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Astley school for young people with autism receives positive inspection...

Oliver House School in Astley Village, Lancashire, for young people with autism, has been rated ‘outstanding’ by the education regulator, Ofsted. 

In its report, following an inspection last month, Ofsted praised Oliver House School for enabling pupils to “make outstanding progress”, “promoting personal, social and cultural development extremely well”, having “extremely strong” links with parents, and having a “passionate” school principal in post.

The school was rated 'outstanding' overall and for all areas inspected, including in “effectiveness of leadership and management”, “quality of teaching, learning and assessment” and its “sixth form provision”.

Inspectors praised the principal and leadership team throughout the report, saying: “The principal’s and headteacher’s passionate commitment to the pupils and parents is the driving force behind the success of the school.” They praised the teaching and pastoral staff “who have excellent knowledge of pupils and combine this with subject knowledge to personalise learning and ensure that pupils are faced with challenging and achievable targets for learning.”

Parents consider the school to have a positive impact on their children’s learning and personal development. As part of feedback given to inspectors, a parent said the school had “become part of the family”, and another parent felt that to work there “staff have to love the children and they do”.

Oliver House School believes the individual truly matters. Ofsted said, “An individualised approached to each pupil ensures that the curriculum is closely matched to their needs”. Inspectors appreciated the way individualised learning rooms are used to stimulate people in a personalised fashion.

The school encourages pupils to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, organises trips to local leisure facilities and invites local guest speakers to give talks on various subjects.

The ‘outstanding’ sixth form provision was also lauded by the report with inspectors praising the use of personal learning pathways, and the way “adult life is carefully managed by the school”. Many leavers go into protected employment or training following progression.

Wendy Sparling, Operations Director, said: ”We are absolutely thrilled with this report. I am proud of our young people, their parents and my colleagues for making Oliver House School the great teaching and learning environment that it is. It is great to be principal at a school that has such a tremendous impact on the lives of its young people. Let’s keep up the excellent work.”

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