A ONCE struggling school is celebrating a glowing report from education watchdogs.

Ofsted inspectors recognised the turnaround Sacriston Academy, in County Durham, has made in the past four years.

The former Sacriston Primary School become an Academy in 2017 and embarked on a programme of rapid improvements under the guidance of sponsor, the North East Learning Trust.

This followed accusations of poor management and unruly behaviour by pupils at the primary – established in 2014 with the merger of Sacriston Nursery and Infant School and Sacriston Junior School – which saw it put in special measures by Ofsted.

Inspectors who visited the school in October, found that everyone involved in the school has the highest expectations for every child and openly commends all aspects of school life as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.

This included exemplary pupil behaviour, the high quality of the curriculum, robust safeguarding arrangements, effective leadership and the quality of early years teaching.

But staff and families are particularly proud of how pupils feel about the school.

The report states: “Pupils love attending this school. They are happy and feel safe.

"Pupils are proud of their school. They think the staff are kind and helpful.”

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Inspectors said headteacher Annalei Bartlett “has steered the school to substantial improvement since her appointment”.

She said: “We are absolutely thrilled and could not be prouder of our community school. I am so pleased that the dedication of our staff and families has been recognised.

“The journey we have undertaken from special measures has been rapid and is testament to the hard work and dedication of our school staff, North East Learning Trust, our families and children.

“Our Ofsted report clearly shows that we have happy children and staff who adore learning.

"The balance between this and high academic outcomes can be a challenge to achieve, so is something to be very proud of.”

The Northern Echo:

Deputy CEO of the North East Learning Trust and executive headteacher at Sacriston Academy, Dr Janice Gorlach, said: “Sacriston Academy completely lives up our Trust vision by offering ‘every child access to an excellent education, every day’.

"What I see is outstanding teaching and learning delivered by devoted and talented staff to well behaved, bright and eager to learn children who thoroughly enjoy coming to school.

“Local families embraced the changes we needed to make back in 2017 and trusted us to make a difference for their children – which we have - and where Sacriston Academy is now, without doubt, one of the best primary schools in the area."

Chair of governors, Tracey Pizl, said: “The report confirms what we have been experiencing at Sacriston Academy for some time, that special measures are long forgotten and that the school is delivering a fantastic quality of education for the children and families of Sacriston and the local area.”

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