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Special school gets top marks

PUBLISHED: 13:50 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:50 13 July 2010

A Norfolk special school which opened less than five years ago has been awarded top marks from school inspectors, who labelled it "outstanding" and praised almost every aspect of its running and management.

A Norfolk special school which opened less than five years ago has been awarded top marks from school inspectors, who labelled it “outstanding” and praised almost every aspect of its running and management.

Sheringham Woodfields School caters for pupils aged from two to 19 years old with severe or complex learning difficulties.

In 2005, the school was named as a “good and developing school”. It opened in 2003, replacing the former Edinburgh Road School in Holt where staff battled cramped conditions.

Pupils, staff and parents were delighted to learn this week they have now been upgraded to “outstanding”, putting them in a much sought after category nationally.

The school was praised across the board, with inspectors picking out strengths including an excellent curriculum, strong leadership and the behaviour and attitude of pupils.

Inspectors noted the 83 pupils were “proud of their school”.

The fact the Holt Road school shares a campus with both Sheringham High School and Sheringham Primary School, working closely with both, has been a key factor in the success, headteacher Diane Whitham said last night.

“We are thrilled, this is what we have worked towards since the school was built,” said Ms Whitham. “We knew we could do this with the new buildings, excellent facilities and the direct links with the other schools on the site, which allows us to offer excellent inclusion.

“It is very satisfying and we feel we have now become a flagship school for the county.

“This is an inclusive and enjoyable learning environment where our pupils can truly thrive.”

As well as naming the school as a model of good practice for special educational needs, inspectors found:

Pupils make amazing progress in their social relationship skills;

Parents feel the school is a vibrant, inclusive and welcoming learning community;

Pupils make good and sometimes outstanding progress, particularly in their communication and social skills;

Pupils show a very positive attitude to their work and thoroughly enjoy their lessons;

There is excellent leadership by the headteacher and senior team;

Teaching assistants make an outstanding contribution to meeting pupils' more complex needs.

Rosalie Monbiot, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for childrens services, said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to everyone at Sheringham Woodfields.

“This report acknowledges the determination of everyone involved with the school to

deliver a first class education to every single pupil.

“Our special schools are among the best in the country. I am particularly pleased Ofsted has identified Sheringham's model of education as good practice.”

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