Pride as special school turns tables on previous 'inadequate' rating

Cameron Phillips, headteacher of Argyll House School in Holt Road, Cromer. 

Cameron Phillips, headteacher of Argyll House School in Holt Road, Cromer. - Credit: Supplied by Cameron Phillips

The headteacher of a Cromer special school has spoken of his pride over a positive Ofsted report, two years after the school was rated inadequate.

Cameron Phillips, headteacher of Argyll House in Holt Road, Cromer, said it showed the education watchdog was taking notice of the positive steps being taken at the school. 

Mr Phillips said: "I am very proud of the students and staff of Argyll House school, who have worked together through challenging times to produce school that is thriving.

"The downside of our success is that we have a long list of referrals but, unfortunately, we are now full. We are exploring the opportunities of opening another school in the area."

When the inspection took place in April, Argyll House only had six pupils on its roll, aged 11 to 18. Annual fees for day pupils at the school - which caters for a range of complex needs - are just over £45,000.

Ofsted rated the school inadequate in June 2020 after it failed in 14 separate standards categories. 

But things have turned around since then. Mr Phillips took over as headteacher in October that year and a new deputy headteacher was appointed in April 2022.

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Although Ofsted's latest report did not mention a new rating for Argyll House, its comments were overwhelmingly positive. 

Inspectors said: "Staff manage pupils’ behaviour in lessons effectively. Staff are patient, calm and positive.

"They know pupils well, motivating and engaging pupils in their learning.

They went on to say "the school is typically calm and orderly" and that "safeguarding is of the highest priority and leaders have trained staff well".

Ofsted's inspectors added: "Since the previous inspection, there have been changes in senior leadership and staff working at the school.

"The new headteacher has ensured that suitable curriculum plans and schemes of work are in place.

"Teachers have a stronger understanding of pupils’ starting points and them to match plans to pupils’ individual learning needs."