Middlesbrough headteacher 'immensely proud' as school that 'change lives' praised by Ofsted

Good as gold, pupils from River Tees Primary Academy celebrate with headteacher Sophie Moss after securing a ‘good’ rating from Ofsted inspectors.
Good as gold, pupils from River Tees Primary Academy celebrate with headteacher Sophie Moss after securing a ‘good’ rating from Ofsted inspectors. -Credit:UGC

Students and staff at a Teesside primary have been praised for creating a school held in 'high esteem' by its community.

Ofsted inspectors had high praise for River Tees Primary Academy, in Pallister Park, Middlesbrough, after a two day inspection of the alternate provision for children aged eight to 11.

The good grading comes at a time of increasing demand for services offered by the school, which helps children to re-engage with education against a backdrop of social, emotional and mental health issues and special educational needs.

Part of the River Tees Multi Academy Trust, the primary will be relocating from Sulby Avenue to Charlbury Road, in the next academic year, to a larger site allowing staff to expand their provision and offer more places to meet the growing demand for specialist support in Middlesbrough. The Ofsted report comes on the heels of the school securing the Leading Parent Partnership Award issued by the professional body Optimus Education.

This details how "parents appreciate how the staff go over and above to ensure that their children and families are given the best possible support". River Tees Primary Academy serves some of the most disadvantaged communities in the country. The school supports pupils who have been excluded, are at risk of exclusion or pupils with a varying level of SEND needs in order to access education.

It has just appointed a new role of transition and inclusion lead to provide an outreach and intervention package to support local schools. Headteacher Sophie Moss said: "I am immensely proud to lead a team of incredibly driven and dedicated staff, who go over and above to provide our pupils the opportunity to not only re-engage in education but to develop a love of learning. The report reflects the positive impact we have – we change lives.

"Our pupils are amazing and were so keen to show inspectors their work. They wouldn't stop reading because they were enjoying it so much." Inspectors highlighted that leaders and staff successfully focussed on 'getting the basics right'. They had established a calm school where pupils followed routines and behaved well.

The report stated: "Pupils are well placed to learn. The ambitious curriculum is designed to equip them with the core knowledge they need to succeed in mainstream schools. Pupils are quick to settle having struggled to access learning in their mainstream schools. They are happy and safe. Under the patient guidance of staff, pupils can better manage their feelings and behaviour. Pupils conduct themselves well in lessons and around the school. Their behaviour improves markedly over time.

"Staff and pupils enjoy respectful relationships. These help pupils to develop positive attitudes to their learning. They gain the resilience to stick at their work even when it gets tricky. Pupils, including the many with special educational needs and/or disabilities, learn an ambitious curriculum that helps them to close gaps in their literacy and numeracy knowledge. Many achieve well."

Inspectors also praised the fact that pupils benefitted from the school's 'impressive' personal development programme and they highlighted the school's carefully crafted curriculum which 'ignited' interest in reading. They said: "Pupils are confident to speak out if they feel anxious or unsafe. They know that staff listen to them and help to resolve any problems they have.

“Pupils' sense of self-worth grows through the optimistic, caring ethos that leaders and staff have instilled. Pupils, parents, staff and commissioning headteachers hold the school in high esteem."