A PRINCIPAL had high praise for students, staff and the community two years to the day after taking charge of the transformation of her school.
A special appreciation worship was staged at St Aidan’s Academy, Darlington, to mark the milestone in its new era of learning.
Principal Nicole Gibbon thanked organisations which had supported her since taking the helm, including Whitburn Church of England Academy, the Carmel Education Trust, Hurworth School, the Avec Partnership and Darlington Borough Council.
“All these people have been by my side and I’m delighted they could join us today,” she said.
“This is an amazing school with outstanding students and staff and we have come an incredible distance in just two years. We have completed the preparation training and are now ready to take to the track and fly out of the blocks as a true contender.”
Secondary and primary school head teachers and a group of Teach First leaders joined around 700 students for the worship, which featured music, prayers, video and drama.
Students produced a humorous video sketch in which they portrayed the senior leadership team while the audience enjoyed a satirical look at Year 9 in which senior teachers returned to their youth.
Staff and students also revealed who they appreciated in their lives and a host of letters were projected on a giant screen.
Lauren Kacis sang the Sarah McLachlan melody In the Arms of an Angel before teachers awarded certificates of appreciation to students.
Mrs Gibbon said: “When I look back at how far we have come it inspires me for the future. We will continue to strive for excellence, to help students be motivated, to enjoy learning and to grow in self-awareness, confidence and esteem.
“Our Christian ethos continues to be reflected in the behaviour, standards and expectations we aspire to see on a daily basis, values such as care, respect, honesty, generosity, selflessness, forgiveness, inclusion and reconciliation as the school strives to be an integral part of the community.
“We will be working harder than ever to ensure students achieve their full potential, fulfil their ambitions and flourish in life.”