Special school is splendid say inspectors
Published: Wednesday 27th February 13
A Wandsworth special school for local children with severe and profound disabilities has been told it’s doing an outstanding job by education inspectors.
Greenmead School in Putney has been awarded "outstanding" ratings across the board by schools' watchdog Ofsted. Inspectors praised its excellent quality of teaching, the high achievement of its pupils and the school's strong leadership and management.
They described it as a "splendid school" that continues to provide an "excellent education".
Greenmead caters for children with serious physical disabilities and associated learning difficulties. It also teaches those with profound and multiple learning difficulties.
In their report into the school's effectiveness the inspectors concluded: "Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage and all other pupils make outstanding progress in their learning.
"The consistently high quality of the teaching means that pupils make excellent progress whatever their starting points.
"The school's provision of very strong medical, sensory and physical support for those pupils who require this enables them to make speedy progress in their physical development too.
"Parents and carers say, in discussions and through questionnaire responses that they are extremely pleased, and often amazed, with the progress their children make at the school.
"Lessons are often full of fast changes of activity that hold pupils' attention and make learning fun. This involves extremely good planning, meticulous organisation and smooth and efficient teamwork.
"The pupils' well-being is at the heart of the school's work, and every possible step is taken to ensure that pupils are looked after at all times. At the same time staff ensure that pupils can experience appropriate risk-taking and plenty of encouragement to become as independent as possible. A good example of this was when a pupil was showing how he could take his first walking steps, and staff deliberately held back from assisting him, while everybody held their breath willing him to succeed - which he did.
"Teamwork between all staff on the site is tightly knit and very effective. There is tremendously high morale among all the staff who understand what the school is trying to achieve and are committed to the high expectations and demanding standards set by the senior leaders. Staff say in their questionnaire responses that 'it is an honour to work here'.
"The school has very strong links with the primary school next door and with other schools in the borough. It uses these links very well to provide its pupils with opportunities to learn in mainstream classes and experience the rough-and-tumble of larger schools. This prepares them well for life beyond school and gives them and their parents and carers an opportunity to see if mainstream education might be an option in the future.
"The curriculum has been expertly adapted to suit the needs and interests of the pupils. Every lesson is peppered with many opportunities for staff to promote the pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, especially in improving pupils' ability to communicate, interact and socialise, be creative and to gain an awareness and understanding of the wider world."
Nearly 40 percent of schools in Wandsworth are currently rated outstanding by Ofsted. More than half are rated good, often with outstanding features. The council aims to have half of all local our schools rated outstanding by 2014 and all the rest rated good.
All the borough's nursery schools and special schools are rated good or outstanding by Ofsted. In total 89 per cent of primary schools and 88 per cent of local secondary schools are deemed good or outstanding.
At the close of the 2012 school year Ofsted's official league table ranked Wandsworth the tenth best performing local authority in the country for the proportion of primary schools judged either good or outstanding.
Schools spokesman Cllr Kathy Tracey said: "This glowing report is richly deserved by all the teachers, support staff and pupils at Greenmead. They have achieved great things over many years and this success is destined to continue in the years ahead.
"Schools across Wandsworth are among the best performing anywhere in the UK state sector. We are determined to build on this success and raise standards even higher."
The full Greenmead report can be viewed on Ofsted's website.