From challenging times to the most improved schools in Harrogate: Inspirational Primary Schools

10 January 2020

New Park Primary Academy and Starbeck Primary Academy, both part of Northern Star Academies Trust celebrate incredible Key Stage Two outcomes and are ranked 1st and 2nd highest performing primary schools in the Harrogate region in the DfE Primary Schools Performance Tables 2019 (published in December 2019).

In 2017, Northern Star Academies Trust appointed Robert Mold as the new Headteacher of New Park Primary Academy and with his dynamic leadership, the support of the Trust and a united school team, the school has rapidly transformed to the third highest placed school in North Yorkshire and highest in Harrogate. As a maintained LA school results for the school had been significantly below national for a long time, now, three years on the school is celebrating outcomes that place it in the top 2% in the country for progress and significantly above national average on attainment. This is testament to a consistent focus on high academic standards, getting behaviour right and improved governance. The introduction of a Community Farm and an all-encompassing vision to place Reading and Books at the very heart of the curriculum model make New Park a highly unique and special environment for learning.

Robert Mold, Headteacher of New Park Primary Academy, said:

I am incredibly proud of the exciting journey New Park is on. Our ‘Good’ OFSTED report in September 2018 underlined the positive changes we had made and our results this year show the impact of this work.

We are fortunate to have a fantastic team of committed teachers and associate staff, all of whom work tirelessly to ensure our children achieve their full potential.

In the last three years we have secured over £1.4m to improve our school buildings and classrooms, made sweeping changes to our school curriculum and seen a surge in numbers joining our Nursery and Reception classes. We are full of hope and excitement for the future of our brilliant school.

In April 2017, the then Starbeck Community Primary School was placed in Special Measures. Shortly after the judgement Garry de Castro Morland was appointed as an experienced Headteacher and Richard Walker, a parent, became the new Chair of Governors. Carefully and systematically they both led significant change in leadership and governance resulting in an incredible Ofsted report and the judgement of GOOD in May 2019 with notable quotes ‘With quiet determination, integrity and a belief in discovering the best in people, the headteacher has won the hearts and minds of his team. Leading by example, he has positively transformed the school since the previous inspection’. Key Stage Two results in 2019 further substantiated the high quality education delivered by the school with 83% of pupils achieving expected standard in Reading, Writing and Mathematics (National average 65%, North Yorkshire average 63%, Source: DFE Performance Tables 2019)

Both schools are highly inclusive and community focused first and foremost, and vehemently determined to support all children to achieve the best possible start in education. To find out more about their daily experiences visit @NewParkPri and @StarbeckPrimary on Twitter or Facebook.

Starbeck Primary
Starbeck Primary

Garry de Castro-Morland, Headteacher, Starbeck Primary Academy:

We are delighted with the outstanding outcomes and the progress made by our children which in all cases have been well above or above the national averages this year. This, combined with our rapid improvements over the last couple of years as recognised in our recent highly positive OFSTED inspection, are down to the dedication and hard work of our staff, children and school community. Joining Northern Star Academies Trust in September has been a further highlight, and we are excited to have become part of such an inclusive and forward-thinking trust who fully support our future plans


Robert Mold is the Headteacher at New Park Primary Academy
Robert Mold is the Headteacher at New Park Primary Academy

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