A SCHOOL that was placed in special measures before an academy trust took over has now been rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

Following a visit by Ofsted inspectors on January 13 and 14, Northallerton School and Sixth Form College has been rated ‘good’ in each of the five inspection categories and given a ‘good’ overall rating.

It is a marked improvement for the school which was placed in special measures in 2018 after Ofsted found serious problems with safeguarding, bullying and pupils’ behaviour.

In September 2019 the school formally became part of the Areté Learning academy Trust and was awarded £8.7m in government funding to refurbish and extend the old Allertonshire School site on Brompton Road to create a new campus which opened to pupils in September 2021.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Pictured in 2019 when the trust announcement was made; from left, Catherine Brooker, Vicki Rahn, head of school and Jan Linsley, who will chair the local governing body

Following their January inspection, Ofsted inspectors found that although there were ‘some pockets of low-level disruption’ among pupils, the school’s refined behaviour system with a focus on rewards and restorative practice had led to fewer pupil suspensions.

The school was also praised for its ‘ambitious’ curriculum, ‘effective’ teaching and for its range of after-school clubs.

In contrast to the 2018 inspection, Ofsted found that the school now has effective safeguarding arrangements with leaders being ‘fully aware of the potential risks that pupils face’.

The report states: “Pupils are polite and respectful.

“They feel proud to be part of the school.

“One pupil commented to an inspector that ‘this school makes people feel welcome’. There is a community feel in the school.”

Inspectors did highlight a couple of areas for improvement as the school strives to achieve the top ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating.

They said that staff should ensure that information provided by the SEND team (special educational needs and disabilities) was fully used to ensure SEND pupils achieved their full potential.

And inspectors noted that although pupils’ attendance was generally good, the persistent absence rates for disadvantaged pupils and SEND pupils are higher than their peers and this should continue to be addressed.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Rishi Sunak unveils the plaque at the official opening of Northallerton School and Sixth Form College’s new campus in December 2021

Richard Crane, CEO of the Areté Learning Trust welcomed the report and said in a statement to parents: “We are incredibly proud of the inspection result for Northallerton School - it is something to be justifiably very proud of, and is testament to the hard work of pupils and colleagues within the school and across the trust.

“I know that we will build on this success to ensure as a team that Northallerton and the other schools in our trust continue to go from strength to strength.

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“Congratulations to everyone within the school community for all of their efforts.”

In a letter sent to parents about the report, head of school Vicki Rahn said she was delighted that the Ofsted team recognised the improvements the school has made.

She added: “The ethos of the school we are now, shone through the report to affirm the significant transformation undertaken.

“We are delighted to have made such strong progress since the school was last inspected and to have the hard work of both staff and students recognised in the report.”

Ms Rahn added that the school would continue to build on its ‘strong upward trajectory’ in its bid to be graded as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

In December, Northallerton’s MP Rishi Sunak hailed ‘a brighter future’ for the school when he officially opened the refurbished site.