Education leaders from around the country have been looking to a North East school for help in raising standards in underprivileged pupils.
Hebburn Comprehensive is one of just three schools nationally to be identified by Government inspectors for bucking the trend in helping working class, white children achieve.
As a result the South Tyneside school was contacted by United Learning, the country’s largest single sponsor of academies, to see if they could learn their secret to success.
Yesterday, representatives from United Learning, including head teachers from around the country, visited the school for a tour and to observe lessons.
Deputy headteacher Ron Brady said: “To be identified as the only school in the North East – and the only secondary school in the country – to buck the national trend for raising academic achievement in white, working class students is recognition of the hard work our staff and pupils put in.
“When the pupils join us in Year 7, some of them are performing below the level expected of them, but by the time they leave they are on target or exceeding expectations.
“Hebburn might be seen by many as what would be called a ‘bog standard’ comprehensive, but that isn’t reflected in our work or in our results.
“We try to personalise things at the school so that we can work with pupils on an individual level.
“We constantly monitor pupils’ progress and rigorously track their work, which allows us to intervene quickly should we need to.
“We put together a tailored, personalised package for the students so they get the support they need.”
He added: “I think the key to our success is that we go the extra mile for all of our students.
“I’m not saying other schools don’t do that too, but our efforts are clearly having more impact than others.”
The visitors met students in Year 11, who have benefited from the full “Hebburn experience”, as well as a group of school-leavers who are now studying A-levels at Hebburn’s neighbour, St Joseph’s RC Comprehensive.
In its latest Ofsted report, published last term, inspectors noted: “Systems for tracking students’ progress at regular intervals during Key Stage 4 have been improved and are now very clear and effective.
“Consequently, all groups of students, including those supported by extra funds, the pupil premium, make good progress.”
The other two schools identified for their work with working class pupils are primaries in Birkenhead and Bristol.