Shropshire Star

Vow to improve as Shropshire special school rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted

Leaders of a Shropshire special school have vowed to improve rapidly after being rated inadequate by Ofsted.

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Inspectors visited Woodlands, which has sites in Wem, Oswestry and Bishop's Castle, in November and said pupils' experiences are mixed.

The report says while students in Key Stage 2 are well cared for, the school fails pupils in Key Stage 3 and 4.

It notes that some students in Wem swear at staff, leave lessons without permission and their safety is put at risk.

"Pupils’ behaviour and attitudes have deteriorated," the report says.

"This stops the majority of pupils from learning. Staff do not consistently challenge pupils when they swear. Many pupils leave the classroom during lessons.

In full:

"Pupils told inspectors that there are no consequences. As a result, behaviour deteriorates further. Many pupils feel unsafe in school."

Inspectors also said that curriculum is not well planned or delivered, meaning learning time is wasted.

Some Key Stage 2 pupils are not making sufficient progress with reading.

The sites at Bishop's Castle and Oswestry, where Key Stage 3 and 4 is taught, were praised by inspectors, however.

The report adds: "Staff have created a calm environment for pupils to learn and thrive. Pupils are respectful and follow the rules. Subject leaders quickly identify the learning needs of pupils. They set challenging and engaging work. This helps pupils to make progress academically, emotionally and socially. In Acorns, pupils feel happy and feel safe."

Bosses at Woodlands said they want to become ‘good’ again as soon as possible and have already begun work to address the areas for improvement identified by Ofsted inspectors.


Julia Taylor, headteacher, said: "While we are disappointed with the outcome of the inspection, the inspectors recognised we were already aware of the improvements needed to meet the increased expectations of the new inspection framework which was introduced in September.

"Significant work has taken place since September, and following the inspection, to address the concerns raised by the team and deliver on the recommendations for improvement identified in the report.

"We had already begun to address the safeguarding issues identified, specifically related to our checks on off-site provision, and are confident that our plans have the urgency required to meet the necessary standards.

"We are working closely with our colleagues in the local authority, and our school improvement partners, to carefully plan the next steps to ensure we take the effective action to bring about the improvement necessary to enable us to be judged as good again."

Karen Bradshaw, director of children’s services with Shropshire Council, added: "Shropshire Council wants our children to receive the best possible education. We’re pleased that the headteacher, staff and governors have already begun work to address the priorities for improvements in the Ofsted report and we will continue to support the school to ensure that pupils have consistently good opportunities to learn and to fulfil their potential."

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