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Head ‘moved’ after praise from Ofsted

Highfurlong staff celebrate another outstanding Ofsted report: acting assistant headteachers Cheryl Drabble (left) and Joanne Martin (right) with acting headteacher Rosie Sycamore (centre)

Highfurlong staff celebrate another outstanding Ofsted report: acting assistant headteachers Cheryl Drabble (left) and Joanne Martin (right) with acting headteacher Rosie Sycamore (centre)

Inspectors have sung the praises of a Blackpool special school, calling it “stunning” with “outstanding teaching” and “delightful” students.

Highfurlong Special School was rated “outstanding” in every area following a two-day inspection last month.

Report highlights include:

n Staff totally committed to making students’ lives better.

nThe school meets students’ most important needs exceptionally well.

n It has maintained its exceptionally high standards.

This feedback was given despite the independent inspectorate tightening up its rating framework and the school on Blackpool Old Road being without its acting headteacher for the visit due to a family bereavement.

Instead the school’s two acting assistant headteachers showed inspectors around the school, which has 49 pupils aged between four and 19, all with physical disabilities or complex learning difficulties.

The report acknowledged that for Highfurlong’s pupils “achievements have little to do with attainment in academic terms” and instead praised teacher’s work to ensure children’s independence and enhance their ability to communicate.

The report notes: “the most important thing is that pupils achieve outstandingly well in things that are very important to them” and “they make exceptional progress in the way they learn to communicate.”

Acting headteacher Rosie Sycamore said: “Ofsted want to see a school as it really is and they really did at Highfurlong.

“We enable our children to be the best they can be, like any school does. It was very moving to read the report.

“I’m so proud of the children and delighted for my talented staff.”

The school’s latest inspection enabled it to maintain the outstanding rating it was given by inspectors after their last visit in 2009.

Bosses at Highfurlong Special School praised Blackpool Council staff for support offered to them during their inspection - the school’s improvement officer was on site for the two-day visit.
And council bosses have reciprocated that praise, saying they are immensely proud of the school. Coun Ivan Taylor, cabinet member for schools, said: “This is an absolutely excellent report. I’m proud that our special schools are so highly thought of, especially when pressure on schools is so high.”

 

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