Name change for local schools

Posted on 25th July 2010 | in Community

There has been much talk and speculation over the recent announcement that Coquet High School, Amble Middle School and Druridge Bay Middle School will now be rebranded under one name: James Calvert Spence College.

Young people and the new school logo
Alex Carruthers (14), Kate McNaughton (10) and Thomas Fairbairn (12) and the new James Calvert Spence College logo

The Ambler spoke to David Hall, chair of governors about the reasoning behind their decision. He explained the background to the formation of a Federation, a single governing body which looks after the three schools. This came about in response to the need to address falling pupil numbers (which is a problem across the whole of Northumberland) and also the issue of restructuring from a three to two tier system which has taken place in other areas.

“Coquet High is the smallest High School in Northumberland. By making this decision we can standardise our approach across the three schools in terms of behaviour, rewards, teaching and learning policies. We can broaden opportunities for the students, sharing school trips for example. This way we make the decisions we think are best for the kids in this area. If we didn’t do this, the Local Authority would be looking to rationalise.”

David explained the reason for coming up with a totally new name for the three schools. “We are not ashamed of the previous names of the schools – far from it, but this new name will unite everyone and it’s not a takeover by one school over the others.

David Hall chair of governors and the new logo “Image is important. We want to attract high calibre staff. We want to unite staff and pupils behind one name to establish high quality education. We understand the kids have a connection with the current names, but we have to move on. Our ambition is to be an ‘Outstanding School’ within three to four years.”David explained that he grew up and was educated in Amble. “I’ve got a real personal sense about the schools and a passion about what the kids in this area have a right to.

“James Calvert Spence is an inspiration. We want to say to the young people; we can do this, you can do this. It is a sense of aspiration; for the kids to unlock their own potential and excel at whatever they want to do.”

“Because of the link with the name James Calvert Spence, we are already forging excellent links with Newcastle University and the Children’s Foundation.”
Each school will carry the same name, badge and logo and will be distinguished by the road they inhabit, Hadston Road, South Avenue and Acklington Road. The official name change will take place on 1st January 2011, but Amble Middle School will be the first to notice a difference. The building is being refurbished throughout the summer holiday with the new school colours.

The Ambler asked young people from Year 10 and from Amble Middle School how they felt on hearing the news. Most youngsters we spoke to said they had been told about the new name but didn’t understand why the change was needed.Here’s a selection of what they said:
“Coquet High is more of an indication of where you are, Druridge Bay, indicates where you are”

“They’re trying to make us sound posh.”

“I think it is a good idea because John Calvert Spence was a children’s doctor from Amble. He’s not really famous though”

“It’s stupid, why is it called a college? I’m ten, I’m not going to a college, I’m at a middle school.”

What do you think?

James Calvert Spence – who was he?

Sir James Calvert Spence

Sir James Calvert Spence, was born in Queen Street, Amble in 1892. He served in the First World War, after which he was awarded the Military Cross, followed by a Bar for acts of exemplary gallantry, and later became a national and internationally renowned social paediatrician.

The Yellow Brick Road Children’s Medical Research Centre at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary is officially dedicated to Sir James Spence. He died in 1954.

Family’s blessing
The children of Sir James have given their blessing to the renaming of the schools.
His daughter Barbara Brown said, “My brother, sister, and I, are so proud to think that you wish to rename your schools after our father.

He was a man who never forgot his roots and elected to focus his work in Northumberland, which he loved dearly. It is so appropriate that his name should be associated with the children”.


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