A North East academy has been singled out as an example for others to follow by inspectors who judged it as providing excellent education and displaying exemplary practice.
Bede Academy, in Blyth, encourages students’ personal and character development “exceptionally well” and its distinctive Christian vision, which values each individual, enables its young people and staff to flourish.
Officials carrying out a specialised inspection for schools with a religious character, said Bede, which takes children from age three-18, was “a very happy and supportive place in which to work and learn”.
Principals Bethan Harding MBE and Andrew Thelwell were described as effective and visionary leaders who are ably supported by governors and their senior team.
Mr Thelwell said: “We are, of course, delighted by the inspectors’ report as they have clearly recognised the value of our focus on curriculum, character and community that is embedded in Bede Academy and the positive impact this has on both staff and students.
“Our Christian ethos is central to life at Bede and is the foundation of our belief that each of us is infinitely precious, gifted for a purpose and morally responsible. This is successfully lived out by staff and students every day and supports our vision of character education.”
The inspectors said the academy’s values were reflected in the excellent behaviour of students, high quality relationships and exceptional pastoral support provided for students who experience a calm, purposeful and stimulating learning environment.
The various needs, gifts and talents of individual students and staff are nurtured and extended. Every student makes at least good and often accelerated progress and the effective monitoring of attainment means no student is left behind. Overall attainment is high, the report said.
Mrs Harding added: “The inspectors recognised that although many students join our primary years with below average levels of development, our nurturing and supportive environment, combined with high expectations, means primary students make excellent progress and enter the secondary phase at or above national averages.”
The Sixth Form is also strong. Staff are mindful of potential developments in Blyth and are proactively working with local businesses to ensure that, as well as academic students, higher level apprenticeships can be taken by those students who choose that route to employment.
The inspectors noted that opportunities are taken across the curriculum to address questions of spiritual and moral importance, such as the relevance of faith and ethical behaviour.
Judging the academy on the effectiveness of its religious education, the report said its daily collective worship and Philosophy, Theology and Ethics (PTE) curriculum are excellent contributors to the academy’s Christian vision; students and staff from various faith and non-faith backgrounds feel comfortable joining in, and benefit from it. As a result, students are respectful and recognise difference and diversity as things to be celebrated.
Recognising that students and their families and the community of Blyth are placed at the heart of all the academy does, the inspectors have encouraged Bede to promote additional opportunities to share its expertise and excellent work to extend its support for others within the Emmanuel Schools Trust, as well as with local schools and beyond.