Education watchdogs rate South Tyneside school as ‘requiring improvement’

A school in South Tyneside has been told to improve the quality of teaching after watchdogs have ruled its standards have slipped.
St Joseph's Catholic Academy.St Joseph's Catholic Academy.
St Joseph's Catholic Academy.

St Joseph’s Catholic Academy, in Mill Lane, Hebburn, has been rated as ‘Requires Improvement’ in a report by Ofsted published today.

The findings come less than four years since the schools watchdog rated it as ‘Good’.

Brendan Tapping, executive headteacher at St Joseph's Catholis AcademyBrendan Tapping, executive headteacher at St Joseph's Catholis Academy
Brendan Tapping, executive headteacher at St Joseph's Catholis Academy
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But inspectors also noted work was underway to turn around the fortunes of the ailing academy.

According to the assessors: “Over recent years, the school has experienced considerable instability in staffing and in leadership.

“This has affected the ability of the school to maintain a good quality of education.

“However, both staffing and leadership are now more secure and this is making a positive difference to pupils’ experience of school.”

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The report added: “The executive headteacher, leadership team and staff are working with determination to effect change.

“The school is now improving.”

Inspectors found the quality of teaching available at the school was ‘variable’.

Some lessobs, the report said, were well planned but others could be ‘too easy’ and others ‘too difficult’.

Concerns were also raised about the behaviour of some pupils and the disruption this caused for learning, as well as the way this issue was handled by teachers.

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However, it was also noted that this was confined to a minority, with most youngsters considered well behaved.

The report praised the work of the school’s leadership team, which included a new executive teacher and a head of school and other senior teachers who have been seconded from other schools to provide further expertise.

Peter Mitchell, head of school since September, said the report was a ‘fair reflection’ of the progress being made at the school.

He went on to predict an improved set of exam results in the summer.

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He added: “There’s been a lot of changes in the school over the last twoto three years.

“It’s been very turbulent.”

Executive headteacher Brendan Mr Tapping was brought in to help turn the school around

Mr Mutchell added: “They lost the headteacher and eventually Mr Tapping came in to help turn the school around.

“What Ofsted has demonstrated is that all the steps taken so far have been the right ones.”

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service