Sheffield school is ‘outstanding’ in every way

Pupils fro the Rowan Centre at Totley celebrate their outstanding Ofsted report
Pupils fro the Rowan Centre at Totley celebrate their outstanding Ofsted report
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Pupils and staff at a small Sheffield special school are celebrating – after inspectors rated them ‘outstanding’ in every single category.

The Rowan School, Durvale Court, Dore, teaches primary age children with complex speech, language and communication disorders.

Levels of achievement by the youngsters – mainly boys – were praised by inspectors, with pupils making exceptionally rapid progress from usually very low starting points when they started school.

Headteacher Avril Young welcomed the findings.

She said: “Rowan staff make our school a safe, happy, exciting and successful place for children to learn.

“It is lovely that Ofsted has recognised this and have judged the Rowan School to be outstanding in absolutely every area.”

The Ofsted inspectors’ report said the most able pupils often exceeded their challenging targets – and, as a result, new, more difficult goals were set.

And the inspection team said outstanding teaching ensured the children were making excellent progress in their communication skills, which was vital as all are on the autistic spectrum.

And they said such a strong foundation ensured pupils made further outstanding progress in reading, writing and maths as they moved up the school.

Many of the older children were fluent and confident readers and said they felt well prepared for life at secondary school.

Attainment levels in all the key subjects had risen each year since 2011, the Ofsted team found.

Inspectors said staff knew the children extremely well, which meant work was matched to the needs of each individual, so youngsters were eager to work and learn.

Teachers used their skills to frequently prevent behavioural difficulties from arising, or minimised their effects so pupils swiftly resumed their work.

The children said they felt very safe in school and knew what to do if any incidents arose.

The only problem found by the inspection team was that just occasionally younger pupils working by themselves found it difficult to choose which activities to do.

However, overall it was felt senior staff and governors had been highly effective in maintaining the school’s strengths since the previous inspection – when it was also rated outstanding.

Since then, further improvements had been made to the teaching and achievement levels and The Rowan had started to share its practices with other schools.