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Schools inspector heaps praise on newly retired South Shields school head

Former Sea View Primary head Jane Cunningham
Former Sea View Primary head Jane Cunningham

A newly-retired South Tyneside headteacher has left her school in good shape after more than a decade in charge, Ofsted has found.

The education standards inspectorate concluded Jane Cunningham had exhibited ‘determined and focused leadership’ at Sea View Primary School, South Shields.

Sea View Primary School

Sea View Primary School

It also said she and her leadership team had further improved outcomes for pupils and accelerated their learning progress since the last inspection in February 2014.

Mrs Cunningham retired from the near 400-pupil Norham Avenue school at the end of the summer term.

She was its first and only head from its opening in September 2006, her position now being filled by Joanne Weightman.

Ofsted inspector Jonathan Brown graded Sea View as ‘good’, the agency’s second best level, following a one-day short inspection in July.

In his report, published last week, he said: “I am of the opinion that the school has demonstrated strong practice and marked improvement in specific areas.

“At Sea View, you deliver on what you believe. You value each individual pupil and provide them with stimulating and enriching experiences and enable them to reach new horizons.

“As a consequence, most pupils achieve the expected standards for their age and many exceed these standards.

“Disadvantaged pupils make better progress than other pupils nationally and their attainment has risen.”

Mr Brown also found that from relatively low starting points, outcomes for pupils by the time they leave the school were consistently above those nationally in reading, writing and maths.

The inspector also found pupils were proud of their achievements and were happy and very well prepared for their next steps in education.

He discovered they worked with purpose, and strove to achieve their best with very positive attitudes to their lessons.

And Mr Brown noted the vast majority of parents were highly appreciative of Mrs Cunningham and her team’s work.

He added: “Many parents spoke with me in glowing terms about the support they had received, including several parents with children who have SEN and/or disabilities.

“Your plan to improve the school further is based on a sharp analysis of information and you have a strong record of taking immediate and effective action where emerging issues have been identified.

“You have built on the school’s strengths and have established a culture of continuous improvement.”

Mr Brown said school leaders had also worked hard to try and ensure pupils attended school more regularly, and had employed additional staff to provide support.