Bede Academy

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Bede Academy, Blyth
Established 1 Sept 2009[1]
Type Academy
Religion Christian
Principal Gwyneth Evans
Founder Sir Peter Vardy
Location Sixth Avenue
NE24 2SY
Local authority Northumberland
DfE URN 135619 Tables
Ofsted Reports
Ages 3–18

Bede Academy is a 3–18 academy located in Blyth, Northumberland, England. Opened in September 2009, it is run by the Emmanuel Schools Foundation.[2]


The Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF), established by entrepreneur Sir Peter Vardy, had previously opened three other schools: Emmanuel City Technology College in Gateshead (1990), The King's Academy in Middlesbrough (2003) and Trinity Academy in Thorne, Doncaster (2005).

Though it was commissioned by the local education authority of Northumberland County Council, the school is directly funded by central government. It receives an amount per student equivalent to other secondary schools in the county, however, the deduction that would usually be made for central services is paid to the Foundation.

In October 2010, Vardy announced his retirement as sponsor of the group and its transition to the United Learning Trust. After exploring the integration of the ESF schools into the ULT, it was later announced in February 2012 that the Department for Education had agreed in principle to the four schools returning to their own independent governance.

Ethos and values[edit]

As with the other ESF schools, the academy has a non-denominational Christian ethos. Similarly, it promotes seven core values, honourable purpose, humility, compassion, integrity, accountability, courage and determination.

For children in the primary years, this is simplified to "Be Good", "Be Humble", "Be Kind", "Be Honest", "Be Responsible" and "Be Brave and Determined".



The academy was purpose-built in 2009, designed by architects Howarth Litchfield Partnership with consulting engineers Cundall and was constructed by Surgo Construction. The "North" site housing the secondary school was built on the site of the former Ridley High School and the "South" primary school on the site of the former South Beach First School.[3] Its secondary accommodation comprises over 50 classrooms, a main hall (seating 500), lecture theatre (seating 200), a large sports hall, a dance studio, fitness suite, learning resource centre, sixth form study area, drama studio, recording studio, specialist engineering rooms, restaurant and multi-use games area (MUGA). The building features natural air circulation systems, augmented by air conditioning in key rooms and has a substantial geo-thermal heating system with bores covering a large section of the car park.

For the 2012 academic year, the former Sixth Form block of Ridley High School, which had avoided demolition with the rest of the former high school as it served as the site office and base for the academic and administrative staff developing the new Academy, was redeveloped to house the Sixth Form. Two large rooms with numerous computers named Study Centres, a common room, a careers office and an additional classroom were opened on the ground floor. The Emmanuel Schools Foundation central services staff, previously at Aykley Heads, Durham, moved shortly afterwards to the first floor of the newly named Trinity House.


In addition to the sports facilities on the North and South sites, the academy also owns the land of the former Delaval Middle School site which was developed into a cricket pitch with pavilion along with a number of other sports facilities.


The school has closed-circuit television cameras installed in all classrooms and corridors, a public address and lesson-change buzzer system and state-of-the-art safety and fire protection systems linked to its computerised building management system.

It has invested significantly in information technology infrastructure, with each teaching room including a teacher's personal computer, interactive whiteboard and ceiling-mounted audio system. Many rooms feature multiple computers and there are eight dedicated computer suites featuring thirty computers. Both sites have a wireless network enabling the use of laptop computers, smartphones and personal digital assistants.

There has also been major investment in audio visual equipment. The Lecture Theatre is equipped with a large high-definition video screen, with multiple input vision mixing functionality, six channel surround sound, a 48 channel sound mixing console with ethernet-based connectivity and high end loudspeakers. The Main Hall has a large, motorised lighting rig, lighting console, high-definition video screen, 48 channel sound mixing console, theatre-style technical communications system and pre-wired audio, visual, lighting control and ethernet connectivity. The Recording Studio is based around an Avid C|24 control surface and personal computer running Pro Tools.


The academy is led by Principal Gwyneth Evans, who was previously a Vice-Principal at sister school Emmanuel College, Gateshead.

From September 2009 to July 2010 Liz Clubbs, formerly Headteacher at South Beach First School, was the founding Principal of the primary years with Evans at that time leading the secondary years. It was announced in February 2010 that having overseen the transition from first school to primary school Clubbs would retire in July 2010. In May 2010 it was announced after a national recruitment search, Irene Watson, formerly Deputy Headteacher at South Beach First School and subsequently Vice Principal (Teaching and Learning) at Bede Academy was to be appointed Headteacher of Primary Years, with Gwyneth Evans assuming responsibility as Principal for the whole Academy. Watson has announced her intention to retire in April 2016.

During its initial development, Nigel McQuoid, former Principal of Emmanuel College, Gateshead and subsequently ESF's Director of Schools, was the Executive Principal of Bede Academy to whom the Principals of the Primary and Secondary Years reported. McQuoid left the organisation a few months prior to the completion of the building and the school's opening.

In 2013, Jonathan Winch, Principal of Emmanuel College, was appointed Executive Principal of Bede Academy. As of 2015, pending an organisation of the ESF group into a multi-academy trust, Winch has an Executive Principal role with oversight of the four schools in the Foundation.

School Life[edit]


The academy follows the National Curriculum and has academic specialists grouped into Mathematics, English, Science (including physics, chemistry and biology specialists), Engineering, Sport, Modern Foreign Languages (teaching French and German but running clubs for Spanish and Italian), History, Geography, Music, Drama and Philosophy, Theology and Ethics (encompassing religious, personal and social education) departments.


The academy publishes a newsletter, Bede Chronicle, once per term and an annual Year Book each autumn.


The academy regularly hosts events for students, parents and the local community. These have included concerts featuring the Reg Vardy Band, talent shows, quizzes and cookery competitions. Its major productions have so far included a musical version of George Orwell's Animal Farm in June 2010, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in March 2011, Lionel Bart's Oliver! in March 2012, William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in March 2013, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera in December 2013 and Charles Strouse's Annie in March 2015. The musical Les Misérables will be performed in October 2016.


The academy has a major focus on sporting activities and runs teams for a number of different sports, many of which have won local and regional titles. It competes in rugby, hockey, netball, cricket, rowing, fencing and tennis. It has also hosted summer schools and weekly coaching sessions with Newcastle United Football Club and the Newcastle Eagles basketball team.

The schools of the Emmanuel Schools Foundation also host the annual ESF Olympics, in which students participate against their peers from the other schools in the group.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°07′01″N 1°31′14″W / 55.11695°N 1.52058°W / 55.11695; -1.52058