06/05/2005
For more information contact Helen Greenwood on 0191 2115097

Gosforth West Middle School has been placed in special measures following an
inspection by Ofsted.

In September 2003 the school, on Jubilee Road, Newcastle, was judged to have
serious weaknesses.

Following a subsequent inspection, in March 2005, Ofsted inspectors placed the
school in special measures.

In their most recent report, the inspectors said the school had failed to
urgently address the areas of serious weakness identified in the earlier
inspection.

The inspectors said that although the school has improved in several areas
there are unsatisfactory standards in the quality of leadership and management
and the quality of teaching has declined.

They said pupils showed satisfactory progress in the 2004 Key Stage 2 tests but
that attainment in some subjects, and particularly boys' achievement, needed to
be better.

The report said: "In mathematics, the proportion of pupils achieving at least
the expected Level 4 was well above average in relation to their prior
attainment; in science, the proportion was above average, but in English it was
well below average."

The report also said that standards in art and design, design and technology
and information and communication technology (ICT) are improving and are
satisfactory.

Inspectors said that pupils' attitudes and behaviour in lessons had improved
and was satisfactory or better, levels of attendance had risen and they also
noted that the school is now "much more settled and orderly" than it was at the
time of the previous inspection.

The report sets key priorities for the school to address, including:

Establish strategic leadership and ensure that management at all levels is
rigorous and consistent.
Improve the quality of teaching.
Continue to raise pupils’ attainment by setting challenging targets and
improving the quality and impact of assessment.

Paul Black, Chair of Governors at the school, said: "We are naturally
disappointed to have been placed in special measures.

"There have been clear improvements in some areas but the inspectors felt that
the school leaders had not sufficiently addressed other areas of weakness,
particularly the quality of teaching and standards in English.

"The school and governors are already taking action to address this and since
the inspection we have been working closely with the city council to put in
place a robust improvement plan."

The report recognised the "welcome and timely" support being given to the
school by Newcastle City Council, which includes staff training and the
deployment of an experienced associate headteacher to help develop stronger
leadership and management.

David Clegg, Head of Standards and Effectiveness at Newcastle City Council,
said: "The city council will work intensively with the school and is fully
committed to supporting staff and governors.

"By working together to address the areas of concern, I am confident that we
can bring about the improvements that are required.

"We will set tight deadlines on an improvement plan and parents can be assured
that we will put the school fully back on track as quickly as possible."

END