New headteacher drafted in to help struggling Wearside school

Washingon School.
Washingon School.
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A HEADTEACHER has been drafted in to help a Wearside school that is struggling to get out of special measures.

Washington School was placed in special measures by Ofsted in June last year and, after a recent revisit to monitor the situation, inspectors said inadequate progress is being made.

Headteacher at Thornhill school , John Hallworth

Headteacher at Thornhill school , John Hallworth

John Hallworth, headteacher at Thornhill School of Business and Enterprise, in Sunderland, has been appointed an executive head at Washington to help turn it around.

In June, Ofsted gave Washington School a huge list of areas to improve, including the impact of teaching on students’ learning, such as providing interesting and challenging lessons and better use of behaviour management policies, and improving leadership and management.

Last month, inspectors went back to the school, in Spout Lane, Concord, for their first monitoring visit and reported inadequate progress.

Their report said: “At the time of the previous inspection, achievement and attainment were inadequate. A similar picture still exists. Progress in lessons seen remains too slow for students of all abilities.

“There are too many students with a poor attitude to learning, exemplified by poor listening skills and low levels of personal concentration to meet the challenges of learning in lessons. There is too much teaching that is not sufficiently challenging to ensure that all students make progress in line with their known capabilities.”

Inspectors said there is still a significant minority of students whose behaviour is extremely disruptive and too many teachers lack a range of suitable strategies for dealing with it.

They said progress in overcoming the main weaknesses in leadership and management has been too slow, but there have been some positive moves forward.

Margaret Ferrie, Sunderland City Council’s chief inspector, said: “The council will continue to work closely with the governing body and staff at Washington School to maintain the improvements already being achieved.

“To accelerate that process the school has recently formed a collaborative working partnership with another successful Sunderland secondary school, Thornhill School of Business and Enterprise, to share expertise and best practice.”

She said Mr Hallworth has experience of working to support other schools and has had specialist training.

Michael O’Brien, headteacher at Washington School, said: “Everyone at the school will continue to work hard together to build upon the progress being made and achieve the levels of improvements that we are all aiming for.”