Ofsted bosses say things are looking up at ‘inadequate’ South Tyneside school

South Shields Community School
South Shields Community School

Education bosses say things are looking up for a South Tyneside school.

Following a monitoring inspection at South Shields Community School, Ofsted inspectors say improvements are being made.

Following the last inspection, you quickly put highly effective improvement planning in place

Ofsted

They said leaders and managers at the school are taking effective actions towards the removal of the serious weaknesses designation and its improvement plan is fit for purpose.

However, they said South Tyneside Council’s statement of action is not fit for purpose because it does not set out how it will facilitate the school’s speedy transition to an academy, or how it will support it to improve the curriculum in more weakly performing faculties.

In October the Nevinson Avenue school was rated as inadequate by the watchdogs.

They said the quality of teaching varied too widely, pupils made insufficient progress and disadvantaged pupils underachieved.

But, they said the new headteacher, Allie Denholm, had a clear and ambitious vision for the school.

Following the recent monitoring visit the inspectors wrote to Ms Denholm with their findings.

They said: “Following the last inspection, you quickly put highly effective improvement planning in place, at both a whole-school and faculty level. Leaders are carefully evaluating the effect of their actions and sharing their findings with the governing body.

“As a result, leaders and managers, as well as governors, have a good understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses. This is ensuring that everyone is clear about their role and responsibilities and is ambitious for the future.

“Your plans for improvement are closely aligned to the areas of weakness identified in the previous inspection. They centre, very much, on improving the quality of teaching and level of attendance, in order to raise standards.

“The school has continued to benefit from a sustained period of stable and settled leadership.”

The inspectors said the training for staff is helping to improve their skills and they have a better understanding of how to ensure that their lessons are challenging.

They said some faculties are making slower progress than others and these faculties would benefit from more external support to strengthen leadership and accelerate the

progress being made.

The school’s assessment information indicates a greater proportion of pupils in the current Year 11 are on track to attain level 4, or better, in English and mathematics than last year and results should be better for the most able pupils, as well as those with special needs or the disadvantaged.

Inspectors said they were pleased that the level of attendance is improving.

They said: “Members of staff and most pupils reported that behaviour in the school is now much better than it used to be.”

Following the full inspection last year, the Department for Education issued an academy order, but no suitable academy sponsor has been found.