Rossendale School in Ramsbottom, Lancashire, has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted yet again (the 12th year in succession).
The school was rated ‘outstanding’ in all of the assessment categories, including: “effectiveness of leadership and management”; “quality of teaching, learning and assessment”; its “sixth form provision”; and “overall experiences and progress of children and young people in the residential provision”.
In their report, following the inspection, Ofsted inspectors said: “Teachers and other adults provide highly engaging and effective teaching. As a result, pupils make rapid progress”. Inspectors described the teaching as “highly effective”. They went on to mention the “extremely positive” relationship between teachers and pupils, and they regarded teachers’ subject knowledge as “very good”. The report continually makes reference to the use of innovative teaching methods, and gives one example of where young people extracted DNA from a kiwi fruit.
Promoting personal development
Inspectors said that the school’s work to promote personal development and welfare is “outstanding”. They added, “Pupils were keen to tell inspectors how well staff care and support them. One pupil said, ‘Teachers are really helpful and support us to make the right decisions.’ Another pupil said: ‘Staff teach us how to deal with issues and explain things in details.’”
The report goes onto praise the school’s “excellent programme of personal, social and health education”, which includes learning about equality and diversity as well as different faiths and cultures. School leaders go “above and beyond” the call of duty in how they deliver their impartial careers advice.
Rossendale School’s sixth form provision offers a “bright and stimulating” environment for teaching and learning, according to inspectors. Inspectors commented, “Leaders ensure that students have the opportunity to study personalised learning programmes that help them progress to their chosen career, employment or apprenticeship. Very few students leave the sixth form once they have started their courses.”
Strong residential provision
Ofsted observed that the relationships between staff and young people were equally as strong in its residential provision. Those who reside at the school take part in pamper evenings, sport and physical activities. Residents dine out and attend leisure centres and parks in the local community. They can also make use of a new therapy suite that the school has installed.
The report heaps heavy praise on the school’s Head teacher and leadership team throughout. Its Headteacher, David Duncan, won an Award for Lifetime Achievement in the 2017 Pearson Teaching Awards. This recognised Mr Duncan’s achievements at Rossendale School, and to education in general, over the years.
Rossendale School, part of Priory Education and Children’s services, is located on Bamford Road, Rossendale, near Bury, and has its residential provision on nearby sites. The school educates people with high functioning autism and associated challenging behaviours, as well as social, emotional and mental health difficulties. It supports around 70 people from ages 8 to 18, many of whom use its residential provision at some point in the school year.
David Duncan, Head teacher at Rossendale School, said: “The school has been rated ‘outstanding’ for 12 years in a row, but this achievement feels particularly satisfying as the Lead Inspector himself was also being inspected by a Senior Inspector from the Ofsted Quality Assurance Team so we really were put under the microscope. I have a wonderful staff team at Rossendale School who do their utmost to support our young people. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of them for making a real difference to our pupil’s lives. Just as importantly, I want to congratulate our young people for making the very most of their opportunities with us.”
Simon Coles, CEO of Priory Education and Children’s Services, said: “Rossendale School continues to act as a benchmark for all special schools. It delivers exceptional teaching and learning to all the young people it supports, with a huge focus on the personal and social development of the individual I just want to thank Mr Duncan and his team for everything they do to make the school and its residential provision a special place.”
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