Good things come in threes for Sunderland school

Headteacher Graeme Shillinglaw celebrating with students and staff at Springwell Dene school after they received their third outstanding Ofsted report in a row.
Headteacher Graeme Shillinglaw celebrating with students and staff at Springwell Dene school after they received their third outstanding Ofsted report in a row.
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A SCHOOL is celebrating being one of the best in the country after gaining Ofsted’s top grade for the third time.

Springwell Dene School, which caters for some of Sunderland’s most troubled teens, is thought to be the only special needs school of its type in the country to be dubbed outstanding by inspectors a remarkable three times in a row.

Proud headteacher of the Swindon Road school, Graeme Shillinglaw, said the staff and students are thrilled about the report.

He said: “To say we are over the moon would be a massive understatement. It is a fantastic achievement.

“It is down to the consistent team of really dedicated staff we have, who are here for all the right reasons, they really care about these kids and want to see the best possible outcome for them.

“Our pupils are also very proud of their school.”

The school caters for secondary age pupils with a wide range of emotional, social and behavioural issues and many have very troubled backgrounds before arriving at the school.

In their report, Ofsted inspectors said: “The quality of personal, social and academic support provided by staff is outstanding, and is highly praised by both students and their parents or carers.

“Enjoyment levels are very high because of the varied but challenging curricular opportunities provided for all students and the consistently high-quality teaching that takes accurate account of the students’ varied intellectual, emotional and social needs.

“There is a shared vision for further improvements, which underpins the work of all in the school. Morale among staff and students is very high because they feel valued and involved in the life of the school.”

The inspectors said behaviour throughout the school is exemplary and students are keen for personal success and make a determined effort with their work.

They said: “The students generally get on very well with one another and their relationships with staff are excellent. Visitors are welcomed into the school and the students are eager to present themselves and the school in the best possible light. Students and their parents or carers are overwhelmingly positive about the school being a safe place to be; where students know how to take care of themselves and one another.”

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