It’s all change at Hucknall’s Holgate school with a new name, new uniform and new buildings planned - creating ‘exciting times’ ahead.
With record exam results this year, the school transformed to academy status at the start of the new term in September as news broke that the current head will be leaving at Christmas for pastures new.
“The future is bright for Holgate,” said principal Wayne Barsby, who has led the school for three years. “We have made big strides forward and we will be taking last year’s success as the most improved local authority school in Ashfield into the future.”
The school can boast of achieving 57 per cent 5A*-Cs GCSEs including maths and English this year, which represents an increase of 18 per cent on last year’s figures closing the gap significantly with Hucknall’s National Academy.
“We take pride in our students and staff’s achievements in this year’s exams and we are keen to exceed this performance in next year’s exams.”
Holgate has joined the Diverse Academy Learning Partnership (DALP), the same academy sponsor as neighbouring National and ‘outstanding’ Tuxford school.
“It brings many benefits to Holgate,” explains Mr Barsby. “It means we can access support where needed, feed our experience back into other schools and it provides our staff and leaders with development opportunities.”
A number of consultations with parents and staff took place before the decision was made by the governing body in spring.
“There has already been some visible improvements around school including a new reception area, carpets and the refurbishment of the music rooms,” added the head. “And we are currently seeking planning permission for a new science block and hoping to access funds to replace the mobile classrooms with permanent buildings.”
The new uniform is now being proudly worn by students across the school with an upgrade to a blazer giving a smarter appearance.
“The school council were consulted on the uniform and we have had an overwhelmingly positive response to it both in school and in the wider community,” added Mr Barsby. “It enhances the first impression of our students and given them a sense of pride in themselves and their school.”
Mr Barsby is now preparing to leave Holgate behind to return to his former school in Rotherham.
“I have had an enjoyable three years here at Holgate and believe the team, students and governors will continue to move the school forward.
“I am sad to be leaving and it is with regret I won’t see the new block built and I haven’t achieved everything I set out to do, but I know the school is in very good hands and the students represent Hucknall well.
“These are exciting times. The school has a strong sense of ambition and is now well placed for the challenges ahead.”
Chairman of Governors, Kate Turner, echoed Mr Barsby’s views: “We will be sorry to see Wayne go but he leaves behind a strong team who will have no problem in getting the school to ‘outstanding’.
“There is a fantastic atmosphere at Holgate and we have managed to secure an excellent interim principal, Mrs Caroline Saxelby from Tuxford, who will continue to move the school forward.”