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New board appointed to take Haydon Bridge High forward

ByDave Stopher

Jun 5, 2018

Northumberland County Council has stepped in to support senior staff at Haydon Bridge High School to make significant improvements following a recent Ofsted inspection.

The school continues to be in ‘special measures’ and has been deemed ‘Inadequate’ in its latest Ofsted inspection –  the results of which were released this week.

The interim executive board appointed by the Department for Education to assist in the transition of the school to become part of the Bright Tribe Trust was heavily criticised in the Ofsted report. Subsequently the board stood down and now the Local Authority has been allowed to step in to rescue the school.

The high school, which was in the process of transitioning to Academy status, is now being  brought back under county council control for at least three years, following the withdrawal of the Bright Tribe Trust as an academy sponsor. The council has also agreed to provide a £1.54m three-year funding package to enhance teaching and learning and between £2.5 and £3m to improve the buildings.

The local authority has recently appointed five people to form a new Interim Executive Board (IEB) comprising local authority officers and members of the local community with specialist areas of expertise. Parents have received letter from the board explaining who they are and what their track record is.

The IEB will hold school leaders to account and provide the necessary strategic direction to improve teaching, learning, assessment and pupil outcomes to ensure the long-term future for the school.

In the latest Ofsted report,  the school’s previous leadership and management under the control of the previous IEB were deemed inadequate because they did not have an impact on improving the quality of teaching or outcomes for young people.  Personal development, behaviour and 16-19 study programmes also required improvement.

The report does however  highlight a number of strengths, including the work of the headteacher and improvement in leadership in some departments, including English.  It also recognised the improved teaching in the sixth form leading to stronger outcomes, and that students are supported well for their next steps after school.

County Councillor Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services said:  “We understand that since Bright Tribe came on the scene this has been an unsettling time for the community and the students but now we have been allowed back in the school we are optimistic for the future, despite current concerns.  

“While the Ofsted report is disappointing reading, we do not dispute the issues highlighted in it. The newly appointed  Interim Executive Board is already working hard to address key weaknesses and will both challenge and support the school to ensure rapid improvement is made.

“We are also particularly encouraged that Ofsted say that pupils, staff and parents hold the Principal in high esteem and acknowledge that he is beginning to create stability and improve aspects of the school under very difficult circumstances. Having the right leadership  to drive the school forward is fundamental to its improvement.”