Sunderland school no longer ‘inadequate’, say inspectors

Teachers and pupils of Washington School celebrating their recently improved Ofsted report
Teachers and pupils of Washington School celebrating their recently improved Ofsted report
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TEACHERS at a once-struggling school are celebrating after a turnaround in fortunes.

Washington School was placed in special measures in June 2010 after being judged inadequate by Ofsted inspectors.

The city’s education authority then appointed Thornhill School headteacher John Hallworth as executive headteacher at the Spout Lane school in a bid to turn the situation around.

Mr Hallworth implemented structural changes in leadership at all levels of responsibility and led an unrelenting focus on improving standards of teaching and learning.

Now, after two years of hard work, the school has had the special measures label lifted after a rigorous review by the education watchdogs, which judged it satisfactory.

Inspectors spent half a week in school during which they spoke to many students, joining them not only in lessons but in the restaurant, social areas and in the yards at break and lunchtimes. All aspects of the school’s operations were included in the inspection visit.

Mr Hallworth said: “All associated with the school have responded tremendously well to the improvement agenda over the past year.

“The hard work has impressed Ofsted inspectors, and this year’s Year 11 students will be leaving with record GCSE results.

“The students are the real winners and will now have the opportunities in school that they deserve.”

Dorothy Butler, chairman of governors, said: “Everyone is delighted with the inspection outcome as it vindicates all the effort governors, staff and students have put in to improve Washington School’s prospects.

“We are now very much focused on even higher attainment for the future.”

In their recent report, the inspectors said: “Students’ achievement, which was judged inadequate at the previous inspection, is now satisfactory and improving quickly. This year’s results are on course to be in line with national averages for the first time since 2009.

“The quality of teaching has improved throughout the monitoring period since the previous inspection and is now almost always satisfactory or better, with an increasing proportion that is good or outstanding.

“Senior leaders and managers have made good progress since the first monitoring inspection visit in addressing identified weaknesses in teaching, behaviour and attainment.”

The inspectors said to continuing improving, the school needs to raise attainment in all subjects to average or better by continuing to monitor progress and to raise the overall profile of teaching quality to consistently good or better.

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