School is bouncing back after report

David Baldwin, executive headteacher at Norham High School in North Shields.

David Baldwin, executive headteacher at Norham High School in North Shields.

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A school has been quietly improving life for pupils after inspectors said it had ‘serious weaknesses’.

Norham High School, in North Shields, was rated as inadequate by Ofsted in November 2014.

But now optimism is growing among staff that the school will show major signs of improvement in their latest inspection, due in the next couple of months.

David Baldwin, headteacher at Churchill Community College, was brought in as executive headteacher last September to oversee both schools, and along with the senior management team and governors they are pleased with the progress made.

Among a host of changes made to help pupils, additional support is being provided by teachers after school while students are being encouraged to aim high.

Mr Baldwin said: “In the last nine months we’re moving towards a position where we will see half the school getting to the national average for their grades. Some of the results are going to be magnificent.

“Pupils will get grades where they can walk away this summer and go into employment that they would never have been able to do.

“We are showing pupils what is possible. Pupils predicted to get grade Ds are now getting Bs.

“When I arrived in September some people thought the school was going to close. With the results it was getting, it was a possibility.

“We will show this summer it is possible to raise aspirations in the community and raise results.”

Changes have also been made to the building, with pupils being given a say on how the canteen, library, computer room and common areas should look while refurbishment is taking place to the outside of the school.

The school is also keen to improve its standing in the community, with pupils engaging with local residents while parents are invited to see their children at work.

Mr Baldwin said: “The school is the lever for change in this community. This school is changing the life chances of the children in it but building real expectations into the community.

“We’re working with parents not just about what their children are doing but helping understand where their child’s aspirations could take them.

“Pupils see themselves as community champions.”

“They are getting involved in the community, they want it to happen.”

He added: “I’ve been bowled over by the support from parents. It’s very clear to me this community really wants something amazing for their children.

“They’ve struggled in the past for that to happen but we are beginning to make things happen.

David Bavaird, chair of governors, said: “Ambition has been restored. Pupils are setting themselves a higher level.”