Former failing Sunderland school forging ahead

Dr Phil Ingram
Dr Phil Ingram

Education bosses say things are looking up for a Sunderland school.

Although rated as requiring improvement, Ofsted chiefs have acknowleged the inroads being made at Sandhill View Academy.

Sandhill View

Sandhill View

In 2014 the school was slated by the education watchdogs as being inadequate with serious weaknesses.

Since then it has joined the Southmoor Multi Academy Trust and following a recent visit, Ofsted inspectors said the Grindon Lane school is moving forward.

Following the latest inspection, leadership and management of the school, as well as personal development, behaviour and welfare of pupils were seen as good.

But, quality of teaching and outcomes for students require improvement.

Capacity to make more good things happen

Dr Phil Ingram

Dr Phil Ingram, headteacher at the school, said: “Inspectors noted that the school has been transformed from the one which was judged inadequate four years ago.

“We recognise that we are on an improving journey and what is most pleasing is the encouragement they have given us about the leadership of the school and its capacity to make more good things happen.”

In their report inspectors said despite a slight improvement in 2017, over time pupils have made less progress than nationally, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment is inconsistent and some teachers’ expecations are not high enough.

They said leaders have taken action to improve outcomes for pupils who have special needs, but the impact is yet to be fully seen.

Inspectors said there are some inconsistencies among teachers when it comes to helping pupils and following the school’s behaviour management policy.

However, they added: “School leaders are determined that the school will continue to improve. They have an unshakeable belief in the potential of the pupils who attend the school.

“Senior leaders have a clear understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses. As a result, middle leaders and teachers are enthusiastic, energetic and up for the challenge of improving the school further.

“Behaviour has improved. Morale among staff and pupils is high. There is a well-founded optimism and belief that things are getting better and will continue to do so.

“Pupils’ personal development and welfare are a strength of the school. Pupils are well supported, and have trust in the school to help them to succeed in life.”

The inspectors said since joining Southmoor Academy Trust in July 2015, the school has undergone significant change.

They added: “The senior leaders, most subject leaders and a large proportion of teachers all joined the school after this date. Leaders have used the momentum of these changes to create an aspirational and ambitious culture for the school.

“Teachers, subject leaders and staff are enthusiastic and positive about the school’s current position and its ability to improve further. Pupils agree that the school is getting better.”

Inspectors said governors share the high aspirations and determination of leaders and have an accurate understanding of the priorities facing the school.