Middle school lands prize for improving attainment

Dawn Morton,  headteacher of the Duke's Middle School in Alnwick.
Dawn Morton, headteacher of the Duke's Middle School in Alnwick.

A north Northumberland middle school has been awarded a £1,000 prize and the chance of thousands more following its Key Stage Two results.

The Duke’s Middle School, in Alnwick, is one of 34 schools in the North East which have qualified for the 2015 Pupil Premium Awards following SATs results published earlier this month.

Their results showed that they have made or continue to make impressive improvements in the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils.

Every school has won £1,000 and eligible schools will now be invited to apply for prizes worth up to £100,000, which will be awarded at a ceremony hosted by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in March next year.

Schools Minister David Laws said: “The pupil premium is building a fairer society with opportunity for everyone.

“I would encourage all of the primary schools in the North East which have received a £1,000 prize to share their achievements with other schools so that they can learn from their strengths and experience.”

The Duke’s was previously rated as requires improvement, but an Ofsted inspection in October found the school to be good and close to outstanding.

As reported in last week’s Gazette, its current headteacher, Dawn Morton, will take over as headteacher of both the Duke’s and Lindisfarne from the start of next year with the aim of strengthening performance across the middle phase for all students.

Mrs Morton said: “There is so much more we can do as two schools working closely together to strengthen the quality of teaching and learning and I am excited about the opportunities which are ahead of us. “

Fairer funding from next year

The Department for Education has published the final per-pupil funding allocations for 2015-16 for all local authorities.

This academic year (2014-15), the actual funding received by Northumberland was £166.2million, which works out at £4,244 per pupil.

Next academic year (2015-16), the estimated funding based on the pupil census is £178.3million, or £4,551 per pupil.