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Letters extra: Putting the record straight

Having read the article about the King's Academy in Middlesbrough (TES, 12 December) and having been deputy headteacher at Coulby Newham School which the Academy replaced, and which featured prominently in the article, I think some truths need to be established.

Coulby Newham was a successful school. Its Ofsted reports of March 1995 and December 2000 revealed a well-managed school where most of the teaching was good, very good or excellent, and where pupils were happy and secure.

Most importantly, in September 2002, HMI reported that the school was even better than at its last inspection. It provided a good quality of education, a good climate for learning and good management and leadership. Standards had improved by encouraging pupils to work harder and to better effect. HMI commented on the calm atmosphere, the shared humour and the mutual respect between staff and pupils.

Pupils were keen to learn and followed instructions willingly. The school was succeeding in steadily raising pupils' attainment. Indeed in the value-added statistics for the 2002 examinations Coulby Newham was the second highest attaining school in Middlesbrough (beaten narrowly by the selective Macmillan College).

Most significantly HMI stated very clearly that the new school (ie the King's Academy) should adapt aspects of Coulby Newham's good practice. HMI recommended that "a major contribution to the establishment of the new school would be to identify those things that are done well at Coulby Newham, and why they work well, so that the new school can consider how to transfer and adapt the aspects of good practice to which many of its pupils will be accustomed, within its intended practices and structures."

Finally, the current year 11 at the Academy includes Coulby Newham School pupils who achieved outstanding results in key stage 3 SATs.

Gordon Potter Washington

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