TOP MARKS: Circumstances no barrier for two ‘remarkable’ local schools

Headteacher, Karen Porteous with her teaching staff, from left, Anna Higham, Carly Powell, Kirstie Hindle, Ben Wray, Beki Vodden-Page and Heidi Ketton.
Headteacher, Karen Porteous with her teaching staff, from left, Anna Higham, Carly Powell, Kirstie Hindle, Ben Wray, Beki Vodden-Page and Heidi Ketton.
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Two north east Derbyshire schools have been recognised as being amongst the best in the country.

Both Barrow Hill and Poolsbrook Primary Schools have recently achieved accolades, despite serving some of the most deprived areas in Derbyshire.

Headteacher, Karen Porteous with some of the pupils at Barrow Hill Primary Academy.

Headteacher, Karen Porteous with some of the pupils at Barrow Hill Primary Academy.

The schools are both part of the Cavendish Learning Trust, and work in partnership with two other local schools, Netherthorpe and Whitecotes, to share good practice.

Barrow Hill Primary School have been designated a National Support School and their headteacher has qualified as a National Leader of Education.

And just three miles away, Poolsbrook Primary School came fifth out of 125 similar schools in the recently announced school ‘league tables’.

The headteacher at Barrow Hill, Karen Porteous, said: “It is an exciting time for schools. I am proud our school’s commitment to work together with other schools in order to provide an excellent education at the heart of the community has been recognised by the department for education.”

It is an exciting time for schools. I am proud our school’s commitment to excellent education.

Headteacher, Karen Porteous

Karen Porteous is one of just 70 headteachers across the country to be appointed to the role of National Leader of Education (NLE).

NLEs, along with staff in their school - designated a national support school (NSS) - use their success and professionalism to provide additional leadership capability in other schools.

Many NLEs/NSSs report improved outcomes at the schools they support.

Roger Pope, Chair of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, said: “It’s fantastic that heads like Karen Porteous have the passion and ambition to help improve the life chances of young people, not just in their own but in other schools as well.

Karen Porteous, Headteacher at the Barrow Hill Primary Academy.

Karen Porteous, Headteacher at the Barrow Hill Primary Academy.

“The aim of national leaders of education is to drive improvement in underperforming schools. We now have over 1,200 NLEs and we’re working to increase this number further to spread educational excellence everywhere.”

Trust manager, Alan Senior, said the two awards represented the highest recognition a school and a headteacher can get.

Mr Senior added that Barrow Hill’s journey from ‘special measures’ in 2011 to national centre of excellence was ‘remarkable’.

Headteacher, Karen Porteous at her Barrow Hill Primary Academy desk.

Headteacher, Karen Porteous at her Barrow Hill Primary Academy desk.