Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Academy Transforming Just Months after Report

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Academy Transforming Just Months after Report

Article excerpt

Byline: Hannah Graham Reporter

THE future looks bright for a Gateshead school, just months after it was slammed by Ofsted inspectors.

Thomas Hepburn Community Academy, in Felling, was rated 'inadequate' after an inspection last November, due to disruptive behaviour and a low standard of teaching.

But after a visit to monitor progress, inspectors found the academy is transformed, and on track to move out of the damning category. According to headteacher Jo Nolan, who was appointed shortly before the report was published - and whose quick work has already prevented the school from being pushed into special measures - pupils have quickly risen to increased expectations of them, and are starting to get the schooling they deserve.

She said: "Children have the right to come to a good school, and that's what we want to achieve here. I am absolutely committed to creating a fantastic learning environment for them: that includes extracurricular activities, trips, adventures, pushing the boundaries and creating fantastic citizens for the future. All children should have the right to that, and we are going to create that for the children of Thomas Hepburn."

In the monitoring inspection report - published in May - Ofsted experts praised Ms Nolan's "skilful and determined leadership", which was paying dividends. Inspectors noted that behaviour, which came in for significant criticism, had already improved "markedly".

The report said: "Pupils are clear the school is now calm and more purposeful as a result of the consistent implementation of the new behaviour policy and tougher use of sanctions.

"Pupils now consistently wear the school uniform and punctuality is improving." The head spoke passionately about 'raising aspirations' and said much of the initial work focused on ensuring the children were ready for lessons, 'retraining' them to learn. …

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