Hebburn school told to improve as reading, writing and maths standards decline

Toner Avenue Junior School.
Toner Avenue Junior School.

Staff say they are disappointed after education watchdogs labelled their school as “requiring improvement.”

Ofsted Inspectors gave the rating to Toner Avenue Primary School, Hebburn, after their latest visit in October.

As a team of staff we are obviously disappointed with the overall grading and how narrow the inspection focus can be but there are positives in there and we were already developing and working on the points for improvement raised in the report

Michael Arthur

In a report, they highlighted a number of areas which required improvement while acknowledging work already underway by teaching staff and governors in a bid to make changes.

The school, in Johnston Avenue, was rated as ‘good’ for its early years provision.

Inspectors found pupils’ reading, writing and maths across key stage 2 had declined and that the rates of attendance were below average - with persistent absence increasing.

But they also noted the headteacher has, since his appointment, re-engaged with parents to build partnerships to support pupil development and that the new leader of English is beginning to improve students literacy and reading.

The attitudes of pupils to learning is also said yo have improved.

Headteacher Michael Arthur, who took up his post in 2016, said: “There are a lot of positives in the report and things to work on to improve.

“The report highlights some of the strengths of the school. However, due to the nature of inspections, a lot of the very positive elements of Toner Avenue have not been highlighted.

“The inspection team were pleased with the changes and improvements we have put in place but were unable to comment fully as they are yet to have an impact on the results.”

He added: “As a team of staff we are obviously disappointed with the overall grading and how narrow the inspection focus can be.

“But there are positives in there and we were already developing and working on the points for improvement raised in the report.

“As ever, we continue to do our best and work hard to provide the best care and education for the children and families at Toner Avenue.

“All of the staff are committed to ensuring that we continue to improve and follow the recommendations in the report.”

Toner Avenue is slightly lager than the average-sized primary school, and caters for three to 11-year-olds.