Important Update from Sir Ken Gibson

Dear parents/carers

As we near the end of another very challenging year, I thought that I would write with one or two important updates.

We have a few staff retiring or moving to pastures new in September and I will be meeting with each of them separately this week to wish them all the very best for the future.

Mrs McConville is retiring after 32 years at the school. She has performed a number of roles in her time, but has been an amazing teacher of MFL as well as being in charge of primary transition for a number of years. Her work in that regard is legendary and she will be a massive miss to the school, and I know that many primary schools have already expressed their best wishes and thanks for her stunning work over the years.

Mrs Gillespie leaves after 15 years as our wonderful Head of RE (Social & Cultural Studies) and as a superb teacher of RE, Philosophy & Ethics. She is retiring next week and we wish her a long and happy retirement.

Mrs Harrison is leaving us after 10 years of teaching geography to mainly our 6th form students. I know that her fabulous efforts have been greatly appreciated by all and we wish her a long and happy retirement too.

Ms Culkin is moving on to pastures new after 17 years at the school. Ms Culkin has been our Director of Teaching School since 2014 and has developed a regional and national reputation for her outstanding work. She is continuing her work with Teaching Schools and will be performing a similar role in the recently created St John Vianney Teaching School Hub in Hartlepool. We wish her all the very best and know she will continue to be a resounding success.

Dr Sinnett is leaving us after 7 years as an inspirational science teacher to teach science at another school in Sunderland. She has also led our regional and national reputation in careers education over recent years and we are extremely grateful for her marvellous efforts.

Mrs Finch, our Occupational Therapist, is leaving for a new venture and we would like to thank her for her fantastic work with our students and staff over the past 3 years.

We will be finishing on Friday July 23rd at 12.15pm in order to celebrate the contributions of the wonderful staff I have mentioned – further information will, of course, follow.

Finally, I wanted to provide you with an update to the change of leadership of the school. Directors have agreed to elevate Mr Amos to Acting Headteacher with effect from September 1st 2021. Mr Amos is currently Head of School, but as I near the end of my career, it is important to look to the future. Mr Amos has done a superb job over many years at Harton and worked with me at both Jarrow School for two years and at Academy 360 in Pennywell for three years.

After thirty-eight years in the school, and eighteen as Headteacher, I will be taking on a different role from September. I will still oversee staffing, finance and governance and will continue to ensure that the school is well-prepared for any future visits by Ofsted. I will continue to perform the role of ‘resident inspector’ and will examine the quality of education throughout every department and year team. I will be observing all teachers and working with the subject leaders and senior team to ensure that the provision at Harton remains outstanding, regardless of what any inspectors might say.

I intend to perform this role for at least two more years as I would find it extremely difficult to retire after 39 years at the school or as Headteacher for a prime number (19) of years. So my aim is to complete 40 years, with 20 as Headteacher or CEO.

Mr Amos will be entirely responsible, with the rest of the staff, for the smooth running of the school on a day-to-day basis. It is time to hand over the reins to a younger person and someone with much better knees!

In closing, Mr Amos will be sending out information re COVID and our plans for the summer and indeed September.

Mr Peel will be sending out detailed information for students and parents re the exam results and potential appeals. However, having overseen the entire process with Mr Peel, I can guarantee that the teacher assessed grades have been scrutinized, moderated and the whole process has been entirely professional, ethical and as accurate as possible.

We look forward to seeing the students on results days in August (August 10th for ‘A’ level and August 12th for KS4).

Many thanks for your continued support throughout the past 18 months and I know you will join me in thanking our remarkable staff for their incredible efforts, once again, this past year. Let us hope and pray that things improve dramatically very soon and that you and your families stay safe and enjoy a lovely summer.

Very best wishes,

Sir Ken Gibson