Gosforth Academy

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Gosforth Academy
Gosforth Academy logo.png
Motto High Achievers
  • 1921 (1921)
  • 1973 (as Gosforth High School)
  • 2010 (as Gosforth Academy)
Type Academy
Religion Non-denominational
Principal Hugh Robinson
Chairman Prof Michael Goodfellow
Location Great North Road
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne & Wear
England England Coordinates: 55°00′47″N 1°37′25″W / 55.0131°N 1.6237°W / 55.0131; -1.6237
Local authority Newcastle upon Tyne (391)
DfE URN 136352 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Students 1717 (600+ in sixth form) [1][2]
Gender Coeducational
Ages 13–18[1]
Colours Navy Blue, Gold.
Junior High Academy Gosforth Junior High Academy
Post-16 College Gosforth Academy Sixth Form College
Community College Gosforth Community Education College
Website Gosforth Academy Official website

Gosforth Academy (formerly Gosforth High School) is an English secondary school in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne. As well as having a sixth form department it is a specialist Language College. Many of its mainstream students come from three large feeder middle schools: Gosforth Central Middle School, Gosforth East Middle School and Gosforth Junior High Academy.

It also houses a large sixth form college, where the majority of the lower school students continue their studies. There is a Special education centre within the school to aid students who need it. The school houses 'Gosforth Community Education',[3] which provides courses for adults within the local community. The school is also a regional centre for young people with visual impairment.[4][5]

Both Gosforth Academy and Gosforth Junior High Academy are managed under a single company, Gosforth Federated Academies Limited, incorporated 5 November 2010.[6]


The school was originally founded in 1973 through the merger of two local comprehensive schools with Gosforth Grammar School.


In 1921 Gosforth Secondary School opened.[7] The first permanent buildings were built in the late 1920s. The site was on the opposite side of the Great North Road, to the current site.[7]


Due to the Education Act 1944 the school became Gosforth Grammar School in 1944.[7] In the early 1960s the current site of the School began to be used.[7]


The logo used during the High School period.

In 1973 the local council adopted the three-tier education system. Following this, the Grammar school was combined with Gosforth County Secondary School and Gosforth East County Secondary School, and Gosforth High School was born. The high school moved permanently to the 1960s site.

The site on which Gosforth Grammar stood is now used by Gosforth Central Middle School.[8] The Grammar School building was used by Central Middle, until it was replaced in 2004.


Between 2000 and 2002 the school buildings were renovated, and the new facilities were opened by the Prime Minister Tony Blair on 29 November 2002.[9][10] This visit took place at the time of strike action by firefighters, who jeered Blair outside the school, gaining media attention. This new building cost a total of £9 million, of which £6.3 million came from a government grant, "New Deal for Schools", £1.85 million from "Newcastle Great Park" and £800,000 from Newcastle City Council. After the completion of the new buildings, which bear a striking resemblance to airport architecture, the old 'West Wing' was demolished in 2004.

The current head teacher, Hugh Robinson, started at the school in 2003. Keith Nancekievill left the school to take up the head teachers post at Hinchingbrooke School, Cambridgeshire, in February 2003 after being head at Gosforth for 15 years.

Footballer and former pupil Alan Shearer donated £10,000 to the school in 2006 from the proceeds of several testimonial events held to honour his ten years playing for Newcastle United.[11]

In September 2006, a new discipline system was introduced, known as the 'PRAISE Code' (Perform, Reward, Achieve, Inspire, Succeed, Excel).[12]

Junior School[edit]

In September 2006, Gosforth High took over the administration duties of Gosforth West Middle School, in a Federation style agreement.[13] The Federation came into action on 1 January 2007 and Gosforth West was later renamed Gosforth Junior High School after the 2007 Easter break.

The future as an Academy[edit]

In December 2010, the high school became an academy, known as Gosforth Academy, as did the Junior School, now Gosforth Junior High Academy.[14] The Junior Academy building was replaced with a new building which opened in September 2011, replacing the 1930s buildings. The Academy also opened its long anticipated sports facilities.


The academy is a designated ambassador school for the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth, in addition to becoming a beacon school in 2001.[citation needed] Gosforth Academy is currently the only school with DFES "Training School" status in Newcastle and has been a specialist Language College since 1996. In 1999, the school gained Investors in People accreditation. Gosforth Academy has also been awarded many other awards in the past.

