A HEADTEACHER with an “outstanding track record” has made an immediate impact after taking over at a North-East secondary school.

Angela Sweeten, who has a wealth of experience in education, is the new Headteacher at Longfield Academy, in Darlington.

Dean Judson, Chief Executive of Swift Academies, said: “I had the pleasure of working with Mrs Sweeten at Hurworth from 1997 to 2008, where she was an excellent Curriculum and Pastoral Lead.

“In the interim period, she has enjoyed great success, leading a number of schools to new heights, and I’m delighted she’s taken the opportunity to become a Headteacher within our trust.

“Parents, carers, staff and students have been delighted with the immediate impact she’s already had in a short time. I’ve no doubt she’ll prove to be an excellent headteacher at Longfield, and I look forward to working with her, and the school community, in moving the school forward.”

Mrs Sweeten’s first post was as an art teacher in Accrington Stanley. After then working at a school in Chorley, she moved to the North-East to become Head of Art at Hurworth School for 11 years.

From there, she became Assistant Principal at Outwood Academy, in Ripon, quickly rising to Principal. Under her leadership, the school was awarded an “outstanding” Ofsted rating in 2016.

After being made a National Leader of Education, she was asked by the Outwood Grange Academies Trust to support Outwood Academy Redcar. She stayed for two years, during which time it was the second highest achieving school for progress in the Redcar and Cleveland borough.

Mrs Sweeten then moved to Outwood Academy Ormesby, before joining New College Durham, where she ran North Durham Academy, at Stanley.

The mother-of-two said: “My aim is to always create a school that the local community is proud of, and a place where I’d be happy to send my own children. My philosophy is that every decision we take as a team must be in the best interests of all the children.

“I have an open-door policy and would urge parents to come in and feel the culture of the school. I also welcome any interaction from future employers.”

Mrs Sweeten has already introduced a “Split Lunch” system, rather than have all 860 pupils having the same lunchbreak. It allows the Year 7 students to have lunch and socialise on their own, enabling them to build their confidence in a calmer environment while they find their feet at the school. The other two lunchtime sessions are divided between Years 8 and 11, and Years 9 and 10.

A “Positive Play” scheme has also been launched, with pupils able to trade in timetables for play equipment to boost social interaction. There is also a new “Choices Behaviour Policy” aimed at minimising low-level disruption and making pupils responsible for their actions.

Opportunities are being arranged for feeder primary schools to use Longfield’s swimming pool, to make the transition to secondary school easier, and to open up the facilities to the wider community.

Mrs Sweeten added: “I already love working here and I’ve been made to feel very welcome by the parents, staff and students. It’s a lovely community to be part of.”