Sunderland special school turns its fortunes around

Headtreacher at North View Academy, Gary Mellefont, celebrated a good Ofsted with pupils.
Headtreacher at North View Academy, Gary Mellefont, celebrated a good Ofsted with pupils.

A Sunderland special school is celebrating an amazing turnaround as it soars out of special measures.

Those involved with North View Academy were left stunned when the school was given the lowest grading by Ofsted inspectors in November 2016.

North View Acadmey headteacher, Gary Mellefont, with Zoe Carr, CEO of Wise Academies.

North View Acadmey headteacher, Gary Mellefont, with Zoe Carr, CEO of Wise Academies.

At the time the education watchdog said leadership was inadequate and staff were not using restraint techniques and guidelines properly.

They said the leaders at the St Luke’s Road school, which caters for primary aged youngsters with emotional and behaviour problems, had an “overly positive view of the school” and governors were not holding leaders to account for the safety and welfare of pupils.

At the time headteacher, Gary Mellefont, said despite being disappointed they were confident of making rapid changes.

And, true to his word, less than 18 months later, the education watchdogs have inspected the school and rated it as good.

We are extremely proud of what we have achieved together

Gary Mellefont

Mr Mellefont, said the support the school has been given by families has been fantastic.

He said: “We are delighted that Ofsted has once again recognised the significant efforts of all staff, pupils, parents and carers at the academy along with the work of the governing body.

“North View is a good school and we have always felt that, but some improvements were necessary and had to be achieved, and with committed and talented staff, fantastic pupils and our ever supportive parents and carers, we have been able to achieve this in a very short period of time.

“We are extremely proud of what we have achieved together and we are determined to press on and surpass these achievements into the next academic year and beyond.”

He said the school is now looking forward to joining the WISE Academies Trust in September.

Following the latest visit, inspectors said: “The headteacher and deputy headteacher’s clear vision for the future is shared by all staff and this has enabled them to bring about the improvements identified in the previous inspection report at a fast pace.

“The quality of teaching and learning has improved. Teachers and teaching assistants work exceptionally closely together in classrooms. Support for pupils’ behaviour and the quality of learning are now good and better.

“Standards reached by pupils at the end of Year 6 rose significantly last year, particularly in reading and mathematics.

“Staff are particularly skilled at understanding the needs of pupils who attend. The nurturing approach taken towards all pupils is appreciated by both pupils and their parents and carers. Comments such as ‘school staff always go the extra mile to help my child’ and ‘my child loves school and can’t wait to come every day’ typify the strength of parents’ regard for the school.”

Zoe Carr, CEO of WISE Academies, said: “I am delighted that North View are joining WISE Academies in September 2018.

“This impressive Ofsted inspection shows the strength that exists at the school. Our partnership will be mutually beneficial as we support one another to provide high quality education to the pupils of Sunderland and beyond.”