Hartlepool school where pupils' development comes first is proud of 'good' Oftsed rating

Staff and pupils at a Hartlepool secondary school say they are proud after inspectors gave it a positive report.

By Mark Payne
Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 4:45 am

High Tunstall College of Science, in Elwick Road, has kept its “good” Ofsted rating after being visited by the school watchdog in July.

It was its first inspection since 2016.

Inspectors praised High Tunstall’s new £17m building, which it moved into in late 2019, and staff’s strong focus on pupils’ development both academically and as people.

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Mark Tilling, Headteacher of High Tunstall School and students (left to right) Tom Short, Cassie Gray, Amelia Connelly and Sam Miller with a copy of their Ofsted report. Picture by Frank Reid.

Headteacher Mark Tilling said: “The report is a true representation of the college that we have wanted to develop over my 11 years headship.

"It recognises the fantastic work my team does. The development of our young people is the most vital thing here linked to the academic performance.”

Inspectors said detailed curriculum plans and teachers emphasising ‘golden nuggets’ of knowledge mean many pupils develop a deep understanding of subjects.

They added careers education and personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum is wide-ranging covering issues such as relationships, health and sex.

High Tunstall College of Science's new building. Picture by FRANK REID

"These lessons also teach pupils about how to stay safe, online safety and the value of the law, mutual respect and tolerance,” read the report.

Ofsted said pupils find lessons interesting, feel supported by their teachers and are proud of the new building.

The report said: "A strong sense of community is returning. The staff are working hard to get to know pupils after the interruptions caused by the pandemic.”

Head boy Tom Short, 15, said: “The report takes on how we feel about being happy to come to school.

"If we are happy we’re eager to learn and willing to get involved including in extra curricular activities.”

Deputy head boy Sam Miller, 15, added: “The new building gives us more opportunities with the resources that we have.

"It improves High Tunstall as a whole community.”

Areas for improvement highlighted by Ofsted included some pupils not getting the help they need to catch up quickly on their reading after starting school.

Disruption caused by the pandemic meant that some curriculum checks had not taken place as expected and excluded pupils were sometimes not reintegrated back into school fast enough.

Mr Tilling said the pandemic and home schooling meant they could not do as much as they wanted although he added that the school is now addressing the issues.

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