timely, commercial and cost-effective
Meadowdale, a high-achieving middle school in Bedlington, Northumberland, is celebrating its new academy status. It is leading the way in Northumberland for middle schools choosing to become academies.
The Ofsted-rated outstanding school, which counts TV presenter Jayne Middlemiss among its former students, currently has 452 nine to 13 year old pupils and is oversubscribed for the next academic year.
Headteacher Joy Finn said: “We’re delighted to have achieved academy status for Meadowdale. The route to conversion has been rocky at times. Despite two ‘outstanding’ assessments from Ofsted we were faced with the threat of closure following the county council’s proposal to move from a three tier to a two-tier system in Bedlingtonshire.
“I have to praise the excellent team from Watson Burton, our legal advisers, who worked alongside us and kept us moving forward, when I’m sure many other schools would have given up. The team helped us fight a difficult battle at times.”
Gillian Hall, senior partner and head of education and skills at Watson Burton said: “We were delighted to work with Joy and the Meadowdale governors to help the school achieve academy status. Meadowdale has enjoyed high standards and outstanding performance for many years. The conversion process was complex, and the conversion was halted twice, but we worked hard to complete it successfully and we are delighted that Meadowdale is now fully operational as an academy.”
Meadowdale Academy held a special ceremony to mark the conversion, surrounding the school in blue ribbon and raising a flag designed by pupil Kate Mullen. The event also featured a speech from Katy Storey, England rugby player, who is Meadowdale’s Olympic ambassador in the lead up to the 2012 games.
Joy Finn said: ““I’m passionate about middle schools. In a regional landscape which includes both two and three tier schools we wanted to preserve that choice in the heart of our community. By becoming an academy we now have independence which gives us the future security and stability to maintain and strengthen excellence for all.
“Middle school settings provide a nurturing stepping stone and bridge from first to high school. Our aim is to continue and develop our middle school role as active partners within the Bedlington community of schools.
Ofsted inspectors spoke highly of the exceptional quality at Meadowdale following their last assessment. The Ofsted report states: “Pupils’ progress and achievement are excellent because of stimulating teaching and a rich and diverse curriculum. Parents recognise the school’s strengths and are quick to acknowledge that ‘Meadowdale is an inspirational school and the opportunities open to its pupils are fantastic. ‘The pride with which pupils talk about their work is music to any parent’s ears.’”
Joy Finn adds: “We want Meadowdale Academy to be the very best that it can be and we consulted widely with parents, students, governors and staff before making the decision to become an academy. A mixed landscape which includes middle schools is important. Together with our community of schools we can do great things to ensure every child’s learning journey is exciting, happy, successful and memorable.”