Thomas Hepburn Community Academy

Thomas Hepburn Community Academy (formerly Thomas Hepburn Community School) is a coeducational secondary school with academy status, located in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England. The school serves about 700 pupils aged 11–16.[1]

Thomas Hepburn Community Academy
Swards Road

Felling, Gateshead
, ,
NE10 9UZ

Coordinates54.9444°N 1.562°W / 54.9444; -1.562
Department for Education URN140035 Tables
ChairMr J Mertz[1]
Executive PrincipalMrs J M Nolan
Head of AcademyMiss Kate Wright
Age11 to 16
HousesAtwood, Forster, Jude, Larkin
Colour(s)Purple and Grey


Thomas Hepburn Community School was founded in 1990 following the merger of Sheriff Hill and Highfield Schools, based at the Highfield site. The original headmaster was Mr. C.B. Buddle who had previously been headmaster at Sheriff Hill.

In 2009 the school started an extensive rebuild project which saw the demolition of North and South block, the school hall, sports hall and gym as well as the refurbishment of the Technology block which now is home to the Art, Humanities and ICT departments. The Lifelong Learning building was refurbished over the summer break in 2011.

In 2012 Thomas Hepburn was judged to be "Unsatisfactory" by Ofsted, and the 2012 Exam results placed the school among the 200 lowest attaining schools in the country.

In January 2013 the Department of Education made the decision to convert the school into an academy, which formally occurred in October 2013. The school was then renamed Thomas Hepburn Community Academy.

In 2015 a new system of a "mini school" took place, letting the year 7 students be free from the older students.


In February 2017, the academy was rated 'Inadequate' by Ofsted. The report said almost all pupils failed to achieve good enough qualifications and the brightest pupils weren’t fulfilling their potential, while poorly planned teaching saw academic strugglers punished.

Inspectors said teachers “settle too often for incomplete work or work of a poor standard”, and pupils who missed lessons weren’t helped to catch up, and quickly fell behind. Meanwhile, behaviour was described as sub-standard.

The report said: “The majority of pupils have a positive attitude to learning but a significant number of pupils purposely disrupt learning for themselves and others.[2]

These issues have been ongoing seemingly since the school was formed.


  1. "Thomas Hepburn Community School - Inspection Report". Ofsted. 6 April 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  2. Graham, Hannah (2 February 2017). "Bad behaviour and poor grades - Gateshead school is 'inadequate'". nechronicle. Retrieved 12 July 2017.

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