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North Shields school 'unrecognisable' as it goes from inadequate to good after Ofsted inspection

By Sonia Sharma

A secondary school has been described as "unrecognisable from its former self" as it went from inadequate to good.

In 2018, Norham High School, in North Shields, was judged to be inadequate by Ofsted inspectors and was placed in special measures. However, it has now been praised for its major transformation, earning an overall rating of 'good' from its latest inspection.

The school, which has 351 pupils aged 11 to 16, has been classed as good in all main aspects including the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, leadership and personal development.

Read More: See list of all Newcastle secondary schools rated 'good' by Ofsted inspectors

Inspectors wrote: " Norham High is a rapidly improving school at the heart of the community. The school has undergone significant changes since the previous inspection.

"Many people described the school to inspectors as 'unrecognisable' from its former self. Pupils are passionate about their school. Most pupils behave well consistently.

"Warm, genuine, friendly interactions between pupils and their friends or teachers are commonplace. Pupils hold open doors for others, smile and nod when walking by and engage in joyful banter at every opportunity."

It was noted that the curriculum for students continues to improve, and leaders and staff had worked "diligently to ensure pupils’ learning is well thought through". Meanwhile, careers education was seen as "a strength".

The report went on to say that Norham High had been transformed in a very short space of time and headteacher Terry Conway "leads with passion and determination". It added: "He has successfully created a sense of team spirit within the staff and pupil cohort. As a result, the school has the capacity to continue its journey of improvement."

It was also said the school had been a focal point for pupils and the community during the pandemic. Staff ensured children had the equipment, technology and guidance needed for remote learning during lockdown, delivering more than 4,000 live lessons. And families were provided with essential items regularly, including food parcels and free school meal vouchers.

Headteacher Mr Conway said: "The school is immeasurably proud that Ofsted has recognised the immense strides the school has taken since I took up the post of headteacher in September 2019.

"The team of dedicated staff that I work with care deeply about our pupils and always have done. Now, through working in new, creative and highly focused ways, we get the best out of every member of our school family.

"We knew we were taking the right steps, prioritising the right things, and we are thrilled to say that despite the challenges the school faced previously - which we have eradicated - standards of behaviour, conduct and enthusiasm continue to excel. We are pleased Ofsted has recognised and stated we offer a good education to the children of our community – it’s what every child deserves.

"This is just the beginning of our school journey, and we continue to be ambitious for our pupils and the community we serve. Anyone who visits Norham High School recognises the unique family feel of our school, something so rare in secondary education."

North Tyneside Mayor Norma Redfearn said: "I am absolutely delighted that Ofsted has recognised the major improvements that have been made at Norham High School over the past four years and that the school is once again a great place for local children to learn and thrive.

"We have worked closely with staff at the school to support its transformation and the glowing report is a testament to the hard work of staff and pupils at the school and their commitment to providing and receiving the best possible education."

The school will be showing the extent of the transformation at a Year 6 open evening on September 21. If you’d like to attend, ring 0191 814 3890. It is essential to attend as the school is now oversubscribed.

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Dive Deeper:
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One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Nursery branded 'inadequate' by Ofsted turns things around to land new 'good' rating
"The team at Little Gems have worked hard to turn the provision around in a short space of time since…
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