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Ofsted notes improvements at Gateshead academy

Thorp Academy in Ryton, sponsored by Northern Education Trust, received an encouraging monitoring inspection report following a pre-Christmas visit

Posted by Julian Owen | February 07, 2018 | Teaching

Thorp Academy in Ryton was judged to require improvement in November 2016 but, following its first inspection since, Ofsted reported: “Senior leaders, governors and the Trust are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement.”

Central to the changes taking place at the academy, which has been undergoing redevelopment for the last three years, is the appointment of several senior, highly experienced staff. These included a new Executive Principal and a new Principal in January 2017, as well as an additional Vice-Principal. The Trust has also appointed a number of specialist and senior subject directors to work across its portfolio of secondary schools.

Northern Education Trust (NET) has also welcomed a new chief executive officer, Mr Rob Tarn, who was appointed in September 2017 from Outwood Grange Academies Trust, where he earned a national reputation for his transformational approach to school improvement.

Since his arrival, Mr Tarn has been driving through radical changes across all NET’s primary and secondary academies: insisting on a relentless focus on standards; introducing collaborative learning; improving the quality of teaching in the classroom; and introducing a common assessment calendar for Year 6 and Year 11.

The changes were mentioned by Ofsted inspectors ,who reported that leaders: are improving the quality of education at the school; have overhauled the curriculum and schemes of learning to ensure that pupils aim high; and have implemented improved tracking systems and an assessment calendar across the Trust, with a specialist tracking system for vulnerable pupils – their progress is discussed weekly with teaching leaders.

Speaking about the monitoring inspection, Executive Principal, Andrew Jordon, said: “Overall, we were very pleased with the comments made by Ofsted, because the inspectors picked up on the changes we have implemented, such as new strategies for teaching with consistent setting of objectives, applause moments, and opportunities for collaborative learning. Our students also said that they liked the new strategies and were able to say how they contribute to their learning and progress.

“The findings reflect the many changes we have already made, and we are confident that we are well on our way to delivering sustainable improvement across every measure. We are focused on continuing along this path of school improvement to ensure that all students get the very best education possible at Thorp Academy.”

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