It is 25 years since Emmanuel College opened its doors to a new kind of state education – one that values character ahead of qualifications, sportsmanship over winning and service before self.

It has proved to be a winning formula, with the college in Gateshead maintaining an outstanding judgement from Ofsted throughout its entire history, one of only a handful of schools to achieve this.


Its silver anniversary got off to an award-winning start with four significant accolades in three months:

  • A Schools, Students and Teachers Network (SSAT) Educational Outcomes Award for progress putting it in the top ten per cent of schools nationally for the value-added progress made by pupils between key stage 2 results at primary school and GCSE results at 16;
  • A national Pupil Premium award for the gains made by students from disadvantaged backgrounds;
  • A national Character Award presented by the Secretary of State for Education for personal development initiatives and leadership opportunities to prepare young people for life in modern Britain;
  • And an SSAT award for attainment at GCSE that puts Emmanuel in the top ten per cent of non-selective schools nationally.

The awards for the progress of students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds are particularly encouraging for a school that does not select on ability and draws the majority of its students from inner Gateshead.


Sue Williamson, Chief Executive of SSAT, congratulated the college for its exceptional achievement, adding: “These results are testament to the commitment and hard work of the students, teachers and leadership team at Emmanuel College, and show what can be achieved when skilled teachers have high expectations and ambition for every young person.”

Emmanuel has never chased the prizes, never set high exam results as its target and never put its own reputation above the needs of each individual student.


The reasons for its success are numerous, but Principal Jonathan Winch highlights the underpinning Christian ethos and core values, the partnership between staff, students and parents, and the self-discipline, hard work and the concern towards others shown by students.


It is not unexpected, therefore, that the college is marking its 25th anniversary by raising £25,000 to open a chain of schools in South Africa for some of the world’s poorest children, leaving a lasting legacy in education both at home and overseas.