Great improvement at Haydon Bridge High School

Haydon Bridge High School has received some fantastic feedback in the report of its most recent Ofsted monitoring visit.

Effective leadership, the quality of teaching and pupils attitudes have all been highlighted by the inspectors as areas where the schools is showing great improvement.

Haydon Bridge was placed in special measures back in March 2018 but, since that time, the local authority has taken back control of the school, a new Interim Executive Board (IEB) has been put in place and the school has strengthened its management team.

The report says that leaders and managers are taking effective action towards the removal of special measures, that the school’s action plan is fit for purpose and that it may now appoint newly qualified teachers - all key measures that have improved since the last visit.

Lead inspector Darren Stewart said that since the previous monitoring visit the headteacher, the IEB and the senior leadership team have continued with ‘unwavering candour and resolute determination’ to improve standards.  He also said that as a result of this the rate of improvement is gathering momentum and standards are improving at a faster pace.

The report goes on to say that senior leader collaboration is bringing about a more strategic approach so that the quality of teaching improves across the school.  Middle leaders are reported to be ambitious for the teams they lead, although it was acknowledged that more time is needed to see the full impact of this.

The IEB is acknowledged to be highly skilled and experienced and is holding leaders and staff at all levels to account through regular monitoring.

The quality of teaching is showing clear signs of improvement and well-thought-out, bespoke professional development opportunities were complimented.  Pupils who were spoken to as part of the inspection agreed that teaching is improving and that teachers now expect more from them!

Pupils attitudes to learning have continued to improve, and the inspectors found the school to be a calm and orderly place. Pupils reported that bullying is rare and that if it did occur they are confident that it would be dealt with quickly by a member of staff.

Students in the sixth form spoke highly of the opportunities they were given to demonstrate their leadership skills.  Behaviour in the school has also improved and evidence shows that there has been a marked reduction in the proportion of pupils excluded from school.

Councillor Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services and deputy leader at Northumberland County Council said:  “I am absolutely delighted by this report.  

“The hard work and commitment of the IEB, the headteacher and management team, all of the staff at the school and the students is, as the inspectors say, ‘bearing fruit’ and they should all be very proud of their achievements.

“This great report, along with the work that is just about to start on capital investment in buildings and facilities on the site, is putting the school in an excellent position for a very bright future indeed.”

Darren Glover, headteacher, said: “We are overjoyed that the inspection team has recognised the great progress that we are making here at Haydon Bridge.  

“There are several positive areas identified and, whilst they are satisfying to read, as a school we are determined to continue to improve and develop and to ensure that all students here receive a first class education.

“The improvements are all down to the hard work of the whole team at the school; the pupils - whose attitudes are exemplary, staff - who go above and beyond in their efforts to drive up standards, and the great support we have received from the interim executive board, the local authority and other external support mechanisms that we have accessed.

“I would like to thank the parents and carers and everyone who has provided continued support for the students, staff and school.”

Dean Jackson director of education and skills at Northumberland County Council, added:  “There is some really excellent news for the school in this report.  

“We always stress that recovery and improvement can’t happen overnight - it takes time and all of the right building blocks need to be in place. We now have those at Haydon Bridge and the inspector has recognised that things are moving very much in the right direction.

“The council will continue to provide robust support and challenge to the school as it progresses on its journey out of special measures.”

The report did highlight areas where improvements are still required before the school can move out of special measures - including a marked improvement in pupil attainment, in attendance for some students and in the achievements of some disadvantaged pupils, boys and those identified as needing additional SEND support.  The headteacher, the IEB and senior leaders continue to be resolute in their work to secure better outcomes for these pupils.

Northumberland County Council is providing significant assistance to authority’s commissioner for secondary education and sixth forms, two days a week.  

The council is investing £4.5million to improve the school buildings at Haydon Bridge. This will see a new main entrance; a vocational centre; improvements to the main hall, library, sports hall changing and performing arts and learning hub areas; as well as relocation of the sixth form. 
 
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