Joseph Swan Academy to join Emmanuel Schools Foundation

A leading education foundation has been approved by the Department for Education to bring a fifth school into its multi academy trust.

Following discussions between the Emmanuel Schools Foundation, Joseph Swan Academy, in Gateshead, and the Regional Schools Commissioner for the North, agreement has been reached in principle for the academy to join ESF.

The Foundation operates four schools across the North of England including Emmanuel College Gateshead, one of the region’s top performing schools.

All its schools have a Christian ethos, which provides a foundation for pursuing excellence for every student in terms of character development and academic progress, and are communities where everyone is welcome regardless of religious or social background.

Governors and senior leaders at Joseph Swan Academy were unanimous in inviting ESF to explore the possibility of it providing support.

Colleagues will now continue to work in close partnership in anticipation of the formal adoption of the 1,000-pupil academy into ESF during 2019.

Matt Waterfield, Principal of Emmanuel College, will become Executive Principal and will oversee the drive for improvement at the academy.

Mr Waterfield said: “We recognise that there will much to do in this early phase, including holding quality conversations with parents, students and staff at JSA and the completion of further due diligence. During this time, we will seek to bring clarity to what it will mean for JSA to join ESF but we believe it is a very exciting opportunity for all parties and for our region.

“Bringing JSA into our MAT is a logical and positive step which will allow us to invest significantly in the academy with the aim of it becoming an outstanding school within five years. We believe it will have a significant positive impact upon its young people and families, on the staff and, in turn, on the educational landscape in Gateshead.”

Under Department for Education rules, any academy receiving an ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted judgement is required to find a trust willing to adopt and support them on their journey to school improvement.

Mr Waterfield added: “We believe that rapid improvement in outcomes is possible and, while discussions are still to be held, we have an ambitious plan for school improvement which will enable Joseph Swan to be an outstanding school serving the heart of Gateshead.

“I have seen a lot that is encouraging and will provide a foundation on which we can build. Ofsted recognised the good behaviour of students, safety and welfare arrangements, improvements in attendance and the performance of the Sixth Form, which we would wish to grow both in size and curriculum breadth.”

Mr Waterfield said ESF would seek to develop a clear vision for the academy and a culture of high standards and expectations with a focus on character, the kind of holistic education that has seen Emmanuel College maintain Ofsted outstanding judgements for its entire 28-year history and its consistent position as the top school in Gateshead in the Real Schools Guide.

The two schools will not merge and will remain separate entities within the Emmanuel Schools Foundation MAT with separate admissions arrangements, leadership teams and local governance arrangements.