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Staff and pupils at Hexham Middle School are celebrating after receiving a glowing report from Ofsted, following a recent inspection. The personal development, behaviour and welfare of the pupils are rated as Outstanding, with the school gaining an overall judgement of Good.

In his report, the Lead Inspector, Dr Michael Wardle, notes the fact that achievement has “risen sharply since the last inspection”, with the attainment being reached by pupils described as being “well above what is expected for their age.” He comments: “All pupils achieve well” because a “personalised approach ensures that pupils are treated as individuals”.

Dr Wardle praises the “high level of consistency in teaching”, and comments that “teachers use a variety of activities and topics to engage pupils”, and that teachers are good at “observing the pace of learning and shape lessons and planning accordingly”. He notes that teachers “question pupils well, and challenge their thinking” and that “marking is of good quality across the school.”

Pupils’ behaviour and attitudes to learning come in for particular praise in the report. Dr Wardle writes: “Pupils have very positive attitudes in lessons and show a high level of focus”, noting that they “try hard in lessons and respond quickly to any directions from members of staff.” He observes that “pupils are courteous, polite, and show a deep level of respect for one another. They move around the site calmly, sensibly and considerately. They are very well behaved in the dining areas and open spaces”.

He also comments that “one of the striking features in the standards the pupils reach at school is their ability to express themselves orally. Pupils speak confidently in class, and are able to articulate complex ideas with some ease. They are able to explain their thinking and give well-thought-out reasons and explanations.” He goes on to say: “Pupils are very proud of their school and treat it with respect. Pupils’ books are neatly presented and well cared for, indicating the pride they take in their work. Their pride and self-discipline are also evident in pupils’ smart appearance, and their readiness to learn.”

The school’s curriculum is described as “stimulating…with a wide variety of exciting topics and trips which spark in pupils a love of learning.” Extra-curricular opportunities are described as “impressive.” As such, the Lead Inspector concludes that “the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of the pupils is strong. Values of tolerance, acceptance, fairness and justice are central to life at school. The school prepares pupils well for life in modern Britain” and “supports pupils to develop into rounded citizens.”

The school’s arrangements for safeguarding its pupils are seen as “highly effective”. The report comments: “Pupils have an excellent understanding of how to keep safe. Of note is their understanding of how to stay safe online, which is promoted across the curriculum, on the website, and through advice given to pupils and parents. Pupils and parents say that the school is a safe place to be.”

Mr Atkins, Executive Headteacher, commented: “I am very pleased with this report as it accurately reflects the quality of provision on offer at Hexham Middle School. The fulsome praise of the staff and pupils is richly deserved. I am very proud of them.”