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North Tyneside - Mirror on the wall makes for Ofsted's fairest

A school in North Tyneside with an innovative observation room has won praise from Ofsted, with outstanding grades across the board.

Whitley Bay High School is one of the first secondaries to receive the distinction since September's change to the inspection framework.

Teaching at the school, where staff observe each other at work, was described as "exciting and varied". One-way mirrored glass allows people to watch lessons in a classroom and a science laboratory without being seen by the teachers and pupils inside.

Despite some union criticism, headteacher Adam Chedburn insists that the gallery forms part of a "culture of complete openness" and is "the single most important tool in improving the quality of teaching in the past ten years".

Ofsted said: "Teaching in the rooms with the viewing gallery is seen by many staff as a privilege in order to share good practice."

Mr Chedburn said: "Tougher standards have made it increasingly difficult for schools to be recognised and graded as 'outstanding'. We are delighted that our practice has earned such high praise." ne.

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