A school in Chorley, Lancashire, for young people with autism, is celebrating after it was praised for its “extremely high standards” by the National Autistic Society.
In its Autism Accreditation Review Report, Oliver House School was commended by experts for the “consistently high achievements” of pupils within lessons.
Their report said: “Oliver House School applies extremely high standards for the staff and students, and these are reflected in outcomes for its young people which parents, and Ofsted (the education inspectorate), regard as remarkable.
“A high level of personalisation, including strategies such as individual teaching rooms and strong relationships between students and staff - who are well-trained, understanding and committed - allow the school to achieve its aim of bringing out the best in everyone. This is underpinned by levels of resourcing which allow extraordinary levels of individualised provision – which in turn produces consistently good results for young people at the school, some of whom have extremely challenging conditions alongside their autism.”
The report said many young people came to Oliver House School after previous placements had broken down.
“The individual care and attention given to newcomers is recognised as a vital first plank in what becomes an effective support structure which underpins the development of strong working relationships.”
Autism Accreditation is an internationally-recognised process of support and development for all those providing services to autistic people. Those who achieve accreditation show they are committed to understanding autism and their service is setting the standard for autism practice.
As part of the review, observations were conducted of 15 lessons and other sessions, including classes both for groups and individuals, therapeutic sessions and off-site visits.
During lessons, the review team found that students were happy to engage in tasks. They observed that a common format in teaching and learning sessions was for the teacher to demonstrate an activity before allowing the pupil to attempt it themselves, allowing students to meet the guidelines of their individual sensory profiles.
Experts praised members of staff at the school for being “well trained, capable and patient” and commented on how one of the huge strengths of the school was the “excellent rapport and communication between the staff and young people”.
This is the second accolade that Oliver House School has recently received. The school was rated “Outstanding” in its Ofsted report in September 2016, for all areas inspected, including in “effectiveness of leadership and management”, “quality of teaching, learning and assessment” and its “sixth form provision”.
Parents consider the school to have positive impact on their children’s learning and personal development. As part of the feedback given to reviewers, a parent said the school had made her feel “an integral part of her son’s team” and she was able to share strategies and information with the staff to improve his learning. Another parent added: “We feel our son is in a place where he is cared about, and in a place where he can achieve his fullest potential.”
Students were involved in an informal discussion with the review team about their time at Oliver House School. One student explained how the school had increased his self-confidence and his ability to plan for life after Oliver House School.
Oliver House School is located in Astley Village, Chorley, in Lancashire, and is run by Priory Education and Children’s Services, which is part of the world-famous Priory Group, the mental healthcare specialists.
It is an independent autism-specific school for children aged six to 19 years old, designed to support young people with high-functioning autism, as well as those with complex autism and significant learning difficulties. The school also has four associated children’s homes, offering 52 week residential care.
Lisa Wilson, Headteacher, said: “We are extremely proud of the high scores we received within the Autism Accreditation Review Report. It is team effort and everyone – staff, parents and pupils – contribute to the school and to school life. Oliver House is a school where pupils thrive. It is truly humbling to see how they progress and I am delighted that this has been so positively recognised once again.”
Simon Coles, CEO of Priory Education and Children’s Services, said: “The report speaks for itself. We are thrilled that Oliver House School has yet again been singled out as an example of best practice within autism. The school has a remarkable headteacher and leadership team in place and we are sure this will continue to be recognised.”
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