A SCHOOL welcomed a shadow minister into its classrooms to show there was “no smell of defeatism” at all.
Labour politician Tristram Hunt, the Shadow Secretary of State for Education, visited to Wellfield Community School, in Wingate.
He had been invited by MP for Sedgefield Phil Wilson following the controversy over current Education Minister Michael Gove’s comments that schools in East Durham had a “smell off defeatism”.
At the time of the outrage-sparking comments, Wellfield Community School’s Ofsted rating was poor.
But within just four terms, the hard work and dedication of staff and pupils has paid off, with Ofsted now grading the school as ‘good’.
Jeff Wilson, director of computer systems at Wellfield, said: “Mr Hunt came up especially to see us.
“He had no other engagements, and he was very impressed with both the staff and students.
“He thought we were a real role model of a school to get from where we where, to where we are now.
“He was quizzing the staff and governors and members of the school council, and he went into lessons.”
Mr Wilson added: “I don’t know whether Mr Hunt will have had much experience of schools in areas classed as deprived, I think he was probably thinking ‘a comprehensive school up in Durham would be a bit rough’, but I think he was pleasantly surprised.
“We have done so well to get where we are now and we are all extremely proud.
“It was good to show someone like Mr Hunt what we have done especially after the whole debacle of Michael Gove saying Durham school’s had a smell of defeatism.”
Mr Gove made controversial statements last year implying that staff and pupils at schools in the area had a lack of ambition and low expectations.
Sunderland FC legend Niall Quinn was guest of honour at the official £7.5m re-opening of the Wingate-based school in November last year after two years of re-building and refurbishment.