A leading education foundation is predicting a bright future for a Gateshead school that has formally joined its multi academy trust.

Joseph Swan Academy, in Gateshead, has become the fifth school in the Emmanuel Schools Foundation multi academy trust (MAT).

Mark Hall, Vice Principal at Emmanuel College, in Gateshead, one of the North’s top performing schools, has been appointed Principal of Joseph Swan Academy (JSA) and will take up his new position after the Easter holiday. Matt Waterfield, Principal of Emmanuel College, will be Executive Principal of JSA.

Mr Hall has been leading a team to identify the fresh steps needed at the 1,000-pupil academy since the Department for Education, together with governors and senior leaders at the academy, agreed last November for JSA to join the ESF multi academy trust.

He said: “I am delighted to be asked to serve the students, teachers and wider community at Joseph Swan Academy. It has been clear from the positive conversations I have had that many are looking forward to a time of significant opportunity as the Academy joins the Emmanuel Schools Foundation.  

“We have seen much that is most encouraging in the Academy. I have no doubt that the school will go from strength to strength as it partners with ESF on the journey towards outstanding.”

A keen runner and rower, Mr Hall has lived in the North East for 11 years and taught sciences before joining the Emmanuel Schools Foundation as Vice Principal. His areas of responsibility have included academic standards at GCSE and A level, the holistic education of the Sixth Form and staff performance and development.

Mr Hall has extensive international educational experience having worked in South Africa, London and Norwich before moving to Gateshead. He retains an interest in conservation and the environmenthaving studied towards degrees in botany and zoology and environmental management.

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 said joining ESF was an exciting opportunity for JSA and that rapid improvement in outcomes were possible.

“Bringing JSA into our MAT 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,” he added.

Leaders of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation have paid tribute to out-going headteacher Heather Scott, who has stepped down after six years.

Under her leadership the academy won the Diana Award for work on anti-bullying strategies, the Leading Parent Partnership Award which recognised the positive partnership between parents/carers and the Academy and links with Newcastle United Football Club. The development of the Duke of Edinburgh Award will continue under ESF, which has a strong track record of students reaching the top gold level award.

On the growth of ESF, Chief Executive Mark Pike said:This is tremendously exciting and cause for celebration as we have the opportunity to provide more children and young people with high-quality ESF schooling. It is also a huge vote of confidence in us by key stakeholders and policy-makers including the Department for Education, those overseeing re-brokerage, the Regional Schools Commissioner, Government ministers, local government, teachers and parents.”

The Christian ethos MAT provides a foundation for pursuing excellence for every student in terms of character development and academic progress and the schools are communities where everyone is welcome regardless of religious or social background.