Inspectors hail school’s rapid turnaround

LEARNING CURVE ... Toner Avenue School headteacher Kevin Burns with Coun Joan Atkinson and Year 1 pupils.

LEARNING CURVE ... Toner Avenue School headteacher Kevin Burns with Coun Joan Atkinson and Year 1 pupils.

STAFF and pupils at a South Tyneside school are celebrating after it was lifted out of special measures.

Toner Avenue School in Johnston Avenue, Hebburn, has been praised for making impressive progress, just one year after being rated inadequate.

Although the school still “requires improvement”, it has received a glowing Ofsted report.

Inspectors noted the “rapid and significant improvements”, and said “the school has been removed from special measures ahead of the expected timescale”.

Following a visit last month, the quick turnaround was attributed to good leadership and management, and described pupil behaviour as “at least good and at times it is outstanding”.

Excellent relationships between staff and pupils were also recognised, with pupils feeling confident they are supported with their learning, and are kept safe.

Coun Joan Atkinson, lead member for children, young people and families at South Tyneside Council, said: “It is a great achievement for the school to be taken out of special measures so quickly, and we’re delighted that all the hard work being put into raising standards has been recognised. It will be a wonderful start to 2014.

“I’m pleased Ofsted has noted that the quality of teaching is improving, with pupils making better progress in their reading, and 
that significant progress has been made in maths among Year 6 pupils.

“Of course, there is still more work to be done, but it’s very encouraging to see that the school is heading in the right direction.”

Toner Avenue School was placed in special measures in November last year.

Six new governors were appointed, and acting headteacher Kevin Burns was made permanent to improve the school.

Mr Burns said: “We are delighted with the report, but are under no illusions there is a lot more work to be done.

“The last 12 months have been about putting in the groundwork to ensure we create the best school possible for the children here.

“We are in a much stronger position thanks to the hard work and commitment of the children, staff and parents.”

Ofsted inspectors also praised the council’s intervention, saying it has been “highly effective in removing the school from special measures”.

They added that the Interim Executive Board is highly supportive of the school and is effective in holding leaders to account.

Chairman of the board Mike Conlon said: “We are really pleased that Ofsted has recognised the tremendous progress the school has made within the last 12 months.

“Coming out of special measures is a significant step on our 
journey to becoming an outstanding school.

“This has undoubtedly been a challenging period for Toner Avenue, but we have emerged as a stronger school family that the community can be proud of.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazedu




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