New era dawns for Sheffield’s most improved school

Head teacher Chris Keen with year seven pupils at Firth Park Community Arts College
Head teacher Chris Keen with year seven pupils at Firth Park Community Arts College
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SHEFFIELD’S most improved school will become the city’s latest academy next spring - after being fast tracked by one of the biggest education sponsors in the country.

Firth Park Community Arts College is going into partnership with Academies Enterprise Trust - AET - which runs 90 schools across the country.

Firth Park will be AET’s first academy in Sheffield, and will look to build on successful foundations laid over recent years.

The selection process was carried out with help from the city council.

This summer saw the school’s GCSE results improve by 18.5 per cent, up from 26 per cent to 44 - the biggest leap in the city.

Headteacher Chris Keen is confident that further progress will be made next year.

“Our governors had clear criteria in mind when they chose our academy sponsor. We were looking for a strong track record in school improvement and a commitment to close ties with the community,” he said.

“We are hoping for a seamless transition in April to academy status, with the emphasis on continued good academic progress - although it will not be possible to repeat this year’s seismic shift.”

Governors are hoping that AET will oversee investment in Firth Park’s campus, which has already been undergoing refurbishment this year.

Other changes have seen a tightening up of school uniform rules, with jeans and trainers banned, as well as a smarter dress code for staff.

The school is keen to provide top quality work experience, with 32 Year 10s being put on ambassador programmes run by the NHS and the city’s cutlery companies.

Firth Park is also working hard to integrate around 120 new pupils who have arrived from eastern Europe, with six week emergency English courses proving effective.