‘Inspirational leadership’ has seen residential care at a special school improve significantly.
Such was the message from Ofsted after an inspection at St Mary’s School and Sixth Form College, in Wrestwood Road, in October.
Seventeen months earlier, the school had been told its residential provision required improvement, and staff and governors said they were delighted to have now been rated ‘good’.
In her report, which was published on November 9, inspector Janet Hunnam said: “The consultant principal, interim management board and senior managers are providing effective and inspirational leadership resulting in significant and rapid improvement in the quality of care for residential pupils.”
The school, which has 34 residential pupils, was given just three hours’ notice of the inspection. Ms Hunnam spent three days at St Mary’s, talking to teachers, staff, parents, governors, the interim management board – which took over the running of the school in September 2015 – and consultant principal Amanda Clugston.
She recognised that the safety of the pupils was ‘central to all practice’ and that the residential children were making ‘significant progress’.
Her report stated: “Residential pupils enjoy their experience. Through highly individualised care and support they make significant progress.
“Leaders and managers are driving forward improvement to ensure that all the needs of residential pupils are met, with increased opportunities for them to fulfil their potential.”
Mrs Clugston said: “We are delighted with Ofsted’s findings and confident that St Mary’s is on a steady track to excellence. Staff, parents, pupils, governors and our interim management board all play a part making sure St Mary’s is a wonderful place for our pupils to live and learn. We are very proud of the school’s achievements.”
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