In 2008 at the first gathering of the High Performing Schools group, Gosforth High School was recognised as being ranked in the top 10% of schools nationally and the highest performing school in Newcastle.[15] In March 2008, Ofsted inspected the school and rated it 'outstanding'.[16] Coupled with the improved 2008 exam results the school has been classified as a high performing specialist school for the next four years.[17]


A green year-indication ring around the then High School logo.

The school's emblem has 3 main parts: the tree of growth and knowledge, the badge of Newcastle city and the Northumberland coat of arms. For a period of time the school's motto had been "High Achievers".


Mainstream students have a coloured ring around the logo on their uniforms. This helps identify individuals into which year group they are. The colour of the ring is either pale blue, red, gold yellow (Junior High) or dark green. Until the integration of Junior High the gold yellow ring had been in the high school rotation. Students have the same colour ring from years 9 to 11, when they leave after year 11 the colour is passed down to the new year 9 students. As of September 2014; Year 9 have a red ring, Year 10 have a blue ring, and Year 11 have a green ring.

Sixth Form students currently have no formal school uniform, however they must wear a school I.D. badge at all times when on school property aimed at preventing unauthorised persons entering the school. The I.D badge scheme has been hailed as a success as it has dramatically improved security within the school.[citation needed] Visitors are required to report to the main reception area, where they receive an official label, for security reasons.

Mainstream students (Year 9, Year 10 & Year 11) must wear the school's uniform:

A selection of the school's uniform; The navy blue sweatshirt and white polo shirt with a yellow ring around the then high school logo and the outdoor jersey
  • A navy blue sweatshirt with school logo
  • A white polo shirt with school logo
  • A black, school coat, fleece or shell with school logo.
  • Black or dark grey trousers or skirt
  • Black shoes

Specialist equipment is required for some subjects, such as:-


Gosforth Academy has a wide range of quality of facilities. Some areas are in desperate need of modernisation whilst some are up-to-date. Much of the original 1960s building of the then High School no longer exists.

Gosforth Academy's present building is actually 2 buildings; one building has 2 floors and the other 3 and a half floors (the half being a Mezzanine Level which is currently used as an art gallery and a computer suite). This difference in buildings can be clearly seen when you are crossing between the two via stairs. The room numbers for the bottom floor begin with a zero; the middle floor room numbers begin with a one; and the top floor room numbers begin with two.

The 2002 building cost a total of £9 million. Companies that assisted with the construction of the 2002 building included Newcastle City Design Department, Multicare[18] and Desco. Desco handled the Mechanical and Electrical services for Phase 3, costing £3 million.[19] The school is also part of the "Building Schools for the Future" Initiative.[20]

In 2009 plans to extend the back of the school with a new sports hall were accepted. Building commenced soon after, and was unaffected by the change in the Building Schools for the Future policy. A multi-million pound gym full of P.E. equipment was built ready for use by September 2011. This is accompanied by a 9-court sports hall.

Gosforth High's buildings as they appeared in 2007. The white 2002 building is on the right side, and an additional structure has since been built to the rear-left.

Facility list[edit]

The school has:

  • 15 Science laboratories
  • 12 ICT rooms (some assigned to a particular subject)
  • 2 large libraries (Goodfellow and Cousins)
  • A large art department
  • A sixth form common room
  • A smaller year 11 common room
  • A fully equipped Drama studio
  • 3 small Music practice rooms
  • A dance studio
  • One Gym
  • One Indoor Sports Court (badminton, basketball & football)
  • One Indoor 9 court Sports Hall (badminton, basketball, hockey & football)
  • 2 Outdoor Sports Courts (tennis, hockey, basketball, netball, football)
  • One Weight-Training room.
  • A Student Support Base, which also contains a police base for the area.

The school also has facilities for young people with visual impairment. The two libraries are the Cousins Library, a new library which opened on 8 September 2008 a library for years 9, 10 and 11, and the Old Library, known as the Learning Resource Centre or LRC for sixth form.

The school is able to teach many languages; their mainstream teaching for Modern European languages is concentrated in French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Computer facilities[edit]

There are over 50 computers in total in the libraries and 12 dedicated computer rooms. Most of the classrooms have interactive whiteboards (most of which are Promethean ACTIVboards). A combination of wired and wireless networks allowing teachers to use their laptops anywhere.

The register in the school is taken via computer, using a Student information system, called SIMS.net, which uses the main PC system. The school also utilises a Virtual learning environment, under the Frog platform.[21] The school's current computer workstations are Dell Optiplex 740s.

