Ofsted has revealed the six best County Durham schools that all have 'Outstanding' ratings from the education agency. 

The six schools, which are based in Spennymoor, Barnard Castle, Ferryhill, Shildon, Newton Aycliffe, and Low Willington, are all considered 'Outstanding' by Ofsted. 

All six of the schools were handed their 'Outstanding' rating within the last year, and have been adjudged to have wowed inspectors that visited each school. 

The most recent school to get an 'Outstanding' rating is Kirk Merrington School - with inspectors going around it on April 25 this year.

What is the Ofsted grading?

There is a 4-point grading scale used for inspection judgements:

  • grade 1: outstanding
  • grade 2: good
  • grade 3: requires improvement
  • grade 4: inadequate

What does a school have to do to be Outstanding?

To reach an “outstanding” standard, schools have to receive an “outstanding” grade for all the criteria, “meeting each and every good criterion”, securely and consistently, amongst others. Ofsted’s aim is to only name a school outstanding in a given area if they are truly performing exceptionally well and across the school.

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  • All other key judgements are likely to be outstanding.
  • In exceptional circumstances, one of the key judgements may be good, as long as there is convincing evidence that the school is improving this area sustainably and securely towards outstanding.
  • Typically this will mean meeting each and every one of the good criteria but falling short on the outstanding for that key judgement.
  • Safeguarding is effective.

The six best 'Outstanding' County Durham schools:

  • Kirk Merrington Primary School, South View, Kirk Merrington, Spennymoor, County Durham, DL16 7JB, Rating: Outstanding, Latest report: 25 April 2024
  • Montalbo Nursery & Primary School, Fairfield Road, Barnard Castle, County Durham, DL12 8TN, Rating: Outstanding, Latest report: 09 March 2023
  • Sugar Hill Primary School, Category: Primary, Sheraton Road, Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, DL5 5NU, Rating: Outstanding, Latest report: 30 November 2023
  • The Grange Learning Centre, Low Willington, County Durham, DL15 0TY, Rating: Outstanding, Latest report: 18 September 2023
  • Thornhill Primary School, Thornhill Gardens, Shildon, County Durham, DL4 1ES, Rating: Outstanding, Latest report: 21 March 2023
  • West Cornforth Primary School, High Street, West Cornforth, Ferryhill, County Durham, DL17 9HP, Rating: Outstanding, Latest report: 20 March 2024