NPCAT has announced a raft of new leadership appointments in its four secondary schools that it believes will help them build on their recent progress.

NPCAT CEO, Hugh Hegarty has announced new leaders for NPCAT secondary schools for September 2022

Current Unity City Academy head Andy Rodgers will take over the reins of 1,300-plus pupil Trinity Catholic College in Middlesbrough, Nicholas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust’s biggest school.

Current Trinity head Louise Dwyer becomes headteacher of Sacred Heart Catholic Secondary School in Redcar.

Heads of school at St Patrick’s Catholic College in Thornaby and St Peter’s Catholic College in South Bank – Deborah Law and Stephanie Garthwaite – have both been promoted to become headteachers.

Michael Burns, executive headteacher for the trust – and who led St Patrick’s from being rated Requires Improvement by Ofsted to Good – will continue his role and also take a lead on policy implementation across the trust’s secondary schools.

NPCAT chief executive officer Hugh Hegarty said he was delighted that Mr Rodgers has agreed to take up a new challenge at Trinity.

“We believe Andy is the right person to take the school forward,” he said. “He’s well known for his sterling work at Unity City Academy, having turned the school around and taken it from being rated Inadequate to Good in its latest inspection, which is a huge step. 

“Andy is honest, tenacious and determined. He wants to continue to grow the Catholic identity of the school, which has flourished under Mrs Dwyer, increase involvement in our parishes and celebrate our children’s successes.

“He’s ambitious and brave and has given up a role in which he’s proved himself because he believes, as we all do, that Trinity’s momentum of improvement can ensure it becomes one of the best schools in the region.”

Mr Hegarty said behaviour is a challenge for all secondary schools across the country. However, the trust, in collaboration with the Department for Education behaviour hub, is witnessing improvement in this area across all schools. 

Mr Burns will take a trust lead on secondary policy implementation, with behaviour seen as a key element of his role.

“Michael has a proven record of turning behaviour around and will lead on this across the trust,” he said.

“He will have a strategic oversight to ensure that expectations are clear and processes are being followed diligently.

“We have also appointed Deborah Law as headteacher at St Patrick’s, Stephanie Garthwaite as headteacher at St Peter’s and Louise Dwyer as headteacher of Sacred Heart.

“These talented leaders bring a richness and authenticity that has already seen all of them make a significant impact within their school communities.

“Our judgement that Trinity continues to make significant improvements was validated by Ofsted in its latest report.

“The report acknowledged that Covid has impacted efforts to make further strides forward.

“Ofsted recognised that we understand the school well and have a clear vision of what needs to be done to get where we want the school to be. 

“As with all our schools, it’s not only about Ofsted, it’s about genuine, meaningful school improvement, which is assessed as part of our secondary school improvement framework, led by Angela White.”

Over its two-day visit, Ofsted said it saw clear evidence of strengths and improvements in the quality of education and leadership, behaviour and attitudes, attendance and the sixth form. 

Positives highlighted include effective safeguarding and teaching about respect and tolerance and online safety and cyberbullying.  

It said: “Leaders from the trust and governors have a clear view of the school’s challenges and priorities. They are introducing a range of supportive measures to tackle behaviour and attendance.

“The pandemic has significantly hampered the ability for improvements to take root. There is a strategic plan in place for how leaders are moving the school’s improvement forwards.   

“New leaders at trust and school level are passionate about improving the school in difficult circumstances. Leaders have high expectations of pupils’ conduct and academic potential.   

“The curriculum is ambitious and designed to allow all pupils to build knowledge over time. Leaders are ambitious about developing the sixth form further.

“Leaders work persistently with a range of external agencies to ensure that pupils and families who need additional support are able to get it.      

“Leaders have introduced a range of strategies to encourage a calm environment. New lunchtime systems and lining up routines are beginning to have an impact.”     

Mr Hegarty believes the recently announced expansion of NPCAT – which over the coming months will see the addition of two Outstanding-rated secondary schools, All Saints in York and St Francis Xavier in Richmond – will help its other secondary schools to improve further.

He said: “Across the trust, we now have a suite of Catholic leaders who understand NPCAT’s expectations. They know where their schools are and what’s required to take them forward.

“We have put effective structures in place that are already showing improvements in teaching and learning.

“We still have a nut to crack in terms of attendance, as does the rest of Middlesbrough, but we know the causes and have a strategy and team of dedicated staff in place to address this.

“We know that through our ongoing pillars of support, our school leadership teams will continue to have the positive impact we want for every pupil and all staff.”

All the new NPCAT appointments will begin their new roles in September.