Tuesday’s meeting of the policy board to approve the consultation on reorganisation coincided with the publication of the latest Ofsted report on Lindisfarne Middle School.
That school being placed in special measures following a string of inspections across the county in October 2013 clearly played a significant role in the proposals that have been made.
Indeed, one of the models suggested is no change to the current system, but that has a caveat in that Lindisfarne Middle School ‘is currently in special measures and if it is not removed from a category of concern by autumn 2015, it is likely that it will become a sponsored academy’.
However, progress is being made and Tuesday’s monitoring report from Ofsted concludes that the school ‘is making reasonable progress towards the removal of special measures’.
Acting headteacher Steph Hall said: “Since stepping in as acting headteacher, I and the team have made massive changes to the school and those changes have been welcomed by the Inspector.
“The huge improvement in the SAT results in the summer term and the latest inspection report show that, with the support of the Governors, there has been a complete shift at Lindisfarne.
“Senior and middle leaders are making determined efforts to improve the quality of teaching throughout the school and also making learning more challenging to increase the children’s confidence and enjoyment as well as the progress they are making.
“Morale at the school is now high and we are working closely with Duke’s Middle School and the Duchess’s Community High School to make our federation really work for the young people in our care.”
The report explains that ‘achievement in reading, writing and mathematics improved to well above the national average for Year 6 pupils in 2014’, while ‘senior and middle leaders are making determined efforts to improve the quality of teaching throughout the school’, leading to ‘evidence that teaching standards are rising and that expectations of what pupils are capable of are higher’. Another of the criticisms in the original report was that there were major issues regarding leadership both within the school and from the governors.
But now, ‘the acting headteacher and acting deputy headteacher have encouraged the teaching staff to take increased responsibility for their work and for the progress of all pupils in their classes’, while ‘the governing body, and especially the steering group, now hold senior leaders to account and governors both challenge and support school leaders well’.
Chairman of Governors Lalage Bosanquet added: “Steph Hall and the team of staff at Lindisfarne have worked exceptionally hard to turn the school around and the results in SATs and the latest inspection demonstrate how successful they have been.
“The senior leadership team has encouraged all teaching staff to take more responsibility for the progress of pupils and the governing body is holding the leadership team to account effectively.
“The change to a primary-style curriculum for Years 5 and 6 has been welcomed by parents and behaviour across the school continues to be excellent.
“There is still work to be done, but I and the rest of the governors are confident that we are making good progress towards getting the school out of special measures.”