Top marks for Wisbech school

Fenland MP Steve Barclay visits staff and pupils at Meadowgate special school in Wisbech.
Fenland MP Steve Barclay visits staff and pupils at Meadowgate special school in Wisbech.
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A Wisbech special school continues to be ‘outstanding’ – and has even managed to improve since its last inspection, according to Ofsted.

The education watchdog said Meadowgate School has made “significant improvements” since it was last rated as ‘outstanding’ in 2011.

It said this was because the school was “determined that each pupil should achieve the greatest possible academic and personal success, and benefit from the highest standards of care and support”.

A letter to headteacher Jackie McPherson from inspector Jason Howard, who visited the school last month, said: “You and many of your colleagues have completed high-level research into techniques that best enable pupils to learn and make rapid progress.

“Teachers and teaching assistants have worked together well to use and refine the most effective teaching methods.

“The impact on the progress of, for example, pupils with autistic spectrum disorder and those who have profound and multiple learning difficulties has been significant.”

Mr Howard’s report said the school had developed new and clearly-defined leadership roles as the school had grown, as well as the capacity of existing staff to fulfil them.

“Some pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties are making far more rapid progress than at the time of the previous inspection because staff have been trained to use a physical development programme,” it said.

The report said teaching deepened learning, promoted engagement and provoked enjoyment, adding that it was often “inspirational”.

“Leaders are ensuring that pupils develop the kinds of skills that will help them in everyday life and in employment,” it added.

Governors were also praised for knowing the school well and visiting regularly to ensure pupils were making good progress and were well-cared for.

Mr Howard encouraged the school to continue the work already started to redefine its vision, and to celebrate and share its outstanding practice widely.

Headteacher Jackie McPherson said: “The school recognises the commitment and dedication from all the staff at the school.

“We are a team that includes the administrators, cleaners, caterers and families, as well as the teachers and teaching assistants. Though we were ‘outstanding’ at the last inspection in 2011 we have never stopped looking for ways, through innovation and research, to improve the education and care for all our pupils.”

The Ofsted report also said that since the last inspection, the school pupils have benefitted from “considerable” investment in new school buildings and facilities.

The £7 million building has enabled members of the sixth form to study vocational courses such as motor vehicle mechanics and catering, and complete work-related learning, in purpose-built facilities.

Last month, Fenland MP Steve Barclay visited the school and said the “clear positive energy from staff and pupils was a pleasure to see”.

“I was also hugely impressed by the high standards being achieved,” he added.