Staff and pupils at a Monkseaton school are celebrating a ‘remarkable turnaround’.
Ofsted inspectors praised the ‘incisive and inspirational leadership’ that has led to the transformation of Woodlawn School in just two years.
According to the school’s latest inspection report, ‘no stone has been left unturned in the pursuit of excellence’ at Woodlawn.
As a result the school has now been rated good, compared to a previous judgement of requires improvement in 2016.
The latest Ofsted findings for Woodlawn make for proud reading – praising strikingly effective teaching, impeccable behaviour from pupils, incisive, strong and inspirational leadership and top notch planning.
Headteacher Gill Wilson said: “We are exceptionally proud of our latest Ofsted report and delighted that the inspection team have recognised the huge amount of hard work that happens at Woodlawn to create a learning environment where our children are supported as unique individuals to achieve their very best.
“We have a fantastic staff team who consistently go above and beyond to support our children, and their work has an evident impact on our pupils and their families. We also have an excellent governing body who challenge and support us to be the very best we can be. And of course, we wouldn’t have achieved this fantastic report without our wonderful pupils, who make us so proud every single day with their brilliant enthusiasm and positive attitude.”
Woodlawn supports pupils aged from two to 19 with a range of special education needs, taking in pupils from across North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland.
Pupils’ needs at Woodlawn are complex and can represent significant barriers to learning; including moderate, profound and multiple learning difficulties, physical and medical disabilities, and sensory impairments.
The inspectors found that the curriculum at the school has been skilfully adapted to meet those wide-ranging and often challenging needs, supporting pupils to achieve and leave the school with external qualifications.
Praise for the individual care and attention given to each pupil is a theme which runs strongly throughout the report; with inspectors noting that staff take into account a ‘wealth of information’ to support pupils to attend school and achieve, often in the context of very challenging circumstances.
The staff team at the school includes speech and language therapists, physiotherapists and other health professionals, alongside teaching staff; and inspectors noted that staff are ‘exceptionally sensitive’ to individual needs, with some of the teaching described as ‘strikingly effective’. As a result, pupils make good progress and have excellent attitudes to learning.
Leadership is also particularly praised with inspectors recognising that the head teacher, senior leaders and governors have provided the ‘inspiration’ for staff to combine their skills and talents in the pursuit of excellence.
Improvement planning is also rated as ‘top notch’ as a result of the head teacher’s excellent and incisive understanding of her school, and the report remarks that she has ‘galvanised’ her staff.
The inspectors also praised the school’s strong partnerships with parents, and in turn, parents have praised the school as ‘superb’ - with one parent remarking that it ‘clearly puts the needs of the children right at the centre of its ethos’.
Pupils say they feel safe in school, and those who are potentially vulnerable are particularly looked after, receiving high levels of personal support. Behaviour is ‘impeccable’ and pupils’ level of focus is ‘impressive’. Attendance is also strong, given the complex needs of pupils and often the need for regular medical appointments or hospital admissions.
Chair of Governors, Hilary Harrison said: “This is a brilliant achievement for everyone involved in the Woodlawn School community, including our leadership team, staff, parents, carers and partners. It is even more fantastic that we’ve achieved this in our 100th anniversary year.
“We are looking forward to building on this great work and fantastic Ofsted judgement, and we will continue to strive for excellence for our school and our pupils.”
Coun Peter Earley, North Tyneside Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Learning, added: “To go from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ in such a short space of time is a significant achievement, and a testament to the very strong leadership, governance and partnership working in place at Woodlawn School.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone involved in this success story, and look forward to seeing Woodlawn go from strength to strength.”