A NORTH-EAST secondary school has been praised by education inspectors for its ‘positive culture’ and high aspirations’.

Dene Academy, at Peterlee, is celebrating after being given a ‘Good’ rating by Ofsted following a recent inspection.

Headteacher David Nelson said: “We are immensely proud that the extremely hard work of staff, governors, children, and the whole community has been recognised by the inspectors and captured in this extremely positive report.”

Over the two-day inspection, inspectors found that the school had “high aspirations”, with staff knowing pupils well, and a personalised approach ensuring that children with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities receive the support they need.

The Northern Echo: Dene Academy, at Peterlee, has received a 'good' rating from Ofsted

Dene Academy, which is part of the Advance Learning Partnership, was described as a “calm, inclusive, caring, nurturing, and safe school” with pupils benefiting from teachers’ subject knowledge and an ambitious curriculum which prioritises reading.

As well as praise for its academic standards, the school was also commended for a “very well planned” personal development programme that enables “pupils to access a wide range of opportunities and experiences”.

The inspectors also acknowledged the school’s “well considered careers programme” which enables them to make “informed decisions about their future”.

Throughout the report, there are references to the ‘warmth’ that radiates throughout the school, which has a welcoming culture and high-quality pastoral care.

The inspectors said the school fosters a culture of respect so that pupils are polite and courteous, behave well, and develop a sense of responsibility.

The report also highlights how staff are “overwhelmingly positive about working at the school”.

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Mr Nelson added: “This report is an endorsement of our improvement journey. To improve standards enough to move up a grade in Ofsted’s judgement is no small feat.

“It has been achieved through high expectations, determination, effort on the part of staff over a prolonged period, significant investment from the trust, and the willingness of students to engage in their learning and embrace the school’s ‘warm’ culture and ethos.

“This is a report that gives us all reassurance that we are heading in a very positive trajectory, but there is no room for complacency because we know there is still room for further improvement. We are determined to build on the momentum and go on progressing in everything we do so that our students get the best education possible.”