. I have always worked as part of a team and I see the award as a joint honour.”

Excitement is expected to grow among the 700 students at Bede Academy Primary once Mrs Harding receives confirmation of the date of her investiture at the Palace, which is anticipated to be at the end of the year.