‘No frills’ private school could expand into Sunderland

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A ‘no frills’ private school could expand into Sunderland one day.

The Independent Grammar School (IGS), in Durham, has had the results of its first Ofsted inspection, and just two terms in, the government watchdog thinks its standard so far has been ‘Good’.

But, despite plans to one day outgrow the city, principal Chris Gray said he could not ‘commit’ on where the school might expand first.

He said: “Our priority is to consolidate what we’ve got here [in Durham], before we think about moving on.

“I think what we’re proving now is that we can walk, but beginning to run is a very different matter.

“We do have plans to expand, but nothing specific, but Sunderland is one of the areas to look at.”

The government gave IGS the green light to open in June last year (2018), offering what it called a ‘no frills’ private education for £2,700 – or just £52 a week over the course of a calendar year.

The school, in Claypath, was jointly founded by Mr Gray and James Tooley, Professor of Education Policy at Newcastle University.

Mr Gray was previously headteacher at Grindon Hall Christian School, who resigned his post after the school was placed in special measures by Ofsted chiefs.

At IGS however, inspectors said all standards were being met a ‘caring and ambitious school’ had been established.

But a report, published today, Monday, May 7, added the quality of teaching and some areas of leadership needed to be improved for the school to move beyond its current ‘Good’ rating.

Mr Gray said: “I think there are some pleasing comments [in the report] and we’re happy that as such a young school, only two terms into its life, we’ve managed to achieve a ‘Good’ report.”

He added: “We know there’s a lot of great schools out there, but we also believe in choice and that parents should be able to choose.”

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service