Turnaround school celebrates massive success

Staff and pupils at Usworth Grange Primary School have plenty to smile about following the latest official commendation of being a good school with many outstanding features. Teacher Simon Wells and head teacher Leigh Ford are pictured with some of the school's pupils as they start off the new year on a high note.
Staff and pupils at Usworth Grange Primary School have plenty to smile about following the latest official commendation of being a good school with many outstanding features. Teacher Simon Wells and head teacher Leigh Ford are pictured with some of the school's pupils as they start off the new year on a high note.
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IN just two years a primary school has gone from failing to celebrating.

The pupils and staff at Usworth Grange Primary School were thrilled when Ofsted inspectors during their latest visit said they were good, with outstanding features,

Staff and pupils at Usworth Grange Primary School have plenty to smile about following the latest official commendation of being a good school with many outstanding features. Teacher Simon Wells and head teacher Leigh Ford are pictured with some of the school's pupils as they start off the new year on a high note.

Staff and pupils at Usworth Grange Primary School have plenty to smile about following the latest official commendation of being a good school with many outstanding features. Teacher Simon Wells and head teacher Leigh Ford are pictured with some of the school's pupils as they start off the new year on a high note.

Leigh Ford, who took over the headship of the Marlborough Road school just three weeks before it was placed in special measures in 2010, said the change is down to a huge amount of hard work from everyone involved.

“It has been a massive whole team effort,” she told the Echo. “With everyone working together to turn things around.”

Ms Ford said many members of staff left the Washington school around the same time as the previous headteacher, and everyone remaining had to undergo big changes.

They included extra training for teachers and bringing in new people with expertise in their fields.

She said: “The team we have here now is really very strong.

“You wouldn’t think a school could be changed so much in two years, but we have done it and everyone is delighted.”

She added: “The children’s attitudes have been brilliant.

“It took a while for them to realise they had to work very hard in every single lesson, but they have done it and it has paid off.

“The Sats results were great. The number of children getting the higher level five was almost double the national average.”

In their report into Usworth Grange Primary, the inspectors said: “This is a good school.

“The headteacher and the new governing body have taken a strong lead in driving significant change and improvement in the last 18 months.

“Children make a good start in the Early Years Foundation Stage because the teaching is good.

“Reading, writing and mathematics are taught very well across the school.

“Good teaching ensures all pupils from different backgrounds achieve well and make good progress.

“Behaviour and attendance have significantly improved and pupils say they feel very safe.

“Parents, pupils, and staff are highly positive about the changes made by the headteacher and the impact they are making on learning, achievement and behaviour.”

To continue improving the school needs to ensure more teaching is outstanding by sharing best practice, and providing professional development tailored to individual teacher’s needs and to make sure pupils make excellent progress appropriate to their age and capability.

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