Rowdeford special school rated outstanding for second time

This Is Wiltshire: Rowdeford School staff and pupils celebrate their Ofsted report, which has rated the school outstanding Rowdeford School staff and pupils celebrate their Ofsted report, which has rated the school outstanding

Rowdeford School, near Devizes, has achieved an outstanding rating from Ofsted inspectors for the second time in three years.

The special school, which has pupils from all over Wiltshire, was given an outstanding grading by Ofsted in 2010 and, after an Ofsted inspection at the end of November, has achieved outstanding again.

This comes despite the tougher Ofsted inspection regime that has resulted in many schools being downgraded.

In the latest report, Ofsted inspectors rated the school as outstanding overall and in every area examined: achievement of students; quality of teaching; behaviour and safety of students; and leadership and management.

Rowdeford has 130 pupils who have complex learning difficulties and a significant number have autism spectrum disorders.

The report said all groups of students make rapid progress, often from low starting points, in all aspects of their learning and all of them achieve basic qualifications in literacy and numeracy.

The inspectors highlighted the focus on using the school’s grounds for outdoor activities and Eco-learning since the inspection in 2010 as “inspirational” for students.

The report said: “Teachers’ excellent knowledge of each student and enthusiasm to help students make the best possible progress provides a highly motivating learning environment.

“They are dedicated to providing the best educational experience for the students and give very generously of their time.

“Teamwork is excellent and everyone, including the administrative team and caretaking staff, are considerable assets to the school and are very much appreciated by all concerned.

“In discussion, students reported that they enjoy coming to school, often for the first time in their history. This is demonstrated in their calm behaviour, excellent manners and in the generally good attendance of the great majority of students.”

Headteacher Ingrid Sidmouth said: “We are completely thrilled. It’s an enormous achievement but it’s down to the whole team – the children, parents, staff, governors, friends of Rowdeford, Rowdeford Charity Trust. I’m very, very proud of the school.”

Mrs Sidmouth, who has been headteacher for the past nine years and was deputy head for three years before that, said the school’s curriculum was driven by six core values: co-operation; responsibility; happiness; resilience; respect; and caring.

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