Hartlepool school gets a glowing report after inspection

HAPPY OUTCOME: Left to right, Abby Ditcham, Emily Rose Hawkridge, subject Leader of RE Maria Murray, Jake McDonough, school chaplain Laura Wild, James Brennan, headteacher Penny Barker, Klaudia Robinson and Abby Wallace.
HAPPY OUTCOME: Left to right, Abby Ditcham, Emily Rose Hawkridge, subject Leader of RE Maria Murray, Jake McDonough, school chaplain Laura Wild, James Brennan, headteacher Penny Barker, Klaudia Robinson and Abby Wallace.
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A HARTLEPOOL secondary school has received a glowing report from an official inspector.

St Hild’s Church of England School’s inspirational leadership and Christian values were praised for rapidly driving up academic attainment.

The school underwent a thorough inspection by SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools) over two days in December.

St Hild’s as ‘good’ overall with some outstanding features including the leadership and management.

That was one of its weakest areas in its last inspection in March 2010 but is now one of the strongest.

The inspection was carried out for the Durham Diocese of the Church of England and looks at the impact of the school’s Christian ethos on pupils.

Inspector Nicholas Chamberlain said in his report: “A fully-embedded Christian ethos is being rapidly accepted as a badge of pride by learners, all of whom deeply value the commitment and care offered to them by the school’s staff.

“Inspirational leadership by the head teacher and her colleagues is driving up standards and opening an exciting vision of the future, inspired by Christian values.”

Head teacher Penny Barker said: “As a church school, our Christian ethos is central to everything we aim to achieve and we are pleased that its effectiveness has been recognised by an independent inspector.

“The outcome of the inspection reflects the continuous hard work and dedication of everyone here at ‘Team St Hild’s’ – students, staff, governors and parents/carers – and the challenge now is to build on the progress already made in terms of improved academic attainment by making a determined effort to take our school to the next level.”

In his report, Mr Chamberlain praised Mrs Barker, saying that she has “galvanised action, sparked vision and taken overdue strategic decisions, all while respecting the foundations laid by her predecessors”.

He added: “The leadership team is slimmer, more visible and uniformly supportive of the drive to make St Hild’s into a beacon Christian school in the community.

“The governing body, equally, has carefully reorganised itself to meet the challenges that the school faces.

“Crucially, the leadership team itself exhibits outstanding classroom practice, thus modelling what it requires from others and demonstrating the balance between energy, self-giving and openness to being reflective that is a key component of the school’s gathering success.”

Mr Chamberlain also said that the school is good at meeting the needs of all pupils, the impact of collective worship on the school community is good along with the effectiveness of religious education, which is now taken at GCSE by all students.

He put the strengths down to St Hild’s distinctive Christian character highlighting the school’s translation of the key Bible text John 10.10 as Life to the Max.

The inspector said further improvement could come from the creation of a school chapel, which is currently being considered, and the further development of the school’s “embryonic theology”.