Caister school celebrates improved Ofsted

The John Grant School in Caister for children with special educational needs. Photo: Angela Sharpe.

The John Grant School in Caister for children with special educational needs. Photo: Angela Sharpe. - Credit: Archant © 2008

A Norfolk special school is celebrating a leap in its ratings after moving from “requires improvement” to a report which hails its outstanding work helping pupils with autism.

John Grant School’s latest report says the joint efforts of everyone involved, particularly the head and her deputy, has brought about the changes raising the judgement to good in all four main areas, and overall.

Teaching is said to have “improved significantly” at the 128-pupil school in Caister since the previous inspection two years ago helping to raise the achievement of pupils many of whom have complex needs across a huge age range.

The turnaround is also down to the efforts of staff who work effectively as a team and maintain close links with parents, according to the report.

Pupils are said to be polite and helpful with good attitudes to learning. They are also respectful and take pride in their work.

There is also plenty of praise for the leadership and management for their eradication of inadequate teaching and focus on “the basics.”

Headteacher Pamela Ashworth said she was delighted with the report which was an accurate reflection of where the school was and what it still had to do.

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Having only joined the school three weeks before the previous Ofsted inspection Mrs Ashworth said she was grateful to staff and parents for all their support and was particularly pleased with the recognition for the great strides made for those with autism.

The report makes special mention of the “outstanding progress” made by pupils with autism under well-trained staff as well as highlighting improvements across the school in general.

The dedicated provision, introduced in the last two years, provides two class bases for children in the primary year groups and upper school.

With most of Norfolk’s special schools having come together to form a co-operative Mrs Ashworth said the trust had provided a “strong source of support” although effectively it put into a formal arrangement a relationship that was already working.

The publication of the report means ten of Norfolk’s 11 special schools are now “good” or “outstanding.”

Inspectors who gave it their second best rating pointed the way towards the highest judgement with Mrs Ashworth declaring that was what the school was aiming for next time.

“Our school motto is ‘working together to be the best we can be’ and that is what we are doing. The report is a true representation of where the school is now and that Ofsted have recognised that is brilliant,” she said.

To be better teaching needs to be consistently good, pupils need to know exactly what is expected, and small steps in progress should be clearly marked in their books.