Gold award for team of dedicated and inspirational teachers

Newnham Middle School Gold Quality Mark - from left, Ruth Wilkes, Head Teacher; Jenni Gaytor, Deputy Head; Luke Skeel, undergraduate volunteer;  Donna Hannent, ITT Coordinator and Head of English.
Newnham Middle School Gold Quality Mark - from left, Ruth Wilkes, Head Teacher; Jenni Gaytor, Deputy Head; Luke Skeel, undergraduate volunteer; Donna Hannent, ITT Coordinator and Head of English.

Staff and pupils at Newnham Middle School in Bedford are celebrating a top quality mark.

The school has been awarded the Gold Quality Mark for Professional Development by the Institute of Education, University College London (UCL) which recognises that professional learning is a strength within the school.

The award comes at an exciting time in Newnham’s development towards an all-through federated school, Castle Newnham.

Among key strengths identified by assessors included that staff recognise their responsibility for their own professional learning, have freedom to innovate and keep up with new initiatives that will directly impact teaching and learning.

It was also acknowledged that the head and deputy head are “inspirational and deeply passionate and display an infectious enthusiasm for professional development and that there is an atmosphere of openness and professional trust which is refreshing.”

Head teacher Ruth Wilkes said: “The application for the quality mark was a rigorous process, led by our deputy head, Jenni Gaytor, which gave us an opportunity to really reflect on the impact of our staff training and development as well as plan for future initiatives.

“We have a superb team of staff, dedicated to their own development as professionals, which of course has great benefits for the pupils. The atmosphere of enthusiasm among our staff also means we are popular when it comes to the recruitment of both primary and secondary colleagues and high-quality support staff.

“Many of our staff are engaged in significant training, often in their own time, as we develop our all-through model of education. We were delighted that this was recognised by our assessor. The award is accredited by the world-renowned Institute of Education that is now part of University College London and we are one of the first schools outside of London to gain the quality mark.”

As Newnham is the first school in this area to be awarded this quality mark they have been invited by the institute to be part of the verification process for other schools.