Ofsted Inspection of Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy

As you know, our school was inspected on 15-16 November 2022 by a team from Ofsted, led by one of His Majesty’s Inspectors, Miss Eleanor Belfield.

We are delighted to tell you that the inspection report has now been released, which means that – at last! – we are able to share the result with you.

Inspectors judged that Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy is a GOOD school in all areas.

This is a very significant judgement for our school and our community: your child once more attends a GOOD school! The school was last judged GOOD in 2013, and since then it has twice been judged as ‘Requires Improvement’. This GOOD judgement recognises the work that we have done to improve your child’s school and the quality of their education. The first paragraph of the report is very significant: it notes that, as a result of the timely decisions taken by leaders, pupils now receive a good standard of education.

You can read the inspection report here. I hope that you do read this and share it with members of the community.

Inspectors noted that, as a result of effective leadership within the school:

  • Pupils receive a good standard of education
  • Leaders and staff share the same high expectations for all pupils
  • Pupils’ attendance is improving
  • There has been a marked improvement in pupils’ behaviour. Pupils’ behaviour in lessons is calm and lessons are rarely disrupted
  • Pupils with SEND are well supported in lessons
  • Pupils can access a varied programme of extra-curricular activities and wider opportunities
  • Students in the sixth form speak eloquently and proudly of their school
  • Leaders, including governors, have an accurate understanding of the strengths of their school and where it needs to improve further
  • Teaching staff benefit from the training they receive. They are excited to be part of the school’s ongoing improvements
  • The arrangements for safeguarding are effective

The school’s inclusive culture is recognised, and some of the many opportunities for extra-curricular enrichment are named. Inspectors noted that bullying is rare, and that pupils are confident that staff will help them if any issues do arise.

The school’s Pride Group is held up as an example of the ways in which tolerance and acceptance are promoted. We are delighted to announce that the Mayor of Gateshead will attend the school this Friday morning, to unveil a new piece of artwork celebrating diversity, and to give a speech.

Inspectors mentioned our ambitious curriculum, including the ways in which fundamental knowledge is taught and built upon as pupils make progress. Inspectors noticed the consistent features and quality of lessons, and the additional support given to those who need it.

The report notes that staff and pupils welcome the positive changes that leaders have made. Many parents are similarly enthused by the improvements that they see. It is good to have the support of so many parents. School leaders, including governors, will continue to work to improve the education we provide for your children. We know that our work is not finished, and that this Ofsted report represents an important milestone on our improvement journey. The report names just one area for further improvement, which is for the school to become more strategic in making sure that pupils from a disadvantaged background receive the support they need. This is an area on which we were already working at the time of the inspection, and for which we have further plans.

Overall, this is a very positive report. As Principal, and as Chair of Governors, we are incredibly proud of the changes and developments we have brought about at Lord Lawson, and the ways in which we have improved the quality of education we offer to your child.

After the publication of the previous inspection report, in June 2019, we invited parents and carers into the school to discuss the report and to hear about leaders’ plans for improvement. Many parents and carers attended this meeting with governors and the (then newly appointed) Principal. We will be extending an invitation to you once more to discuss this new report and hear about our further plans for development and improvement. Details of this meeting will be communicated soon.

As parents and carers, you can be confident in the quality of education offered at Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy, and confident that we are on track to improve it still further. This report will be published shortly on the school website, and after 8 days it will be published on Ofsted’s website. Please feel free to share this report with others.

With all good wishes for a very happy new year!

Andrew Fowler

Guy Currey
Chair of Governors