Sunderland school forced into special measures as it’s told staff are failing pupils

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Failing leadership and poor teaching have forced a Sunderland school into special measures.

The New Bridge Academy, in Craigshaw Road, Hylton Castle, was told it ‘Requires Improvement’ in a report published by Ofsted inspectors this month.

The New Bridge Academy in Sunderland has been placed into special measures after being identified by Ofsted as a failing school. Pic: Google Maps.

The New Bridge Academy in Sunderland has been placed into special measures after being identified by Ofsted as a failing school. Pic: Google Maps.

The special school, for pupils with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties, was also criticised for low attendance levels and the number of exclusions.

But assessors also accepted trustees have plans in place to tackle these issues, as well as praising aspects of its sixth form.

The report said: “Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is of the opinion that this school requires special measures because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education, and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school.”

The school, which has about 100 pupils on its roll, was rated ‘Inadequate’, the lowest possible, in four out of five areas:

Nick Hurn, of Ascent Academies Trust, which runs The New Bridge Academy in Sunderland.

Nick Hurn, of Ascent Academies Trust, which runs The New Bridge Academy in Sunderland.

* Effectiveness of leadership and management – Inadequate

* Quality of teaching, learning and assessment – Inadequate

* Personal development, behaviour and welfare – Inadequate

* Outcomes for pupils – Inadequate

* 16 to 19 study programmes – Requires improvement

The inspection, which was carried out in June, found low morale, and added senior staff had been unable ‘to deal with all the urgent matters that require their focus’.

Teaching quality was said to be ‘highly variable’ and confidence among pupils was ‘fragile’, but bullying is dealt with effectively.

Related: Sunderland academy receives award for tackling bullying

The school opened in 2015 following a merger between Springwell Dene School and Castlegreen Community School, to become part of the Ascent Academies’ Trust (AAT).

However, AAT is currently in negotiations with the Trinity Academy Newcastle Trust for it to take over at New Bridge.

In a statement, Nick Hurn, chairman trustees of Ascent Academies’ Trust, said: “Trustees, leaders and staff were fully aware of the issues raised in the inspection report, and have been working tirelessly to address these over the last academic year, recognising the situation was not acceptable.

“Significantly this has included securing a re-brokerage of The New Bridge Academy to Trinity Academy Newcastle Trust, who have a track record specialising in this type of provision and supporting the very specific needs of these pupils.

“The leadership team have been working with colleagues at Trinity MAT over the last year to drive improvements forward whilst arrangements for the transfer are put in place and, whilst some progress has been made, we recognise there is much more to do.”

Trinity Academy Newcastle Trust has been contacted for comment.

James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service