“I couldn’t be more proud” – Wearside headteacher reacts to good Ofsted report

“Ecstatic” staff at Barnwell Academy are proud of their school and it’s children after being judged to be a good school, with Osted inspectors recommending a follow-up inspection with the possibility of being deemed outstanding.

The school was praised for its curriculum provision which was designed to “match the needs of the pupils” with a prioritisation of reading and the capacity of pupils to “revisit aspects of their learning”.

The school, which is located in Penshaw, was subject to a Section 8 inspection, a shorter two-day-inspection of previously judged good schools to see if standards are being maintained.

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Writing in his report, lead inspector David Milligan believes the school is displaying qualities in-keeping with an outstanding school and has recommended a longer Section 5 inspection to confirm this status.

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He stated: “There’s enough evidence of improved performance to suggest the school could be judged outstanding if we were to carry out a Section 5 inspection now.”

After being informed of the judgement, headteacher Ashley Emmerson said: “We are proud of this judgement and particularly the fact the inspectors believe we are on the way to being an outstanding school.

"I couldn’t be more proud of the staff who were elated when I told them the outcome. The most pleasing aspects of the report are where it recognised the “excellent quality of education” and that pupils’ achievements are really high.

Barnwell Academy pupils celebrate the school's good Ofsted report with headteacher Ashley Emmerson and Deputy Headteacher Kris Sadler.

"The report also highlighted that the pupils’ behaviour was “exemplary” and this is a real testament to the staff and children. In many ways the report confirmed what we already know – that the children here get a really good deal.”

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The school was commended for its learning environment in which “corridors and classrooms are full of smiles” with “happy, kind and polite” pupils who “celebrate their peers’ successes with genuine warmth”.

The report was fulsome in its praise of provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Lead inspector David Milligan stated: “Leaders have high expectations for pupils with SEND. They are determined that support for pupils with SEND matches pupils’ knowledge of the subject. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. SEND plans are written with targets that are specific to each individual pupil.”

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The report also recognised the pivotal role the school has played in supporting children and their families during the pandemic.

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