Most people seem to like Thornhill Community Academy. When the school featured in the television series Educating Yorkshire, viewers wrote to ask if staff members were single. The Department for Education even used English teacher Matthew Burton to front a teacher-recruitment campaign.
Ofsted, however, disagrees. Thornhill, in West Yorkshire, has been told that it requires improvement.
But headteacher Jonny Mitchell received the news with equilibrium. “It’s the first time that I’ve led a school through an Ofsted inspection,” he told TES. “I’d heard horror stories about the attitudes of inspectors. But they were a very positive advert for Ofsted. There are no sour grapes there. Apart from the outcome, it was a wholly pleasurable experience.”
Educating Yorkshire, Channel 4’s fly-on-the-wall -documentary series about the school, was watched by more than 4.5 million viewers at its peak. Even initially sceptical TV critics were won over by the end of the series, with its poignant portrayal of student Musharaf Asghar’s struggle to overcome his stammer.
However, GCSE results fell sharply at Thornhill last summer, with only 17 per cent of pupils achieving five A*-C grades including English and maths.
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"Don't be scared. It has to go terribly to hurt your school" – 22 August 2014
Yorkshire has made teaching fans of us all – 15 November 2013
A school humming to a different tune – 6 September 2013