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Rugeley School receives Ofsted praise...

Rugeley School in Blithbury, Staffordshire has been praised by Ofsted for the high quality of its care and education.

Two residential homes, which form part of the school, have been classed as "outstanding" and the quality of education was deemed by inspectors to be ‘Good’.

Rugeley School is an independent residential special school and children’s home for pupils aged from five to 19 years. It admits children and young people who have a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder and associated conditions. Many pupils also have other diagnoses of special educational needs, such as moderate to severe learning difficulties.

The report notes that "young people make excellent progress in all aspects of their lives as a result of living in the home’ and describes the ‘knowledgeable and caring staff team".

It also states that "young people’s educational needs are extremely well supported" and "staff have consistently high aspirations for young people". Comments from parents include "communication with staff is excellent, they really care, they are wonderful people, they always support my child, their knowledge of young people with autism is exceptional".

Ofsted also inspected the quality of the education which "is good and all of the regulations for independent schools are met". The inspector commented that ‘as a result of the good teaching and assessment, together with the outstanding provision for their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, pupils increasingly become re-engaged.’

Principal at Rugeley Horizon School, said: "I am extremely proud of everyone involved in the care and education at Rugeley Horizon. These exceptional inspection reports are testament to the hard work and dedication of the staff, and the engagement of the pupils and their families and carers.

"To achieve the most positive outcomes possible for our children and young people is at the heart of everything we do and to receive independent verification of the school from Ofsted is incredibly rewarding.

"However, we will not rest on our laurels, and are continuing to look for innovative ways to enhance our provision even further."

Alongside an outstanding Ofsted report the school also ensures that all of the young people in their care are engaged in age appropriate independence programmes. This enables each young person to become more confident and ready to lead an independent life within the community. The school also boasts a 96% attendance rate, which is excellent at a school where the majority of students may have been disengaged with education for some time.

The excellent positive outcomes achieved for students and documented by Ofsted are clearly demonstrated in John’s* story. Prior to joining Rugeley Horizon School John had difficulty accessing most lessons other than Maths and was staffed 1:1 due to his behaviour and educational needs. His attendance was only 68%, with him regularly being absent and sent home due to his behaviour. He demonstrated aggression towards others, including punching, kicking, head butting and throwing objects and his parents reported he did not want to go to school.

Following a very carefully planned transition into Rugeley Horizon School John began to build trusting relationships with key staff. He began to access the classroom and whole class activities for much of the school day. At school John now presents as a happy young person who smiles and greets familiar staff on arrival each morning. He accesses the full curriculum and shows a high level of awareness of the staff and his peers. His behaviour has improved significantly and at times he is a role model for his peers.

John’s parents report that he is happy to come to school and his attendance record is excellent with only a few days absent due to illness. He is also reported to be calmer at home and his relationships with his siblings have significantly improved.
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