School stikes gold

School stikes gold

30th July 2013


A NORTH East secondary school is among the first in the region to strike gold as it secures its position as one of the best employers in the country.

Longfield School in Darlington has become one of the few secondary schools in the North East to be awarded the top honour by Investors in People.

Staff, pupils and governors impressed inspectors despite the school undergoing building work as a multi-million pound refurbishment of the learning environment takes place.

The gold accolade was awarded after assessors analysed every aspect of working life for Longfield’s 106 staff and its progress as an employer becoming an academy in 2011.

The inspection provides an invaluable means for the headteacher and senior leadership team  to assess whether life has changed for the better under academy status.

The report states that the staff feel things have improved significantly since becoming an academy as there are now more opportunities for reward, improved facilities and a better learning experience for pupils.

To achieve the gold standard the academy had to meet 126 specific indicators; it actually achieved 178 out of the possible 182.

The honour follows on from the 900-pupil school securing the Investors in Pupils Award last year.

Head teacher Susan Johnson said: “The gold award is recognition that Longfield is an excellent employer and that staff are valued and cared for in the same way as the pupils. This award is about providing a positive place to work and it is about developing staff to ensure pupils achieve and are successful.

“The award also recognises the formal and informal elements of being an employer, such as training for all staff, career stage professional development and the importance of thanking staff in different ways for their contributions to the school.”

Deputy head teacher Sara Davidson added: “This is really good timing as it shows that since becoming an academy we have put effective staff support systems in place and are able to provide all staff with excellent opportunities to develop. We are proud of Longfield’s culture of high standards and excellence and receiving this award is another way of confirming that we are achieving our aims.”
The Longfield Academy Trust was formed last year bringing together two secondary schools and a primary school.
A major redevelopment of buildings and curriculum followed with a marked increase in the quality of education for children and an increase in students wanting to enrol.
Longfield saw close to £1m being spent on new heating and a pool refurbishment, £427,000 on new roofing and £775,000 on windows.
In addition, a £2m sports hall is due to be completed by the summer and there are plans to extend further with a purpose-built dining hall to improve dining facilities for students.
“The school is working really hard to continue to achieve outstanding results and to improve its facilities and we are delighted with the gold award,” said Mrs Johnson.
“Staff, many of who are also parents, enjoy working here because they feel valued and they want to improve what they do, ultimately, for the benefit of the students.”

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