In the past the school had used a Bromcom hand-held student information system for taking register and had computer workstations provided by Elonex Systems.

Sports department[edit]

The current Sport@Gosforth building was officially opened by former students Alan Shearer and Kathryn Tickell on 3 October 2011.[22]

The school had been planning to replace the previous indoor sports courts with a modern sports facility for many years. The previous indoor sports courts which had earned the nickname "The Shed" by students and teachers alike in the school was demolished in early 2010.[23][24] Some of the plans were to have 8 new sports courts within the new building and provision for "all-weather pitches".[25] The current building work is for the "erection of 2 storey sports hall, activities suite and classroom extension to south and west elevation to existing school; creation of synthetic turf pitch with associated fencing, and 6 x 15m high lighting columns and landscape works to east of existing school buildings and formation of 35 space car park to southern boundary of site". This application was submitted on 25 November 2008 by AURA Ltd, a local education partnership company in which the council has a 10% share, and was conditionally granted on 5 March 2009. Building work by contractors Sir Robert McAlpine commenced late in the summer of 2009, on the all-weather pitch, and it is estimated that the all the new sports facilities will be completed by Summer 2011. The synthetic turf pitch was first used on 2 December 2009, and is available for lettings out of school hours.[26] In total the new facilities will be a 6 court Sports Hall, new changing rooms, a Fitness Suite, a Climbing wall, a master classroom and a large flexible learning space. These new facilities have now been opened as a state-of-the-art sports centre which facilitates the needs of the pupils and the community. It has been given the name Sport@Gosforth.

The Newcastle Falcons rugby team and their Academy have linked up with the School in an apprenticeship scheme; in 2007 eight students joined the rugby academy for two years.[27][28]

In 2012, the Year 9 squash team won the national championship for squash, with the football team winning the City Cup.[citation needed]

Post-16 sixth form[edit]

Rated as one of the best 6th form colleges in the Newcastle upon Tyne area, Gosforth Academy's Sixth Form College offers a larger array of subjects, which its students can study. Not only can students study traditional AS and A-Level subjects, but the 6th form also offers newer qualifications such as BTEC First Diplomas, BTEC National Certificates and GCSE re-sits.[29]

Post-16 management[edit]

The post-16 environment in Gosforth Academy is directed and headed by Karen Blackburn (Director of post-16). She is backed by an Assistant Director, Ian Emmerson, a team of 3 Learning Managers a team of 8 Tutors who are responsible for the well-being of the students and an Administrator who oversees the post-16 administration.


Every student within the post-16 college is assigned to a personal tutor. The tutor is responsible for the student's well-being throughout the duration of their post-16 education. They assist with university applications or advise and guide the student in making an educated decision on career choices once they leave the college.

Students must attend a weekly meeting with their tutor, either in private meetings or in a classroom setting. This weekly meeting is aimed at ensuring the Tutors are fully aware of the progression each student makes on a personal basis. It allows the tutor to get to know the student and allows them to prepare references for jobs and university applications to the highest standard. It is also a time where Tutors can help students with any issues they are having, including UCAS applications.

Careers advice[edit]

Besides the guidance offered by the personal tutors, Gosforth High School 6th Form College also offers independent advice from the careers advisor. The role of the careers advisor is to offer non biased advice on career paths after 6th form education, be it direct employment, university advice or advise on apprenticeships. The careers advisor is also assisted by Connexions Direct, a government funded scheme aimed at offering information and support to young people.


Gosforth Academy is located on Knightsbridge, connecting to a section of the Great North Road in the Parklands electoral ward. The school is opposite the Asda Gosforth superstore (formerly a multi-use Stadium) and near to the Regent Centre business complex. Between the school and Regent Centre Metro Station there is a modern apartment block (formerly a Territorial Army centre) and on the other side of the front field there are a set of shops, including a Jet (former BP) petrol station.

Many students use the local metro and bus systems to travel to the school, due to the proximity of Regent Centre transport Interchange to the school. The school field also runs parallel to the metro line, including a short platform used for reversing the direction of Metro trains going out of service. The edge of the back field, next to the 'West Wing' is the location of Grange First School.

