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WELCOME … Dan Sydes welcomes Hilary French outside of NEF UTC, which is under construction in Newcastle’s Stephenson Quarter

North East Futures UTC appoints respected headteacher to key role

ONE of the north east’s most experienced and respected headteachers has joined the region’s newest school.

Hilary French is stepping down from her role as headteacher at Newcastle High School for Girls (NHSG) in Jesmond and will join North East Futures UTC (NEF UTC) as Assistant Principal.

As the former head of Central Newcastle High School, Hilary oversaw the creation of NHSG through a merger between Central High and Newcastle Church High. Under her leadership the school was one of the best performing in the region.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at NHSG, and creating a new school, not to mention a new brand, in a new multi-pound building was an exhilarating experience. I felt ready for a new challenge and this opportunity came up,” explained Hilary.

“I have a lot to offer, but also a lot to learn and I’m excited to be joining the UTC. Dan Sydes is an exceptional Principal and has come from the UK’s most successful UTC, and I think together we will be a formidable partnership leading a popular, high achieving school that will benefit both our students and the region.

“The UTC fits a wider belief that I’ve long held – that schools have to work more closely with the business community in order to fill the region’s skills gap. That’s what the UTC will do; it will provide the foundations for young people here to have fantastic careers at fantastic companies in a fantastic area.”

Hilary’s parents were both teachers, as is her daughter. Born and brought up in Low Fell, Gateshead, she attended Sacred Heart Grammar School in Fenham before graduating with a History degree from St Anne’s College, Oxford.

After a PGCE at Durham University, Hilary began her teaching career in Buckinghamshire before joining Thornhill Comprehensive School in Sunderland. She moved to Dame Allan’s School in Newcastle, then Teesside High School and then Central as headteacher. NE Futures UTC welcomes applicants with an interest in a career in digital technology or health for a place in Year 10 and Year 12 this September. Applications can be made online at www.nefuturesutc.co.uk.

“It’s good to be involved at the start of the UTC and it’s encouraging to know that we have so many students already signed up. We have a few places left in our sixth form, but I’d urge parents to act swiftly to guarantee a place with us,” Hilary explained.

“Our relationship with some of the region’s leading digital and tech companies, the NHS and Academic Health Science Network gives us a real edge and will be fundamental to our success. They’ve provided us with mentors for every student and are also helping us with guaranteed apprenticeships.

“We’ll be a high performing school producing excellent GCSE, A-level and BTEC results for our young people to go on to universities, degree apprenticeships or other pathways into work. But what we can also give students interested in technology or health sciences is real practical experience of what specific jobs are really like through practical projects we’ll be running with our industry partners.

“We’ll be looking at real career paths for our young people, not just getting them through exams,” she added.

Dan Sydes, Principal at NEF UTC, said: “We’re obviously delighted to welcome Hilary and look forward to her playing a key role in our development. Because of her vast experience at some of the region’s best performing schools, I think her appointment will be further reassurance to both students and parents that we will deliver a first-class education to our learners.”

The school, situated in the emerging Stephen Quarter behind Newcastle Central Station, is sponsored by the University of Sunderland and supported by companies such as Ubisoft, Sage and Accenture as well as organisations like the NHS.

If you want to know more about NEF UTC, two roadshow events are being held over the next few days: at the Carnegie Building in Fenham (Sunday, April 22, 2.30pm – 4.30pm) and Ponteland Middle School (Tuesday, April 24, 6pm -7.30pm).

If you’re interested in your company providing mentors to NEF UTC, email Dan Sydes at dan@nefuturesutc.co.uk.

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