Delight after school chalks up Ofsted improvements

Duke's Middle School pupils, with headteacher Dawn Morton, celebrate their good Ofsted report.
Duke's Middle School pupils, with headteacher Dawn Morton, celebrate their good Ofsted report.

A school is celebrating its most recent Ofsted report, which shows that it has turned the corner and made significant strides forward.

In October 2012, the Gazette reported that the Duke’s Middle School, in Alnwick, had been rated by inspectors as requiring improvement, the third of the four rankings.

However, headteacher Dawn Morton said that an action plan was in place to revitalise the site’s fortunes.

Now, after an Ofsted inspection last month, the school has been rated as good, an overall ranking of two.

Some of the highlights in the report include the quality of teaching, the well-behaved pupils and the happy, nurturing atmosphere at the school.

Elaine Smith, chairman of the Duke’s governor steering committee, said: “The Duke’s is most definitely a good school and this report reflects the consistently high standard of teaching, care and enrichment that takes place on a daily basis. We are delighted that the efforts of all the staff and pupils have been recognised and praised so highly.”

Ofsted inspectors praised Mrs Morton for her ‘crystal-clear vision and drive’ which has ‘ensured that action has been effective in eradicating past underachievement’.

It adds that senior leaders know exactly what the school needs to do to sustain the considerable gains made.

Inspectors said that ‘good and occasionally outstanding teaching’ enables all pupils, including those with special educational needs, to achieve well.

The children were praised for their ‘good and occasionally exemplary’ behaviour, above-average attendance and their highly-positive attitude to learning.

Inspectors said the school’s ‘effective, collaborative working’ within the Aln Community Schools Federation and with Northumberland County Council is an ‘emerging strength of the school’s successful drive to improve’.

The report added that ‘senior leaders, including governors, and subject leaders form a strong, effective team. They are united in their drive to raise standards’.