Head dismisses school report

Monkseaton High School.
Monkseaton High School.

A headteacher has dismissed claims in a national report that schools near the coast fail their students.

The report claimed that schools in coastal towns frequently fail to give students a good education because of geographical isolation and industrial decline.

North Tyneside has an excellent record of achievement and in the recent performance tables sits within the top performing regions nationally.

Tracy Crowder, Monkseaton High School headteacher

Authors of the report – entitled ‘Combatting Isolation: Why coastal schools are failing and how headteachers are turning them around’ – included research and accounts from headteachers leading coastal schools.

Those headteachers said distances from large urban areas, staff recruitment, and a lack of jobs beyond low-skilled and seasonal work were among their greatest challenges.

But Tracy Crowder, headteacher at Monkseaton High School, dismissed the claims and said schools in North Tyneside were performing well and above the national average.

Mrs Crowder, who was appointed in March 2013, said: “In terms of schools in North Tyneside, coastal area isolation isn’t an issue.

“Schools across all phases work in genuine collaboration and provide school to school support, shared projects and learning opportunities for staff and students.

“Headteacher colleagues work together for the good of all the children and young people with a shared moral purpose and a collective will to make sure these children have the very best start in life.

“North Tyneside schools want to and do work together.

“The North Tyneside Learning Trust has been a strong factor supporting this, creating opportunities that ensure no child in the borough is limited by low aspiration or lack of opportunity.

“North Tyneside has an excellent record of achievement and in the recent performance tables sits within the top performing regions nationally.

“This report suggests in some coastal schools recruitment is a key limiting factor to improvement, however, this has not been the case at Monkseaton.

“We have been able to retain and recruit to key positions and as a result have been able to provide quality training for staff, supporting them to develop their own learning and indeed now have four specialist leaders of education who also deliver training within other schools.”

She added: “Leadership is definitely important for all schools and not just those at the coast, but it’s about much more than that.

“Since my appointment I have been privileged enough to appoint my entire leadership team and therefore have been able to drive our vision and key areas of focus with a genuine sense of purpose.

“All of our children achieve their potential, our results in 2014 put us as one of the most improved schools in the country for the progress they made and we have surpassed these this year.

“Integral to this has been the true belief that we are a school family, where every child matters and achieves their maximum potential, but is also nurtured and supported to enjoy their learning experience.

“We’re a team of dedicated leaders communicating a shared vision with governors, teachers and support staff driven by all tightly focused plan that keeps us all on track.”