Attendance up by 20 per cent at school, reveals inspection

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Attendance has rocketed at a Doncaster special school following a series of new appointments, the education watchdog has revealed.

Inspectors from Ofsted, which has rated Fullerton House School, at Tickhill Square, Denaby, as good, said the figure had risen by 20 per cent since its last inspection.

All pupils who attend have a statement of special educational needs or an education and health care plan, and the vast majority have a diagnosis of autistic spectrum disorder and have associated severe learning and communication difficulties.

The school is run by the independent Hesley Group, based at Hesley Village, Doncaster.

Marian Thomas, lead inspector, said: “Since their recent appointments, school leaders have brought about improvement at a fast pace.

“For example, pupils’ attendance has risen by 20 per cent in the last six months to a level that is slightly higher than the national average. In partnership with directors they have set ambitious targets for future improvement.

“Pupils’ attendance has risen significantly in the last six months, from 70 per cent to 94 per cent.

“This rise is due to the very focused and proactive approach taken by the head of education and the proprietor to ensuring that pupils attend punctually. This has contributed to the improvement in pupils’ achievement.”

She added: “The newly-appointed head of education, and the general manager, have together brought about change at a fast pace. Their clear focus on improvement has seen pupils’ progress rise as a direct result of the close checks they carry out on the quality of teaching.”

But the report says the school still has improvements to make. It says it should accelerate the progress of more able pupils in English with more opportunities for them to do longer pieces of writing.

It also says they should improve training opportunities for care staff who work in classrooms so they can support pupils’ learning more effectively, and says it should ensure that all policies are tailored to the school and detail required actions accurately.

However, Ofsted said teachers and tutors plan ‘exciting and interesting’ learning activities for pupils which ‘match their individual needs’ well.

Regular checks are carried out on how much pupils have learned, and the information is used to plan future activities. Pupils who attend the school often have very high levels of need associated with autistic spectrum disorder, and many have gaps in their past education.

The report states the ‘calm and caring’ attitudes within the school help pupils to settle, and over time enables them to make ‘considerable gains’ in their personal development, behaviour and self-esteem.

Pupils say they feel ‘safe and happy’ in school.