Change of name to ‘cement links’

Ward Jackson Primary School headteacher Jan Brough with pupils (rear left to right) Emma Ashton, Jake Oates and Nathan Maitland (middle left to right) Lily Ashton, Lewis Robson, Shannon Smith-Dowson and Ben Rayne (front left to right) Kevin Zhaqng, Heidi Patterson and Lauryn Airson. Picture by FRANK REID

Ward Jackson Primary School headteacher Jan Brough with pupils (rear left to right) Emma Ashton, Jake Oates and Nathan Maitland (middle left to right) Lily Ashton, Lewis Robson, Shannon Smith-Dowson and Ben Rayne (front left to right) Kevin Zhaqng, Heidi Patterson and Lauryn Airson. Picture by FRANK REID

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A PRIMARY school is hoping councillors give the green light to a name change to “cement” its bond with its community.

If the teachers, pupils, governors and parents at Ward Jackson Community Primary School get their way, the school will be given a new title – Ward Jackson Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School.

Head teacher Jan Brough says the title-swap will complete the link between the school and the surrounding Burbank community and All Saints Church, in Stranton, after years of work to connect them.

And Mrs Brough says the plan – which would see the name changed at a minute past midnight on September 1 – has 100 per cent backing from staff, governors, children and parents.

Now all it needs is the go-ahead from Hartlepool Borough Council officers later this year.

Mrs Brough told the Mail: “Ward Jackson Primary School has taken great strides in recent years in creating a school that strives for excellence, is integrated into the local community and continues to ensure that our children have the very best start in life.

“In the light of the school’s caring, family ethos, the governing body decided to pursue Voluntary Aided Church of England Status and has worked alongside the Diocese of Durham Board of Education.

“Our aim is to cement the progress already made, increase the ways in which school can serve the community and continue the drive and passion for improvement over the years to come.

“If any school wishes to change its status it is a legal requirement to formally close it one day and open it the following day.

“This is simply a technical process to change our status from a community school to a voluntary aided Church of England school.”

Mrs Brough said there will be no “physical” changes at the school – save for a new emblem – and all of the staff and governors will remain the same.

She added: “It’s about the children’s aspirations for the future and it’s about strengthening the school’s role within the community.

“We believe that by changing the name we will cement our caring, family-orientated ethos for the children and cement our links with the Burbank community to give them a bigger sense of belonging.”

Since Mrs Brough gained headship in January 2007, she and her dedicated team of staff and governors, and parents, have worked tirelessly to build relationships with the Burbank area.

She said: “It was present when I arrived but it seems to have got stronger. “It’s not just to do with me driving this, it’s the parents and children and governors as well.”

The school offers its facilities to a church group on Sundays, children’s sports group COOL Club at weekends, the youth team from Hartlepool Fire Station and a lunch-time parent and toddler group.

It also makes regular visits to Stranton’s church and, alternatively, religious leaders often host assemblies at the Clark Street school.

Members of the public now have six weeks to lodge any objections or comments about the name-change proposals to the council’s Director of Child and Adult Services Nicola Bailey, at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road.