Red Marsh School has been called “exceptional” after being given a top rating for the third time running.
The special school, in Holly Road, Thornton, was given Ofsted’s top rank of ‘outstanding’ after a recent routine visit, with the education watchdog heaping praise on teachers and pupils.
“Proud” headteacher Catherine Dellow said: “As the headteacher, it’s a privilege to work with the young children and students, the staff, and the governors. We work so hard and we are thrilled it has been recognised again.”
Red Marsh, which has 90 pupils and students aged from two to 19, was first rated ‘outstanding’ in November 2011, two years after being ranked as ‘good’. It kept its high standards until the next inspection in January 2015 and, after its most recent visit last month, Ofsted inspector Julie Bather told Mrs Dellow: “The leadership team has maintained the outstanding quality of education in the school since the last inspection.
“This exceptional school’s core values of learn, care, challenge, and share are at the heart of everything it does. Parents and carers talk with much enthusiasm of the warm and welcoming atmosphere in which staff take the time to listen.
“Leaders have instilled a culture of high aspirations where pupils’ personal and social development is as important as their academic progress. One parent summarised the views of many others in saying: ‘My child is happy and I am delighted with the progress he is making. The school is of a high standard and their values are true to their word’.”
Teachers “have successfully addressed the areas for improvement from the last inspection,” Ms Bather said, with teachers and teaching assistants planning children’s learning together.
Staff have the support of leaders to be “creative and innovative in their planning”, while there is a “culture of teamwork and mutual respect, which results in pupils being challenged and extremely well supported,” she added.
In the school’s college, 16- to 19-year-old students help with looking after the site – like washing the windows or tidying up the garden – while others make cakes or candles which are then sold.
Money tokens are earned that students can then ‘cash in’ for trips, which “meticulous” planning meaning everyone can take part.
The school also works with others across the north west to help drive up standards, and should continue to do so, Ms Bather added.
Mrs Dellow said a party will be held for the children, and said standards are kept so high through training for staff, high expectations for pupils and students, and the tracking of progress in “all areas of learning and personal and social development”.
She said it’s a “massive team effort” from staff, youngsters, parents, and governors, and added: “To be outstanding you have to continue to move forward. We will continue our journey to improve and provide best possible education.”
The school, whose youngsters live across the Fylde coast including Fleetwood, Lytham, and Garstang, is now preparing to refurbish its early years department so it can accept more nursery-aged children.