Third South Shields secondary school hopes to become an academy

St Wilfrid's RC College headteacher Brendan Tapping.
St Wilfrid's RC College headteacher Brendan Tapping.

A South Tyneside school is bidding to become an Academy.

St Wilfrid’s RC College today announced plans to start formal consultation on their proposals.

Staff and pupils were notified of the school’s plans this morning, with youngsters given letters to take home to parents and carers.

If successful, St Wilfrid’s will become the third secondary school to become an academy, following Whitburn and St Joseph’s.

Headteacher Brendan Tapping said the move would give the school the opportunity to maintain and repair buildings at the site, off Temple Park Road, South Shields.

He added: “As an already highly successful school, we wish to continually invest in our pupils, and their future.

“We want to provide a vibrant and exciting learning environment for our students to thrive.

“Gaining Academy status will allow us to maintain and repair our school building to high standards to complement our excellent teaching.”

“We have worked hard with support from parents and carers, the Diocese and South Tyneside Council to achieve an Outstanding Ofsted status and want to make sure that we can build on that success for future generations of pupils.

“We already have a strong and positive relationship with South Tyneside Council and we will continue to work closely with our local authority if we become an Academy.”

St Wilfrid’s has 825 pupils aged 11-19. At its last Ofsted inspection in February 2014 it was judged outstanding in all categories, with the report saying: “There is a relentless focus on raising achievement for all students in the school and this is proving very successful.”

Last year, 66 per cent of students achieved five or more A*-C GCSES including maths and English.

That put it far above the borough average of 54 % and the national figure of 53.4% for schools in England.

A four-week consultation on the proposals began today, running to July 10.

The school wants to hear the views of pupils, parents, carers, staff, parish and local communities and staff will be on hand to gather views at a series of during drop in sessions, which are being held next week.

People can also give feedback via forms available from the school website