THE SUCCESS of an east Durham school "nails the lie" there is any air of academic defeatism in the region, Labour's shadow education secretary said today
Tristram Hunt was speaking during a visit to Wellfield Community School in Wingate, near Peterlee, which has raised its Ofsted rating from inadequate to good within just four terms.
He was referring to controversial remarks by former education secretary Michael Gove who said last year that he could "smell the sense of defeatism" in some North-East schools.
Mr Gove picked out east Durham as a prime example of where schools were dogged by a "problem of ambition in certain traditional communities".
Mr Hunt said: "I am enormously excited to be at Wellfield School to talk to the head, Linda Rodham, and the leadership team about the journey of transition they have made from having serious weaknesses to being in a really strong and encouraging situation.
"The school is delivering remarkable improvements in English and maths and has a sense of mission and purpose about the education of young people here."
Mr Hunt, was invited to the school by Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson, Phil comments: "Instead of any notion of the smell of defeatism there is, as you would expect in any other part of the country, great levels aspiration and ambition and excellence here.
"What is particularly encouraging is the strength of leadership at Wellfield School and the quality of teaching."
He added: "To have a chemistry graduate teaching chemistry GCSE to student who will go on to take chemistry in A levels and then on to university really nails the lie about any kind of academic defeatism here."
Mr Hunt said the school's success was down to "the vision, tough decisions and strong management of a head with a mission".
He added: "Mrs Rodham's focus is on making sure kids from this part of the country have as much opportunity as a kid from Hampshire, London or Manchester."
Speaking of Labour's vision for the future, Mr Hunt said: "Improving our schools so that every child has the best start in life is a priority for Labour and a priority for me. "We will end the scandal of allowing unqualified teachers to teach in our classrooms on a permanent basis, introduced by David Cameron's government."
This first appeared in the Northern Echo on January 8th 2015: see here...