Trouble-hit Sunderland school still requires improvement say watchdogs

Grindon Hall Christian School
Grindon Hall Christian School
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A Sunderland school dogged with controversy is still failing to make the grade, claim education watchdogs.

Grindon Hall Christian School was thrown into the spotlight in November 2014 when it was placed in special measures by Ofsted, despite being one of the top performing schools in the city.

Teaching does not fully match children’s needs and their progress is variable


They said the Nookside school needed to urgently improve the quality and impact of leaders, and that behaviour and safety of pupils and the sixth form provision were inadequate.

Parents were left outraged by the inspectors’ judgement that pupils were intolerant to different faiths and cultures.

The Department of Education later instructed the school to be taken over by multi-academy trust, Bright Tribe, which led to three original founders of the school resigning amid fears it would lose its original ethos.

Now, Ofsted has carried out another inspection at the former independant school and found it still requires improvement in all areas.

In their most recent report, the inspectors said the effectiveness of leadership, quality of teaching, personal development, outcomes for pupils, early years provision and post 16 study all require improvement.

They said: “Teaching has not been consistently strong enough over time to ensure that pupils make good progress from their starting points.

“Some pupils supported by pupil premium funding do not make enough progress to move closer to the attainment of other pupils nationally.

“Assessment in the early years requires further improvement. As a result, teaching does not fully match children’s needs and their progress is variable.”

The inspectors went on to say that although student progress in the sixth form broadly matches nationa levels, there is no focused drive on improvement.

They added: “Pupils’ personal development and welfare, including impartial careers guidance, are not fully developed. Absence levels are too high for some disadvantaged pupils.”

Inspectors also said the governing body does not fully check and challenge aspects of the school’s work.

However, they acknowledged the interim principal, who was appointed last year, provides effective leadership and is improving the quality of teaching and strengthening leadership.

They said: “Pupils’ and students’ attainment by the end of key stage 2, key stage 4 and the sixth form compares well with national averages.

“Effective leadership for safeguarding ensures that the school’s systems, training and safeguarding culture are strong.

“Middle leaders are motivated to drive improvements and they are beginning to take relevant actions in their areas of responsibility.”