Watch as headteacher describes how ‘thrilled’ staff wept tears of joy after good Ofsted judgement for Sunderland school

Staff at a Sunderland school wept tears of joy after the academy was judged as good following its latest Ofsted inspection.

Inspectors highlighted the “strong relationships” between children and teachers at Ryhope Infant School Academy and the good behaviour shown by the pupils which is built on respect.

The report praised the school for their use of the local environment to engage children in learning about their own town.

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Inspectors said: “Pupils show enthusiasm when they talk about the changes over time in Ryhope. They are aware, for example, of when there

used to be a coal mine on the field.

"Leaders make sure pupils have meaningful opportunities to visit the local community. Pupils take part in practical activities, such as a visit to Ryhope beach to practise fieldwork skills for geography.

"They also learn to be good citizens through activities such as the Easter Parade in Ryhope. They enjoyed decorating a local shop window with a nativity scene and winning third place in the Scarecrow Competition at Roker Park.”

After being informed of the judgement, headteacher Tammy Allen said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to get this judgement and I’m so proud of the staff, children and the support we receive from parents. The staff work really hard for the children and the report really reflects that.

Ryhope Infant School Academy headteacher Tammy Allen with some of the school's pupils.

"When I informed the staff of the judgement there was a massive cheer and some tears of joy. They were absolutely thrilled their hard work had been recognised. There was also a huge sigh of relief.”

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Mrs Allen was particularly pleased the report recognised the focus on children’s literacy and support provided for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Lead inspector Kathryn McDonald said: “Staff have expert knowledge of early reading and phonics. Leaders ensure there is high quality teaching of reading right from the start in Reception. Pupils who need support with reading receive it quickly.

Ryhope Infant School Academy headteacher Tammy Allen said staff were "absolutely thrilled" with their good Ofsted judgement.
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"Staff use assessment effectively to ensure books are well matched to pupils’ knowledge of letters and the sounds they make. As a result, all pupils learn to read fluently.

"Pupils enjoy the stories staff read to them. They often join in retelling stories they know. Teachers check that pupils understand new vocabulary. This helps pupils to understand what is being read to them.

"The expert knowledge of the special educational needs coordinator ensures there are clear systems in place for identifying pupils with SEND. Staff know pupils and their needs well.

"They adhere to the small steps in pupils’ support plans, so that pupils with SEND can learn well.”

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Ms McDonald also described the academy’s extra-curricula provision as a “strength of the school”.

She added: “Pupils enjoy ukulele, violin and tennis lessons. They sing in the school choir and take part in the ‘Big Sing’. Some pupils were successful in reaching the regional finals for gymnastics in 2021.”

The judgement certainly won the approval of the pupils.

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Leila Wisbeck, seven, said: “I feel proud we are a good school. My teachers are caring and kind and help me with my learning. I love doing History where we have been learning all about Ryhope.”

Evie Thomson, five, said: “My teacher makes the lessons fun.”

Ted Shaw, six, added: “I’m proud we got a good. I like learning and the teachers make the lessons fun.”