Hartlepool school praised by Ofsted but improvements are still needed

Tracey Gibson, headteacher of St Hilds Church of England School with school prefects.
Tracey Gibson, headteacher of St Hilds Church of England School with school prefects.

A Hartlepool secondary school has been described as having “a positive and optimistic future” following a recent visit from Government inspectors.

Ofsted visited St Hild’s Church of England School and although the report acknowledges that the school still requires improvement, inspectors praised bosses for its progress in a number of areas.

Lead inspector Dimitris Spiliotis, says: “The new headteacher and the chair of the governing body have introduced a more focussed and structured approach to school systems and processes. The headteacher has brought about a much-needed stability to the school. As a result, there is a positive and optimistic outlook for the future among pupils and staff at all levels.

“The school is beginning to see the ‘green shoots’ of the impact of the actions of leaders. Outcomes in English are improving quickly and there are small improvements in most other subjects. Leaders now utilise support from the local authority and the diocese more effectively. The much improved culture among staff has allowed the support to be more productive.”

Inspectors said that the variation in the quality of teaching, the progress disadvantaged pupils make and a rise in exclusions are areas where the school needs to improve.

However, on behaviour and exclusions the report states: “Since the new headteacher arrived, there has been a rise in exclusions as a result of higher expectations for behaviour. Whilst some pupils, including some who are disadvantaged, come to terms with the new higher expectations, the school’s actions here have contributed to above average rates of absence.”

Inspectors praised the attitude of pupils and their relationship with staff.

Headteacher Tracey Gibson said: “This is a fair report which reflects the good progress the school is making and what we need to do to improve. We have set ourselves the highest possible standards and I am delighted Ofsted have recognised this.

“Our fantastic staff, parents/carers and governors are all working incredibly hard to ensure that all our pupils are given the opportunity to achieve the best possible start in life and there will be no let-up in our efforts to ensure we achieve this.”

Darren Hankey, chair of governors, said: “It is pleasing to note Ofsted’s comments regarding the impact the headteacher, Tracey Gibson, has had in a relatively short period of time. The job is now to build on this good work and deliver the outcomes the School’s pupils deserve.”