Hillcrest Academy, in the heart of Chapeltown and formerly Hillcrest Primary School, was the first school in the primary sector to be sponsored by The GORSE Academies Trust. Following a long and extremely turbulent history, with 16 Headteachers in 20 years the school was in turmoil, culminating in an Ofsted judgement of Serious Weaknesses in 2013.
Hillcrest Academy brings education to the 8th most deprived postal code in the country. The area is highly transient and is a first port of call for many families as they arrive in the UK often seeking refuge or asylum. Many children arrive unable to speak any English and a significant proportion have never been educated elsewhere prior to their arrival.
In Spring 2015 the leadership of the school radically changed and an experienced and inspirational new team made rapid improvements. With a collective vision that children have one chance at education, and that chance rests with us, the staffing was completely overhauled including a number of key appointments who would change the face of teaching and learning for the children of Chapeltown.
In late September 2016 Hillcrest Academy received its first inspection since joining The GORSE Academies Trust. All of us were delighted and so proud to have Hillcrest Academy judged as being an Outstanding school in every category. This judgement is of immense importance to the Chapeltown community, to the children who will now prosper in such a wonderful school and to the professionals who can be so proud of all that has been achieved in such a short space of time. We are also proud that the Ofsted team recognised the “remarkable impact” of Mark Randall and The GORSE Academies Trust in bringing about this transformation in performance.
As it moves into the next stage of its development under Sam Done’s leadership, Hillcrest Academy will become a beacon of excellence across the city and beyond, and an example of what can be achieved when professional standards are of the very highest calibre. This was most recently confirmed through the award of World Class School status which confirms the very special nature of our work at Hillcrest Academy.
Hillcrest Academy is now a leading partner in our work around the development of Mathematics and the Performing Arts. The latter is being developed through an exciting partnership with the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.