History of the Gateway

The last 6 or 7 years have been a period of huge transition for the school and one during which standards and outcomes have been markedly improved upon year on year. Having now developed a holistic provision the school is ready to take the next step of achieving excellence in all aspects of its work.

We moved in to brand-new, purpose-built accommodation in 2008 having previously been based in Northampton town in very poor accommodation. The original school was opened in 1973 and known as The Raeburn School. A competition was held to name the new school and was won by a former pupil, Michael Russell. Michael stated that, in his view, there would be so many opportunities to turn your life around at the new school that it would be like a gateway to better life chances.

Given that this suggestion so accurately reflected what we aspire to achieve here, pupils, staff, governors and parents voted by a huge majority to name the new school ‘The Gateway School’.

The long-awaited move kick-started a period of huge, consistent and sustained improvement in our provision and pupil outcomes and the building has proven to be effective in helping us manage very challenging young people (as it was designed to be) and in significantly broadening the content and choice within the curriculum.

The school is situated on a 55 acre site off the A43 just outside of Towcester. The land is owned by the St John’s Trust and the buildings by Northamptonshire County Council. The trust deed states that the land should be used for the betterment of the disadvantaged children of Northamptonshire.

The Trustees’ interpretation of ‘disadvantaged’ is that children on the site should be in some way socially disadvantaged and/or present challenging behaviour. Should the land cease to be used for this purpose then the deed states that it would have to be returned to a green-field site.

Given that there are 9 buildings on the site, including an 8 bed Children’s Home, this is unlikely to happen. The site was originally a large Children’s Home with Education on site accommodating up to 125 young people. With the changes made to corporate approaches to child care, particularly residential care, the 1990s saw a steep decline in the number of young people accommodated on the site. This has meant that in moving onto the site we have been able to take advantage of a number of opportunities to use additional accommodation.

Our part of the campus is currently made up of 5 buildings:

  • The School
  • The Vocational Learning Centre (VLC) – two buildings
  • Swimming pool and extra gymnasium
  • The House