Catholic girls’ school is Sunderland’s first outstanding secondary

Headteacher from St Anthony's RC school, Monica Shepherd with pupils from the school after finding out they are the first state secondary school in Sunderland to be rated outstanding by Ofsted.
Headteacher from St Anthony's RC school, Monica Shepherd with pupils from the school after finding out they are the first state secondary school in Sunderland to be rated outstanding by Ofsted.
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A CITY school is riding high as the first outstanding Sunderland secondary.

St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy is celebrating an amazing achievement of being rated outstanding in every aspect.

Although a few primary schools on Wearside have gained Ofsted’s top score, St Anthony’s is the first of the city’s 17 state secondary schools to hold the accolade.

Monica Shepherd, headteacher at the school, said: “It is an amazing achievement. Ultimately, the success is down to the wonderful staff and students we have and the support we get from the community, including parents and governors.”

In their report, inspectors heaped praise on the quality of teaching, the achievement of pupils and the leadership of the school.

They said: “The needs and interests of the students are paramount and education is something that is ‘done with the students’ rather than ‘to them’.

“It is clear that all staff and students feel extremely valued. All groups of students make outstanding progress and leave at the end of Year 11 with standards that are consistently well above those found nationally. Equality of opportunity is excellent.

“The effectiveness of the sixth form is outstanding. All students go on to higher education, training or employment.

“Students’ behaviour is outstanding. They are very thoughtful and considerate of others. The mature way in which they work and co-operate in lessons is a major factor in their success.

“They have an excellent understanding of all forms of bullying, including homophobic and racist bullying, and say that bullying just does not happen here.

“The academy’s promotion of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is particularly impressive.”

Andrea Shanks, chairman of governors at St Anthony’s, said the success represented many years of hard work by everyone involved with the school.

She said: “A result like this is the outcome of continuous hard work, commitment and professionalism.”

The pupils themselves said the outstanding grade is justified.

Year 7 pupil Emily Beadling, 11, said: “It is a really good experience coming here. The teachers always make the lessons fun.”

Alexa Clark, 16, who is in Year 11, said: “The teachers are really supportive, especially now we have loads of exams. You can ask them for whatever help you need.”

Deputy head girl Bridgette Dobinson, 17, who joined the school last year as a sixth form student, added: “You can’t imagine how good it is until you get here.

“They cater for everyone as an individual, and there are loads of opportunities.”