Council quick to act over failing school

SPECIAL MEASURES ... Toner Avenue Primary School.
SPECIAL MEASURES ... Toner Avenue Primary School.

A NEW headteacher and extra governors have been drafted in after a failing South Tyneside school was placed in special measures.

The aim is to boost standards at Toner Avenue Primary School in Johnston Avenue, Hebburn.

Although Ofsted has placed the 257-pupil school in special measures, South Tyneside Council says it has already taken steps to bring about improvements.

The school’s governing body appointed Kevin Burns as permanent headteacher in September, following a period as acting head during the summer term.

The council has also strengthened the governing body with six new appointments.

Though new in post, Mr Burns’s contribution has been recognised by Ofsted inspectors in their report.

The report said: “The new headteacher has a clear and accurate view of what the school has to do and has already taken steps to begin to make the necessary improvements.”

The inspectors also praised the council’s intervention, which they say “is starting to have a positive impact”.

Mr Burns said: “The report is a huge disappointment for everybody involved with the school, but we are taking on board all of the points raised and are using the report as a basis for improvement.

“There is a challenging landscape ahead, but our ambition is to make the school outstanding and we are united in our determination to turn that vision into a reality.

“The inspectors noted that we are taking action to address the school’s weaknesses, though we fully appreciate that at the time of the inspection, it was too early to judge their impact.

“We are confident that when they return, they will find a school that has made strong progress and is well on the road to recovery.”

Mike Conlon, newly-elected chairman of governors, said: “Though it is a challenging time for the school, I consider it a privilege to take this position and am totally committed to making Toner Avenue the best school possible for its children.

“They deserve nothing less than a first-class learning environment where they can flourish and become the best that they can be.

“I would like to reassure parents that everything possible is being done to bring about the necessary improvements to the school as quickly as possible and that we will be working alongside them to respond to the issues that have been raised.

“We are also receiving strong support from the council and the wider school family in South Tyneside, which will help us enormously.”

Like all schools put into special measures, the school will now be subject to regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.

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