Inspectors say struggling Sunderland school is improving

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EDUCATION bosses say a Wearside school with serious weakness is improving.

Following the latest monitoring visit to Sandhill View School in Sunderland, Ofsted chiefs say things are getting better.

In December the Grindon Lane school was dubbed as inadequate overall, however, following the latest visit inspectors said it is making “reasonable progress towards the removal of the serious weaknesses designation”.

The latest findings, published this month, said: “There are signs of improvement in the work of the school, but senior leaders recognise, correctly, that there is still some way to go to secure the required improvements.

“The headteacher and deputy headteacher now have a clearer view of what needs to be done to improve learning at the school and have eradicated the majority of the remaining inadequate teaching through a process of more rigorous monitoring and better targeted support.

“However, inspection evidence confirms that the progress of students is still limited by a lack of challenge in some lessons.”

They said there have been notable improvements in the capacity and quality of many middle leaders, especially in English, mathematics and science, the systems for gathering information about students’ progress have improved and the governors’ challenge group is beginning to show its effectiveness.

Inspectors said teachers are being provided with personalised training and support to help them to improve, behaviour is improving both in lessons and around the school and attendance is improving.

But, they said more needs to be done to ensure the quality of teaching improves much more rapidly and the gap in attainment between those students supported by the pupil premium and those who are not is not closing fast enough.

Last month is was announced that Sandhill View had applied to become part of the Southmoor Academy Trust.

Current head of Sandhill View, Richard Bain, is set to retire this summer, and if the merger goes ahead, Dr Phil Ingram, principal at the high achieving Southmoor Academy, will temporarily step into the role of head of Sandhill View before a new permanent school leader is appointed.

If the merger goes ahead then both schools will remain separate organisations with their own identities.