Management structure[edit]

Gosforth Federated schools are currently run by the Principal who is in charge of all of the four schools within the federation (GA, GJHA, Gosforth High Sixth Form College and Gosforth High Community Education College). On the SMT there are the Principal, 1 vice Principal, 2 Deputy Head teachers and several Assistant Heads, each member of the SMT hold director positions including director of performance and director of main school. The Junior Academy is run on a day-to-day basis by the Director of Junior Academy, Main School (Years 9, 10 and 11) is run by the Director of Main School and 2 Assistant Directors, the Sixth Form College is run by the Director of Post-16 and one assistant Director and the Community education College is run by the Director of Community Education. All schools within the federation however are run by the head of the federation, the principal, who therefore has overall control and is responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day running of all schools within the federation.


In 2013, the school achieved the highest GCSE results in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne. 78% of its students achieved the Goldmark 5 GCSE Passes (A*-C) including English and Maths.[30]

The GCSE Goldmark and A-Level results score by year for 2006 to 2011 are listed below:[31][32][33]

Year GCSE score (local schools' average) (in %) A-Level score (local schools' average) (in points)
2006 56 (33.5) 736.6 (625.3)
2007 64 (38) 739.6 (633.5)
2008 59 (39.2) 739.1 (684.9)
2009 59 (41.9) 767.7 (735.8)
2010 69 769.2
2011 71 780.6

Ofsted report 2008[edit]

In March 2008, Gosforth High School was rated as outstanding by Ofsted.[16] Ofsted noted that "students of all backgrounds often make outstanding progress in all aspects of their development because they are exceptionally well cared for and supported".[16] Guidance at key points in their school career and with health, social or personal problems was seen to be very good, particularly the personal and academic were seen as excellent. The management and leadership were noted as being outstanding. Ofsted also highlighted that the behaviour within the school, both in and out of class was excellent, enabling a safe environment. The overall teaching quality was marked as "usually good" with some "inspirational" lessons.The school was deemed to have made good progress since the last inspection. Ofsted outlined two main items needed to be improved in the future which were that lesson observations had to focus on the effectiveness of learning and that work given was matched better to the ability of the student.[16]

In April 2011, Ofsted conducted an interim assessment on the school. This was because, as part of the 2011 Education Bill, schools previously assessed to be outstanding, were inspected to ensure they had maintained their standard. If they had done so, they would no longer be inspected, until Ofsted received any concerning information. Gosforth Academy was deemed to have maintained the "outstanding" rating previously given in March 2008.[34]

Feeder schools[edit]

There are three middle schools in Gosforth, one of which is federated with the Academy (High School), that act as feeder schools to the Academy (High School):

Notable alumni[edit]

See Category:People educated at Gosforth Academy

Gosforth Grammar School[edit]

Name Profession
Derek Chinnery Controller of BBC Radio 1 from 1978–85.
Noel Forster Artist.[35]
Carol Galley Businesswoman, worth over £80 million.[36]
Prof Russell Hindmarsh Professor of Atomic Physics at Newcastle University from 1961–73.[37]
Robert Sherlaw Johnson composer, pianist and music scholar.[38]
David Knopfler Dire Straits guitarist, singer and songwriter.[39]
Mark Knopfler Guitarist and lead singer of Dire Straits.[40]
Prof Arthur Jones CBE Principal of the Royal Agricultural College from 1990–7, and of the North of Scotland College of Agriculture from 1986–90.
Prof Edward Potts Professor of Mining at Newcastle University from 1951–80.
Sir William Ryland CB Chairman of the Post Office Corporation from 1970–77, and Chief Executive from 1969–70.
Anthony Thomson Co-founder of Metro Bank UK.[41]
Prof Michael Yeoman Regius Professor of Botany from 1978–93 at the University of Edinburgh.

Gosforth High School[edit]

Name Profession
Donna Air Actress and television presenter.[42]
Michelle Bass Reality TV star in Big Brother 5 UK.[43][44]
Michael Chopra Centre forward for Ipswich Town F.C.[45]
Robbie Elliott Retired footballer, who notably played for Newcastle United, and currently works as a coach.[46]
Shivani Ghai Actress.[47]
Brighid Lowe Artist who has exhibited at Tate Britain and Jerwood Space
and one of the first winners of the Paul Hamlyn Award for visual arts.[48]
Ben Price Actor, known for roles in Casualty and Footballers' Wives.[49]
Alan Shearer Former Striker and manager for Newcastle United F.C.[40]
Kathryn Tickell Folk singer.[22]
Shaun Hutchinson Footballer at Motherwell F.C.
Greg Hollins Strength and Conditioning Coach at Loughborough University [50]


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External links[edit]