School heads in right direction

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A SCHOOL is moving in the right direction according to Government inspectors who carried out a routine check.

The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) visited High Tunstall College of Science last month as part of a national programme of school inspection.

Mark Tilling, headteacher at the specialist science college for 11 to 16-year-olds, was only given two days notice of the visit.

The report said: “High Tunstall is a satisfactory and improving college. The headteacher was appointed after a turbulent period in the college’s history. He demonstrates drive and determination to improve standards across the college.

“Ably supported by colleagues in the senior leadership team he has reviewed performance management systems and staff structures. This has led to greater accountability and the development of a culture that challenges everyone to aspire to the highest possible standards. It has also led to improvements in teaching and learning.”

The report adds: “Teaching is satisfactory overall. There are examples of good and outstanding practice. Recent work by senior leaders to improve the quality of teaching and learning, through focused staff development, has led to an increase in the proportion of good or better teaching.

“The large majority of parents and carers who expressed an opinion feel that their child is well taught and most feel that the college helps their child develop skills in communication, reading writing and mathematics. Similarly, most students who responded to the questionnaire feel that they learn a lot in lessons and that teaching is good at the college.”

The report, which has been sent to all parents, also said: “Generally the college is a calm, friendly and happy place. As one parent commented, ‘My child loves coming to school’. Most students are lively, ebullient, socialise well and they have good attitudes to learning.”

The two areas highlighted by inspectors for improvement are attendance and the proportion of good or better teaching.

In a letter to all pupils following the visit, Lead Inspector Charles Lowry, said: “The college is providing you with a satisfactory and improving quality of education under the leadership of Mr Tilling.

“Mr Tilling and his team are very ambitious for the college and want it to be as good as it possibly can be.”

Chair of governors Ken Shepherd said: “The College wholeheartedly agrees with the assessment made by Ofsted. Whilst we are pleased that Ofsted has acknowledged that we are improving, we are aware of the areas which we need to focus on to take the college to the next level.”

Dean Jackson, Hartlepool Borough Council’s assistant director (performance and achievement) within child and adult services, said: “Since I joined the local authority in May of this year it has become very apparent that High Tunstall is an ambitious College which wants to achieve highly for its students.

“There are some very positive aspects in this report and I am confident the College will build on this success.”