Students and staff at Young People’s Academy (YPA) are celebrating the results of their Ofsted inspection, in which the school was rated ‘Good’ in all categories and received a strongly favourable report.
YPA, a special school in Hillingdon, has said it is ‘absolutely thrilled’ to have been rated ‘Good’ following its first full Ofsted inspection since opening in April 2015 as a sponsor-led academy within Orchard Hill College Academy Trust.
YPA provides for 68 pupils aged 11-16 who have severe and often complex special education need and/or disabilities, primarily related to social, emotional and mental health needs. A small proportion of pupils also have a diagnosis of communication and interaction difficulties, including autism.
Two inspectors met with students, staff and governors during the two day inspection in March 2018. In addition, they observed lessons and took great interest in students’ work. They studied the academic outcomes for students, the quality of teaching and learning, the quality of leadership and management of the school and the personal development, behaviour and welfare of the students.
The report stated that, since opening as a school, the leadership team has secured swift improvements in the quality of teaching and learning. Leaders and staff are ambitious for pupils’ outcomes and this is reflected in the challenging work they set pupils of all abilities.
In Ofsted’s words, “The executive principal radiates a passion for improving pupils’ life chances. Together with staff, she ensures that the school’s motto, ‘triumph through perseverance’, is the foundation for all aspects of pupils’ education.”
The report also stated that, pupils are well prepared for their next steps in education, training or employment. By the end of key stage 4, the vast majority of pupils attain qualifications and accreditation that reflect their abilities and career aspirations. This includes GCSEs in subjects such as mathematics, English, science and art. Leaders work closely with families and external agencies to ensure that the vast majority of pupils secure suitable college or training places when they leave the school.
Commenting on the inspection, Ms Laurie Cornwell, the school’s Executive Principal, stated,
“We are thrilled that the inspectors agreed with our self-evaluations and we were graded as ‘good’ in all categories, with leadership and management and our strong ethos coming out as particular strengths. The comments of the inspectors and the report reflect the huge journey the school has undertaken since 2015 and we are very grateful for the incredible hard work and support of the entire school community”
Highlights from the report include:
Staff know individual pupils well. They are skilled in planning activities that are well matched to pupils’ needs and which appeal to their interests. As a result, pupils typically make good progress and take increasing pride in their learning.
The curriculum is well designed. It plays a key role in preparing pupils for their future lives and supporting their development as well rounded citizens.
Leaders and teachers share a universal expectation that all pupils will be successful, irrespective of their needs or behaviour.
Through bespoke pastoral care and the school’s nurturing ethos, pupils’ behaviour and well-being improve over time. Pupils are able to increasingly focus on their learning and manage better in school.
Many pupils join the school with a history of poor attendance. Leaders follow up any absence tenaciously. They work closely with pupils, families and external professionals to overcome pupils’ barriers to regular attendance.
Governance is strong. Leaders, governors and trustees work together effectively to raise standards and improve the school’s effectiveness.