An Exeter special school is celebrating a hat-trick of outstanding judgements by education inspectors.
Ellen Tinkham School has 122 pupils ranging from four to 19 with a range of severe learning difficulties at its base in Pinhoe. The school caters for pupils from Exeter, East and Mid Devon.
It was first rated as outstanding by inspectors from the school standards agency Ofsted in 2007.
Last year an Ofsted inspection judged the school’s PE provision to be outstanding.
Now a new report from Ofsted on the whole school concludes: “Ellen Tinkham School is an extremely successful school.
“(Its) ethos and the extremely committed and enthusiastic team of professionals ensure pupils have a highly tailored curriculum and their care needs are met tremendously well.
“Pupils make excellent progress and achievement in its widest sense is outstanding.
“Pupils’ very positive attitudes to learning, personal development and understanding of how to operate more independently are key factors to learning.
“The school is not complacent in its success and is clear about how things can be further improved.”
Two Ofsted inspectors spent two days at Ellen Tinkham last month and their report has just been published.
Lead inspector Paul Scott says pupils told them how much they enjoy school and how well the staff support them.
He says their behaviour is outstanding and the enthusiasm they have for new experiences highlights the trust they place in staff.
“Staff enjoy working in the school and morale is high. Staff are proud to be a part of Ellen Tinkham,” he says.
“The high level of continuous training and collaboration between the staff ensures pupils enjoy dignity and independence within their individual limits.”
Mr Scott says the overall effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage and the sixth form or FE are outstanding.
He praises Ellen Tinkham’s outstanding leadership and management and says headteacher Jacqui Warne, the school team and the ‘skilled and committed’ governors are highly effective in taking the school forward.
A delighted Mrs Warne today paid tribute to the whole school community of pupils, staff, parents and supporters.
“This is their achievement,” she said. “This is what a community of people can achieve when they appreciate each other’s strengths and work together for a simple goal which is to ensure our students are the best they can be.
“Everybody – teachers, support staff, parents, governors, therapists – work very effectively together and are totally committed to ensuring we listen to the children’s voice in everything we do.
“To receive three outstanding judgements demonstrates the long term dedication of everyone at the school to keep up our standards and to continually improve the service we provide to help give our children and young people the best possible opportunities to learn and to enjoy life to the full.
“We have exceptional staff at all levels who are very good at what they do and know they have the freedom to innovate.
“And most of all we have students in this school who I am really glad I have known. The inspector said people here love what they do and that’s because of the inspiring children and young people with whom they work.”
(from a press release)