New Facilities at Wellfield School to Benefit Darlington College’s Sports Diploma Students

In Adults, Apprenticeships, Employers, In the Press, News, School Leavers, on the 26th, November 2014

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Niall Quinn meets pupils at Wellfield Community School

By Karl Simmonds

Darlington College will take advantage of new facilities at a County Durham community school for the course it runs in partnership with the Martin Gray Football Academy. NCTJ Journalism trainee Karl Simmonds took a look at the £7.6million school revamp in the company of footballing hero Niall Quinn.

Sunderland legend Niall Quinn has officially re-opened a North East school following a £7.6million refurbishment.

Wellfield Community School, in Wingate, County Durham, led by headteacher Linda Rodham has undergone a massive two-year renovation programme.

Quinn, who scored 61 goals in 203 appearances for Sunderland Football Club between 1996-2002, met staff, students and governors during a tour of the school’s new facilities.

He said: “This school is a wonderful success story. When you see what it was like four years ago, morale was low, a little bit like a club down in the Conference making its way up to the Premier League.

“That is what it feels like now and there is a great set of people here. I know the locality very well, and this has given it a big lift.”

Mr Quinn watched a dance demonstration, visited classrooms, answered questions from students and spoke about his footballing and business experiences.

“This school can be used as a blueprint for success. I hope it inspires students to be ambitious and to aim that little bit higher,” he added.

The School, rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted less than two years ago, has been improved, achieving successful year on year GCSE results in English and Mathematics.

It has also been rebranded, with a new uniform and badge introduced

Headteacher Mrs Rodham said: “In the Wellfield you see today, teaching is good or outstanding and we have developed lots of opportunities for our students outside of the classroom.

“We are very proud that Ofsted graded the school as good with outstanding for safety in March this year. We intend to build on this success.”

The tour also included an exhibition coaching session with students from the Martin Gray Football Academy, which in partnership with Darlington College runs a BTEC Extended Diploma in Sports. The course, which focuses on improving football skills and fitness with high level coaching, will be using facilities at the new-look Wellfield School from September 2015.

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