Sunderland free school making improvements, find Ofsted inspectors

Grindon Hall Christian School
Grindon Hall Christian School
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Sunderland’s only free school is on the up, say education bosses.

Grindon Hall Christian School was thrown into controversy late last year when it was placed in special measures by Ofsted chiefs.

However, following a monitoring visit, inspectors have said the school is making reasonable progress towards the removal of special measures and the action plans are fit for purpose.

Initially, Ofsted chiefs said the school, in Nookside, needed to urgently improve the quality and impact of leaders and that behaviour and safety of pupils and the sixth form provision were inadequate.

Parents were left outraged by the inspectors’ judgement that pupils were intolerant to different faiths and cultures and hundreds joined a support group backing their school.

Headteacher Chris Gray made an official complaint to Ofsted about what was seen as hostile questioning of pupils and said the initial report lacked any sense of proportion.

Following the latest monitoring visit report, Mr Gray said: “We are pleased that Ofsted has highlighted that our pupils feel safe and that bullying is rare and dealt with effectively. This has always been the case and we are relieved that this has now been recognised.

“We are also pleased that Ofsted recognises how well- behaved, polite, helpful and confident our pupils are. Anyone who has ever visited Grindon Hall knows this to be the case.

“We are slowly putting behind us the disappointing report late last year that caused so much upset amongst our pupils, parents and staff, who knew that it did not reflect the truth about the school.

“Our strong published exam results demonstrate what a good school this is and we were pleased to be rated amongst the North East’s top ten schools – and best in Sunderland – by the independent Real Schools Guide last month.

“The challenge for us now is to address the remaining issues identified with focus and determination.”