A North East college with a consistent record for providing outstanding education has received its fifth consecutive top rating from Ofsted.
The latest endorsement of Emmanuel College means it has an unbroken history of outstanding grades since opening 23 years ago.
For the first time it was graded as outstanding in every category within the new, tougher Ofsted regime.
Inspectors were especially impressed by the college’s success in delivering on its aim to develop “responsible young people who see beyond themselves to service in the world about them”, while still reaching the highest academic standards.
They wrote: “Students value the many opportunities they have to develop special interests and talents, which help them subscribe fully to the school’s priority to develop leadership through service.
“Outstanding spiritual, moral, social and cultural development for students is central to the college’s aims. This results in well rounded young people who are able to care for others, display determination and integrity, and be tolerant of difference.”
Students’ outstanding behavior is the “cornerstone of the calm, purposeful atmosphere found everywhere in the college”, the inspectors said.
The young people expressed “overwhelming confidence” in the pastoral team, hold their teachers in high esteem and appreciate the extra effort staff go to, they added.
Teachers are “thorough professionals” who “show great skill” at challenging and supporting students to be the best. They have excellent subject knowledge and develop students’ thinking and understanding through challenging lessons and giving high quality feedback.
College leaders are never complacent and committed to constantly improving outcomes for students, the report said.
Emmanuel College is a local state secondary school but is independent of the local authority. It has specialisms in technology and business and enterprise.
Inspectors judged the curriculum to be excellent and rich in opportunities for students’ academic and personal development, and all students, regardless of their starting points, to be making exceptional progress.
They said the college was very successful at narrowing the gap in achievement between students from poorer backgrounds and those in other groups. Funding is well targeted at identifying specific needs and providing support to remove any barriers to learning.
They added: “A broad and balanced curriculum leads to outstanding outcomes for students of all abilities, because it is planned to take account of their aptitudes and aspirations at each key stage.”
Progress in mathematics is “exceptional” and the percentage of students achieving the English Baccalaureate (five or more A*-Cs including English, mathematics, science, humanities and a foreign language) was three times the national average.
Sixth formers welcome the many opportunities they are given to contribute to the school and wider community, and increasing numbers are going on to prestigious universities in the Russell group.
Principal of Emmanuel College Jonathan Winch said he felt privileged to be part of such an amazing team.
He added: “This result recognises the consistent hard work, care and unstinting pursuit of excellence for our students demonstrated for many years by an exceptional staff team.
“As a Christian-ethos school we have always taken a longer-term and broader view of education. What we want for our students is that they should be men and women of character, and this is what made such an impression on inspectors.
“They were blown away by our students and rightly so. They are exceptional young people and we are very proud of them.”