Good rating for school

STAFF at Ponteland High School have declared themselves pleased with its Ofsted report.

It retained its ‘Good’ rating, with achievement well above average, from three years ago. But the inspection process was made more rigorous in January so the judgement is seen as an improvement on 2009.

The report, which was carried out on March 21 and 22, said that the progress of students is increasing and it highlights how they and parents enjoy playing an active role in helping make their school even better.

Ponteland High’s leadership team were praised for their effective working and clear vision and its Fairtrade work was complimented – it recently received official recognition as a Fairtrade School.

The inspectors also said: “The behaviour of students around the school is good. They are polite and respectful to adults and each other and are calm and responsible in the sometimes busy corridors and dining area.”

As part of their examination of the school, they held meetings with members of staff, Chairman of Governors Mike Brown and groups of students and they considered completed questionnaires from 142 students, 28 members of staff and 160 parents and carers.

The school’s Headteacher Stephen Prandle, who is retiring this summer, said: “Everyone at the school deserves congratulations for their part in the Ponteland High success story. I particularly want to thank those students who met with the inspectors for their honesty and support.

“Ofsted’s inspection system has become tougher than ever before this year and lots of schools are finding themselves downgraded since their last inspection.

“So even though it might look as though we haven’t moved forward from our last inspection in March 2009, maintaining our ‘Good’ rating actually shows that we have improved to the extent that we match Ofsted’s much more rigorous demands.

“The report provides guidance on what we need to do to attain Ofsted’s gold standard ‘Outstanding’ rating. We are already making great progress and I know the excellent staff we have at Ponteland High can make still more.”

The inspection was carried out with just two days’ notice. Before coming to their conclusions, the inspectors observed 49 lessons taught by 49 teachers, visited morning registration sessions and assemblies and examined key documents, such as the school’s improvement plan, records of attendance and behaviour logs.

They also scrutinised a broad range of the pupils’ work through sampling their books and files.

Ponteland High Associate Headteacher Anita Brown said: “It was gratifying to see how impressed the inspectors were with the behaviour at the school, as well as with our work on involving students and parents in school development and the pride our youngsters take in their involvement.”