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Outstanding! School gets top marks in Ofsted inspection

PUBLISHED: 09:13 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:29 09 November 2018

Children at staff at the Thomas Wolsey School celebrate the news that they have received an Outstanding Ofsted report  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Children at staff at the Thomas Wolsey School celebrate the news that they have received an Outstanding Ofsted report Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

A school which specialises in teaching children with learning difficulties has received a top level Ofsted report.

There is always something to smile about if you go to Thomas Wolsey academy Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThere is always something to smile about if you go to Thomas Wolsey academy Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy was awarded the “outstanding” Ofsted rating on Wednesday, November 8 - to the joy of the school staff and pupils.

The academy provides specialist education for 94 children, all of which have physical, sensory, medical and/or learning needs.

Principal Helen MacDougal received high praise from inspectors. She was commended for her determination and a constant desire to improve the school.

Ms MacDougal said: “It is so lovely to have your work recognised. The Ofsted report is a fantastic confirmation of what we do here.

Principal of the Thomas Wolsey School, Helen MacDougal Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPrincipal of the Thomas Wolsey School, Helen MacDougal Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“It is very hard to tick all of those boxes when it comes to reports, because we don’t fit into any of them at a special school.

“But I like that we are a special school, we have special people here.

“It is a lot harder to work in an environment like this but it is so rewarding - you don’t get that at a mainstream school.”

Ms MacDougal also talked at length about the risks the school has taken in stripping back the academy’s curriculum and providing tailored learning for the pupils.

The school was praised for their sporting activites and outdoor trips Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe school was praised for their sporting activites and outdoor trips Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

She said: “We’ve had to be brave.

“The teachers worked with myself to restructure the curriculum to provide the children with all the skills that they will need.

“It’s also about tracking that progress, it is not conventional progress and it might be small but it’s there and you have to celebrate it.”

The Ofsted report also highlighted the good working relationship between the academy and its sponsor, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT).

The children receive tailored programmes of learning at the school Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe children receive tailored programmes of learning at the school Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Thomas Wolsey joined the trust in February. The OAT has further strengthened the school and put in place a new system for ongoing improvement.

Nick Hudson, chief executive of Ormiston Academies Trust, said: “I am thrilled that Ofsted have formally recognised the dedication and hard work of Helen MacDougal and all the team at Thomas Wolsey. ”

Ms MacDougal echoed her colleague, she said: “Ormiston provide such vital support, I’m glad the report picked up on the strong work we do together.”

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