School in Blyth praised by inspectors after assessment of its religious character

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A Northumberland school has been praised after an inspection of its religious character.

Bede Academy, a non-denominational Christian school in Blyth, underwent a Section 48 inspection, an independent assessment required for schools with religious designations that have government funding arrangements.

The report into the school’s denominational education and collective worship, which is in addition to Ofsted inspections, rated the school’s religious aspects as ‘excellent’ in all categories.

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Andrew Thelwell, principal of Bede North, was “delighted” with the report’s findings.

Bede Academy underwent a Section 48 inspection of its religious character. (Photo by Bede Academy)Bede Academy underwent a Section 48 inspection of its religious character. (Photo by Bede Academy)
Bede Academy underwent a Section 48 inspection of its religious character. (Photo by Bede Academy)

He said: “The inspectors recognised how our Christian ethos inspires our focus on service and community and how this, in turn, supports the character education we strive for among all our students to ensure they achieve to their full potential, both personally and academically.

“The recognition that we have extended that positive impact beyond the academy into the local community is very pleasing.

“We have been able to achieve this by developing mutually beneficial links and strong relationships with other organisations, and we thank all those partners for their continued support.”

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The school, part of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation, has nearly 2,000 students of different backgrounds and faiths from nursery age up to sixth form.

The report found that the school’s Christian vision is “firmly embedded within the academy.”

It added: “Links with the local community are exceptional and impact positively on the academy’s work, on the attitudes, attainment and progress of students, and on the life of various organisations, charities, and businesses in Blyth and beyond.”

Inspectors said that staff “are well able to articulate the impact of the academy’s non-denominational Christian foundation” regardless of their own faith or non-faith and praised the way behaviour incidents were handled on the rare occasions they occurred.

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The report also said: “Students and their parents or carers are overwhelmingly positive about the pastoral care and the quality of the education received. They see the positive impact that the academy’s inclusive Christian basis is having.”

Inspectors noted that Bede Academy is designated as a ‘school of sanctuary,’ meaning it has 49 formerly displaced children among its students.

The report said: “This is rightly recognised as another outworking of its caring and inclusive Christian character. These students are well integrated and have been positively welcomed into the academy family.”

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