Nova Hreod Academy
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Nova Hreod Academy (formerly Hreod Burna Senior High School, Hreod Parkway School and Nova Hreod College) is a mixed secondary school with academy status, located in Swindon, Wiltshire for students aged 11 to 16.
Hreod is the Anglo Saxon word for a reed. The small stream that runs along the bottom of the field where the school was built is called the Hreod Burna, from which the first school got its name. It is a term found in the Domesday Book entry for the locality and describes a minor tributary of the River Ray which still runs through the valley in which Nova Hreod Academy lies.
Hreod Burna Senior High School was opened in 1966 for students were aged 14 to 18, and had a sixth form. Initially, children were drawn from Moredon Secondary and Ferndale Secondary.
The Head Teacher was Dr Blackwell, who remained at the school until 1984, just after New College opened to provide education for all sixth form students in the region. In 1983, Hreod Burna Senior High School amalgamated with Moredon Secondary School to form Hreod Parkway School, under the headship of Mr Cleall. Both Ferndale Secondary and Pinehurst Secondary were closed, and their buildings used for other activities by the local council.
Hreod Parkway School began receiving pupils aged 11 to 16 from the same area covered by Hreod Burna. However, it is widely acknowledged that a combination of council under-funding and the catchment area having a high number of low-income families unable to pick up the shortfall, were significant factors in Ofsted introducing special measures as a failing school in April 1996.
In 1997, Andrew Fleet took over as Head Teacher and set about repairing the school’s academic reputation and rebuilding the campus, which had fallen into serious disrepair.
The inspectors identified a number of areas of improvement since the last inspection in 1996.
"The school was re-organised in 1998 so that the lower and upper schools were split either side of Akers Way. Plans were drawn up to completely rebuild the school. Mr Fleet introduced many new systems and procedures to raise standards, but these measures are yet to be applied consistently across the school by all teachers".
"We have not suddenly started work on these problems since Ofsted visited", Fleet said, "We have been addressing our problems ever since I arrived, but in some areas progress has been slower than we'd hoped. Being in special measures will actually help us accelerate certain changes that we need to make, as it will enable greater intervention by the school and the LEA to address the problem areas".
In Easter of 2007, Fleet achieved his goal when Hreod Parkway was vacated and everyone moved into the new campus built on an adjacent green field site. The new school was renamed Nova Hreod. The disruption of the move and the dilapidated state of the old buildings affected GCSE results, and the school achieved a poor score on the contextual value added (CVA) tables, and for truancy.
After the appointment of Julie Tridgell as Headteacher in September 2008, GCSE results put Nova Hreod on the list of the most improved schools in the country.
In 2010 the school set up a twinning relationship with the historic Harold Cressy High School in Cape Town. The first project was based on the history of apartheid and the community clearances in District Six where Harold Cressy High School still is. Two South African educators visited in 2011 to exchange ideas about teaching science and maths in another project funded by the British Council. The plan is to get year 8 and 9 students to correspond over a virtual private network to compare their different views of their carbon footprint and their environment in general.
- Stephanie Tye (13 February 2007). "Name from the stars for school". Swindon Advertiser.
- "Swindon in the Past Lane". swindonhistory.blogspot.co.uk.
- "We're not failing anymore! The future looks good". Swindon Advertiser. 16 June 2005.
- "Taking school in the right direction". Swindon Advertiser. 6 Apr 2001.
- "GCSE-Level Performance". BBC News. 13 January 2010.
- Platt, Juliet (19 July 2011). "Nova Hreod strengthen ties with Cape Town school". Link Magazine. Retrieved 20 August 2014.