SIX months after a critical Ofsted report, leaders at a town’s only secondary school are confident they are turning things around to give the school and pupils a bright future.

Whitworth Park School and Sixth Form College, in Spennymoor, was deemed inadequate by the education watchdog after disappointing results last summer and an inspection in December.

Pupil outcomes were inadequate and management, teaching, behaviour and welfare and post 16 provision all required improvement.

Since the report, there has been a significant restructure and a more inclusive, open and honest environment so staff, governors, parents and children all feel part of positive change.

David Stone stepped up from deputy to interim headteacher to lead a new senior leadership team, teachers will focus on their specialist subjects and have more career opportunities so the best are retained and reliance on supply teachers has been cut.

“Everyone, in every department has had a magnifying glass over them,” said Mr Stone. “We have a great team going forward and we want this back to a good or outstanding school, I’m confident the kids are getting the service they deserved for a long time.”

The inadequate Ofsted rating prompted a move towards academisation and the Regional Schools Commissioner is expected to announce a preferred partner, probably a high performing school in the region, soon.

Fears Whitworth Park would have to shut its sixth form because of low student numbers have been quelled.

The present year 12 has 20 students and if a similar number enrolled this summer it could have been financially unviable. But as first or only choice for 63 youngsters and with a further 90 still considering it, the sixth form can not only continue but offer up to 22 courses.

Mr Stone said: “We made no secret about having to cost it and consider the sixth form’s future, but I’m really confident about it. I want one at this site, in this town.”

Pam Sneath, chair of governors, said: “Ofsted saw really positive changes were underway and we’re working really hard to continue in the right direction and I have no doubt that results will start to come on the back of that.”