• Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub


A Teesside primary school with three times more disadvantaged pupils than the national average is celebrating an ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating.

Brambles Primary Academy in Middlesbrough has become one of fewer than 16% of schools previously rated as Outstanding to retain the standard this year.

Part of Tees Valley Education Multi-Academy Trust, the academy serves an area of high deprivation and the school’s leaders believe their success is a direct result of their commitment to excellence and their high expectations

Only a third of staff employed at the time of the last inspection are still with Brambles Primary Academy, while head teacher Karen Gleave and deputy heads Louise Stogdale and Darren Higgins have each been in post for fewer than three years.

It was also revealed that the school’s high turnover of staff following its last Ofsted inspection in 2014 meant that within two years of its Outstanding judgement the pupils’ outcomes had fallen well below the national average.

Hailing the turnaround in such testing circumstances, Ofsted’s Diane Buckle wrote in her report: “This is a remarkable achievement in such a short space of time”.

She praised the school’s “strong and decisive leadership”, stating “the headteacher is well supported by her two very skilled deputies. Collectively, they have quickly secured the confidence and commitment of all staff, and their morale is exceptionally high. Staff have implicit trust in their combined leadership and welcome the clarity, support and challenge that it brings.”

And she gave special mention to the behaviour of the 341 children, adding: “Pupils know implicitly how to behave and how to interact positively with each other and with staff.

“This is because of the high levels of respect that underpin the school’s very inclusive and supportive ethos. Pupils hold doors open for each other and offer warm and welcoming smiles to all.”

And the report added: “A review of children’s outcomes in the early years indicates that they too make excellent progress from exceptionally low starting points.”

Deputy head Louise Stogdale admitted: “Three years ago, far from being Outstanding, we knew our school’s true performance had fallen way below acceptable standards, so we’re absolutely thrilled to retain the status the school last achieved in 2014.

Deputy head Darren Higgins added:I believe that our high expectations and our commitment to excellence have been recognised in this report and I am delighted that our children’s excellent progress, exemplary behaviour and positive attitudes to learning were documented.”

Head teacher Ms Gleave praised her deputies, adding: “I am so hugely proud of the hard work and dedication of my senior leadership team and all of my staff.

We’re over the moon, and I’m just delighted for the whole community and everyone involved with the school. I am privileged to work with such an amazing team, and we look forward to building on this success over the months and years ahead.

“It’s been a full team effort from staff, children, parents and the agencies we work with to turn things around and ensure we provide the very best education and life chances for our children.