Once-failing South Tyneside school hailed for ‘remarkable’ improvements

Ridgeway Primary Academy headteacher Michael McCarthy celebrates Ofsted success with pupils Charlie Carney, 9, Elise Kirkley, 10, Mihika Dhakal, 7, Charlotte Addison, 10, Jasmine Kaur, 7, and Ellis-Jay Moore, 9.
Ridgeway Primary Academy headteacher Michael McCarthy celebrates Ofsted success with pupils Charlie Carney, 9, Elise Kirkley, 10, Mihika Dhakal, 7, Charlotte Addison, 10, Jasmine Kaur, 7, and Ellis-Jay Moore, 9.

A once-failing South Tyneside school has wom praise from education watchdogs for demonstrating significant improvements.

Ridgeway Primary School, in Park Avenue, South Shields, had been given a ‘satisfactory’ rating following a previous Ofsted inspection, in 2014, - having earlier been given notice to improve.

Our aim is to make this an outstanding school, and I believe that is within reach

Michael McCarthy

Now it has now been ranked as ‘good’ in all areas by the watchdog, which said it is now among the country’s top 10% of schools for pupil progress at Key Stage 2.

Ridgeway switched to academy status in 2013, and Ofsted highlighted a “shared vision” between a new leadership team and teachers.

Lead inspector Anne Humble said that headteacher Michael McCarthy, senior leaders and governors had worked “tirelessly” to transform the school.

Mr McCarthy said: “Everyone at the school – teachers, governors, pupils and parents – has a vision to be the best that we can possibly be.

“The teaching team has been relentless in its pursuit of excellence and we have been successful in making this a completely different school to how it was when it became an academy.

“The progress we have made puts us in the top 3% of schools in the country, and that is something we are all very proud of.

“Our aim is to make this an outstanding school, and I believe that is within reach. It is also what our children deserve.”

The 260-pupil school had been given notice to improve in February 2010 after standards in maths, literacy and other areas fell below national standards.

Improvements were identified in a follow-up report two years later, with the ‘satisfactory’ rating given.

In becoming an academy, Ridgeway joined the South Tyneside Academy Trust, sponsored by South Tyneside College.

Dr Lindsey Whiterod OBE, chief executive of South Tyneside College, said: “Michael and his team deserve great credit for turning the school into one of the country’s best performing primaries.

“It is a remarkable achievement.”