Sunderland’s biggest primary school is praised by Ofsted

Northern Saints Primary School headteacher Steve Williamson and assistant headteacher Diane Curley with pupils celebrating the praise received from Ofsted.
Northern Saints Primary School headteacher Steve Williamson and assistant headteacher Diane Curley with pupils celebrating the praise received from Ofsted.
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WEARSIDE’S biggest primary is fulfilling its vision of being a community school.

Northern Saints CE Primary School opened its doors in September 2013 with 525 pupils, bringing two schools together.

What we set out to do was a joint venture to create one school which could provide much more, and it’s good to know we were right.

Headteacher Steve Williamson

An initial £1million transformation of the previous Hylton Red House Primary School premises allowed for the merger with Bishop Harland CE Primary to create Northern Saints, aimed at being a community school.

Now, following their first visit to the Rotherham Road school, Ofsted inspectors have praised the outcome.

The school was rated good in every area and headteacher Steve Williamson said everyone involved in the creation of Northern Saints is delighted their hard work has paid off.

He said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the report. We couldn’t get outstanding because we haven’t been open long enough to produce the data, but we are delighted with what the inspectors said. What we set out to do was a joint venture to create one school which could provide much more and its good to know we were right.”

Although a Church of England school, Northern Saints’ aim was to welcome families of all faiths or none, and Mr Williamson said it was pleasing the inspectors found the school to be inclusive.

In their report, the inspectors said the achievement of children is good, teaching is good and pupils behave well.

They said: “The school is a secure environment in which to learn and pupils say that they feel very safe. The early years provision is a very well led and effective part of the school where children thrive. Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is strong. Traditional British values are developed through much of what pupils do in the school.

“Equality of opportunity is central to all that the school does. The school works hard to foster good relations, tackle discrimination, and to remove any barriers to learning and make sure that all pupils have the same opportunities to do their best.”

“The headteacher, senior leaders and the governing body have skilfully guided this new school through its first year, bringing two different schools together to create a welcoming and happy community. Close attention to detail and a sharp focus on teaching and pupils’ achievement have meant that both have improved.”

To improve further, the school has been told it needs to work with parents to continuing improving attendance rates and strive towards all teaching being outstanding.