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School is thriving after axe threat

GOOD PROGRESS ... acting headteacher Jo Wilson, front left, with pupils at Bamburgh School, which has a good rating from Ofsted after seeing off the threat of closure.

GOOD PROGRESS ... acting headteacher Jo Wilson, front left, with pupils at Bamburgh School, which has a good rating from Ofsted after seeing off the threat of closure.

A SOUTH Tyneside special school has been praised by inspectors after it bounced back from the threat of closure.

Bamburgh School was earmarked for closure three years ago as part of South Tyneside Council’s special educational needs (SEN) shake-up.

But plans to merge it with two other special schools in the borough were thrown out in October 2010 after the Department for Education ruled the merger would not benefit pupils.

Now education watchdog Ofsted has said that the school in Norham Avenue North, South Shields, is making good progress since its future was secured and has seen pupil numbers rise.

Ofsted has rated the school as ’good’ overall, after an inspection in February. The inspectors’ report said: “The school is emerging from a period of uncertainty about its future and because of the way the transition has been handled, staff morale is high.

“The team of staff are all pulling in the same direction.”

Acting headteacher Jo Wilson said the report highlights the school’s qualities.

She said: “I think this is Bamburgh School showing what it’s about and that it is doing a good job.

“I think the staff coped tremendously well during an uncertain period, and last summer, none of our school-leavers failed to get a qualification.”

Bamburgh School caters for about 100 children, from early years to GCSE pupils, aged 16.

Mrs Wilson said pupil numbers dropped to just over 70 after the closure plans were announced in 2010.

But over the past year, numbers have increased and the school has added two new classrooms.

It will take on more pupils with special educational needs in September, with the Margaret Sutton School, at Ashley Road, South Shields, due to close this summer.

Mrs Wilson added: “We are thriving now, and it is a joy to work with our pupils and staff, who have done remarkably well.”

The inspectors’ report says pupils at Bamburgh School are making good progress and are being well prepared to live independent lives.

It says pupil behaviour is “outstanding”, while teachers and other staff are praised.

The inspectors say lessons are varied, and noted that parents responded to a questionnaire by saying that their children were taught well.

Mrs Wilson has been acting headteacher at Bamburgh School since September last year.

She is deputising for headteacher Lynn McKellar, who is on sick leave.

Twitter: @shieldsgazjoe

 

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