A principal of a new academy, the first of its kind, has spoken of his excitement at the prospect of nurturing children through their education.
A funding agreement for King’s Priory School – a merger of independent King’s School and state funded Priory Primary School – was approved by Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove last Friday.
The decision has been welcomed by officials at school sponsor Woodard Academies Trust, who have been working on the proposals since last September.
New principal David Dawes, who has been at King’s since April, said he is now keen to get started and be part of the community.
The former Army officer and Cambridge University graduate was vice-principal at Bede Academy in Blyth before taking up his new role.
Speaking to the News Guardian, Mr Dawes said: “Most of the work ahead of opening in September has been completed. We’ve done the timetables, created the new uniforms and successfully recruited some very good staff.
“I’ve observed a lot of the teaching in the schools, and together with the quality teachers we’ve recruited, I know this school will stand shoulder to shoulder with the very best schools in the country.
“I’m sure we will be an outstanding school in the course of time. It’s going to be a phenomenal place for children to be. I’m thrilled to be taking it on, it’s a real privilege.”
Children in Reception to Year 4 will be based at the Priory site while in King’s there will two sections – Year 5 to 8 and then Year 9 to Sixth Form.
When the plans were first announced last year, some parents raised concerns about the loss of a private school, and although some withdrew their children, Mr Dawes said he was delighted with the positive reaction from parents.
The proposal has received opposition from North Tyneside Council and headteachers of other borough schools.
But Mr Dawes said: “This school doesn’t want to be an island, we want to be fully cocooned with local schools, providing a beacon of best practice and learning from other schools where that needs to happen.
“There are other schools with other great features, we’ll be interested in talking with them. We want to build relationships with other schools. We hope they see this as a positive, not a negative.
“We also hope to work with the council.”