New Bridge Academy, Sunderland, heralds new era of education

New Bridge Academy

Monday, 12th June 2017

New Bridge Academy, Sunderland, heralds new era of education

STUDENTS with complex needs are to benefit from an overhaul of services

STUDENTS with complex needs are to benefit from an overhaul of services heralding a new era of education at one of the region’s specialist schools.

New Bridge Academy, Sunderland, will concentrate its efforts on a single site from September helping staff and boosting opportunities for students with social, emotional, behavioural and mental health issues.

A new executive head teacher Rachel Ireland, who also runs Hope Wood Academy in Easington Colliery, will support newly appointed head teacher Dave Rylance to carry out a host of improvements.

Money saved on switching to one site will be invested in a variety of occupational, educational and therapeutic services at the Hylton Castle site, which is part of the Ascent Academies’ Trust.

“Our aim is to make New Bridge Academy the school of choice for parents of children with social, emotional, behavioural and mental health issues,” said Mrs Ireland.

“This is about providing authentic learning, not just going through the motions of sending children to school. Curriculum developments will see students provided with proper skills and attributes, ones they will need for adulthood, parenthood and employment.”

Expertise currently successfully used throughout the Ascent Academies Trust would be brought into play in full force at New Bridge Academy, Mrs Ireland stressed.

Under the new regime, all 40 staff would work from the upper site, which would also become a base for therapeutic services, including occupational health and psychological therapies, for a variety of needs such as attachment issues.

There would be fresh opportunities for work experience, plans for an enterprise group and greater access to resources as the school benefits fully from being part of a multi-academy trust.

School officials plan to consult with parents and are asking for feedback on existing and proposed practices.

Mrs Ireland said: “Dave Rylance will lead the school. He has significant leadership experience and has been instrumental in supporting the school’s progress and the formation of the New Bridge Academy. I know he will bring continuity, consistency and strong leadership and am confident the school will continue its development under his care.

“I passionately believe in achieving the very best possible outcomes for all children and young people and I know I am supported in this vision by an extremely dedicated staff team.”

She said a team approach was key to achieving the best outcomes for the up to 130 young people they could accommodate and families were vital to the success of this approach.

Further details on the next stages of development would be passed to families through parents’ events, home-school communications, social media and through the website.

Developments are being supported by the local authority which is formulating revised school transport plans.

The transition will occur over the current half-term and an activity week planned for July will help students adjust to the new location.