An ambitious new headteacher is hoping to help turn a Hartlepool school into an “internationally-recognised school of excellence”.
Stephen Hammond, 49, has started work at English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, in Catcote Road, Hartlepool, after replacing the retiring Michael Lee.
His appointment has coincided with a new period in the history of the school, which was formed in 1973.
There are plans for a new first-class building after English Martyrs was included in Phase 2 of the Priority School Building Programme.
Mr Hammond – who joins the school after five years as headteacher of St Aidan’s Catholic Academy, in Sunderland, and six years prior to that as deputy headteacher of St Michael’s Catholic Academy, in Billingham – has high hopes for its future.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to the challenge here.
There’s no reason why we can’t be an internationally-recognised school of excellenceStephen Hammond
“My aim is to take a school which is already very good to outstanding. The platform that has been left for me is a really solid one.
“I’ve found it to be a very warm and welcoming school, with very hard-working staff and a group of students who are a delight and pleasure to teach.
“There’s no reason why we can’t be an internationally-recognised school of excellence.”
Mr Hammond, who has lived in Hartlepool for 25 years, is planning to work closely with secondary schools to help all children in the town.
He added: “We’re going to look at the network of partnerships we’ve got and dip into the best available advice about how to move the school forward.
“English Martyrs will only be successful if every secondary school in the town is successful, and we want to work together with each of them to ensure every pupil has the best possible learning experience.
“We want to work together to improve the learning experience for youngsters across the town.
“We don’t pretend that we have all of the answers to everything – we are a learning community.
“We’re learning from the examples and good practices of other institutions.”
Mr Hammond still teaches RE and PE, and is looking forward to the planned new building.
He said: “We’re waiting for the official confirmation on what the new building will look like. We’re meeting with the relevant people in December.
“It will certainly give us the facilities to match our ambitions.”