Investment of up to £1 million is to be spent on a Sunderland school as it embarks on a new era with a new name and improved facilities.
Grindon Hall Christian School joined the Emmanuel Schools Foundation multi academy trust in May and now plans to signal its new direction have been unveiled.
From September, the school will be known as Christ’s College, reflecting its sister school partnership within ESF along with Emmanuel College and the newly named Grace College, both in Gateshead.
It will be ESF’s second ‘all-through’ academy with children aged from 4-16 and is led by principal Julie Roberts, who has moved from Bede Academy, in Blyth, with a wealth of experience of all-through education.
The new school badge will form part of the college uniform, which retains the grey and red of Grindon Hall but is updated with the Christ’s College brand.
The school’s sponsorship by ESF is already attracting families who are happy that the school will retain its distinctive Christian ethos whilst welcoming children and staff from across the faith and none-faith community.
Executive Headteacher David Dawes said: “The new name of Christ’s College, on which we have consulted, underlines the school’s ongoing Christian ethos and connection with the roots of the original school whilst also signalling our confident fresh start and ensuring the college retains its own identity within the multi academy trust.
“We have been delighted to see a surge in applications in 2019 for admissions of children into our two Reception classes, and into Year 7. Grindon Hall has always been a popular school with parents thanks to its smaller class sizes and caring, nurturing environment, which will only be enhanced further by becoming part of ESF.”
Mr Dawes said the investment would focus on improving existing buildings, including the immediate addition of Engineering and Food Technology rooms – for which new staff will also be recruited – and a newly re-purposed Science block, and, over the next year, upgrading the main hall building.
Although the college has a new name, the legacy of the old hall building, which was originally occupied by the Doxford shipbuilding and political family in the late 1800s, will retain its historic name of Grindon Hall.
The curriculum will be broadened with lessons shortened to 50 minutes to allow for additional subjects.
The new uniform will be introduced from September for new students and phased in over two years for existing students to give families time to plan. For the first time, girls can choose to wear revere-neck blouses without a tie.
Mr Dawes added: “We want our students to enjoy coming to Christ’s College, to feel proud to wear their uniform and for all to play their part in our future together.
“Christ’s College has enormous potential and will benefit hugely from the expertise, specialist resources and capabilities of our exceptional, locally-based trust. We are tremendously ambitious and excited about building the college for generations to come.”