Sunderland free school placed in special measures

Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland.
Grindon Hall Christian School in Sunderland.
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EDUCATION bosses have put the city’s only free school into special measures.

Following their latest visit to Grindon Hall Christian School Ofsted inspectors said the school is inadequate and needs to urgently improve the quality and impact of leaders.

In their report into the Nookside school, inspectors said the quality of leadership, behaviour and safety of pupils and the sixth form provision are all inadequate.

And, the quality of teaching, achievement of pupils and early years provision all require improvement.

However, headteacher, Chris Gray, who recently made an official complaint to Ofsted about the ‘hostile’ questioning of pupils, said the report lacks any sense of proportion.

In their report, inspectors said: “Leaders do not have effective systems in place to ensure that the much needed actions to improve teaching and pupils’ achievement can be implemented swiftly.

“Pupils are not adequately safeguarded.

“The curriculum does not adequately prepare pupils for life in modern Britain. Pupils show a lack of respect and tolerance towards those who belong to different faiths, cultures or communities.”

They stated a list of other issues, including, lax recruitment procedures, prejudice-based bullying not being tackled effectively enough and discrimination through racist or homophobic language.

Inspectors added that leaders have failed to address weaknesses in pupils’ writing, teachers do no demonstrate high enough expectations, pupils’ behaviour needs improvement and children in early years do not make as much progress as they should.

Grindon Hall, a former private school, which currently caters for 590 students aged four-18, opened as a state-funded free school in September 2012.

Mr Gray, said: “To issue a report that grades the best performing secondary state-funded school in Sunderland (latest published GCSE results) as the worst defies all common sense and


“We take any criticism seriously and aspire to the highest standards for our pupils. We continually strive to be better, but this report, prompted by the new “British Values” rules, lacks any sense of proportion.

“We are a Christian school. Under our funding agreement and the law, we have a duty to prioritise the teaching of the Christian faith. At the same time, we make sure our children respect people of all faiths and none.”

Inspectors said strengths of Grindon Hall included the musical opportunities and sport.

They added: “Pupils are polite and courteous to adults and visitors. They take a pride in their appearance and are willing to learn when teaching is pitched at the correct level for their abilities.”