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Ofsted praises outstanding behaviour and wellbeing of pupils

The behaviour and wellbeing of students at a Wolverhampton pupil referral unit is "outstanding", according to Ofsted.

Inspectors visited The Orchard Centre on Lawnswood Campus last month, and judged the school to be Good overall.

They said leaders and the management board are "ambitious in their desire to drive the school forward", and that pupils "make good progress in a wide variety of academic and vocational subjects, and in their personal development".

The curriculum is "aspirational, broad and balanced" and technical subjects, such as art, are "taught exceptionally well", with pupils producing work of a high quality. School leaders have set up partnerships with a range of local providers so that the most able pupils are able to study GCSEs.

Executive Headteacher Jo Wood has "a clear and strong vision for the school", and is well supported by "skilled, enthusiastic school leaders and management board". As a result, she has established a "positive and nurturing ethos" for all members of the school community.

Staff have "very good relationships with pupils", helping them boost their confidence and self esteem, and develop their understanding through effective questioning. They use behaviour strategies consistently and pupils "develop a strong sense of feeling valued members of the school community".

Inspectors particularly praised the "outstanding" behaviour of The Orchard Centre's pupils, saying that, given their specific needs and starting points, "their conduct and self-discipline is highly developed".

The Orchard Centre also provides support for children who need home or hospital education and this is done through the Nightingale Centre. The report also praised the excellent work carried out by Lindsay Watson and her team.

The school's work to promote pupils' personal development and welfare is outstanding, with leaders offering a range of activities to develop pupils' skills in promoting their emotional wellbeing, self esteem and physical wellbeing. Attendance is strong and improving, with leaders celebrating positive attendance effectively.

Head of The Orchard Centre Julie Blake said: "The report reflects the strong ethos and values of The Orchard Centre regarding pupil welfare and the understanding of individual needs. I am proud of our pupils and the dedication of the staff and appreciate the continual support from parents and carers."

Councillor Claire Darke, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Education, said: "This report demonstrates the excellent support that Julie Blake, Lindsay Watson and their team are giving to children and young people, and I would like to congratulate them on their good work."

The Orchard Centre is one of 4 pupil referral units in Wolverhampton which provide education for children who are excluded, sick, or otherwise unable to attend a mainstream or special school. The Midpoint Centre, of which Mrs Wood is also Executive Headteacher, was rated Good in December month.

  • released: Thursday 1 February, 2018