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Sheridan School in Northwold which offers specialist education for children with autism ranked ‘good’ in latest Ofsted inspection

A village school which offers specialist education for children with autism and/or social, emotional and mental health difficulties has been rated ‘good’ in all areas by Ofsted.

Sheridan School in Northwold offers specialist therapeutic education for up to 60 young people aged between eight and 16 years old.

In its most recent inspection, the school has been ranked as good in all areas by the regulator, describing it as “a safe and happy place to learn” - an improvement from its previous ‘inadequate’ rating.

Sheridan School in Northwold has been ranked as 'good' by Ofsted
Sheridan School in Northwold has been ranked as 'good' by Ofsted

The Ofsted report says: “The school has rapidly improved since the last inspection. The proprietor body and leaders have responded thoroughly to the areas identified for urgent improvement. There is now a well-defined ethos of high ambition for pupils. As a result, pupils are flourishing.”

It adds: “Behaviour is orderly. Pupils like gaining points for positive behaviour. They thrive in the culture of praise and rewards.

“Pupils get skilful help for their wellbeing. They receive a range of well-planned therapeutic support, including the much-loved therapy dog. This helps pupils settle and focus on their education.”

The school had previously been told it was inadequate following an inspection in 2022.

Officials at Sheridan School said that many of its pupils have experienced trauma in the past and arrive at the school having known significant disruption to their previous education.

Ofsted highlighted how the team at Sheridan School successfully re-engage pupils with education by fostering a positive culture with a key focus on wellbeing and staff training.

Phil Ringsell, head teacher at Sheridan School, said: “I am proud of my staff team and our very supportive parents and carers who work together to provide the best education for our young people.”

Ofsted commented that the curriculum is “well designed” and that “pupils make strong progress through the curriculum”.

Inspectors attributed this to the staff identifying “comprehensively what pupils need to learn, and when,” and then adapting this carefully to meet pupils’ special educational needs.

Ofsted praised the “regular and high-quality training” staff receive to help understand when and how to provide bespoke support, adding that there is “close oversight” of safeguarding.

The watchdog continued that “pupils are flourishing” due to the “well-defined ethos of high ambitions for pupils” and said: “Pupils benefit from the school’s high expectations.

“They learn what they need to be ready for their next stage. As a result, they progress successfully to college or training.”

To improve, the inspectors said an area to work on is expectations of pupils, as they said that “sometimes teachers do not have high enough expectations for what pupils will learn”.

“On these occasions, learning is checked less regularly and thoroughly,” the report adds.

“This means teachers do not always address gaps in learning as well as they might. Sometimes, pupils move on to new content without being secure in previous knowledge.”

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