A Leighton Buzzard school specifically catering for students with social, emotional and mental health needs has been judged ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.
Inspectors Susan Lewis and Lynne Thorogood visited Oak Bank School in Sandy Lane in July and their findings have now been published.
It shows that the school, which converted to academy status in 2013, received an ‘outstanding’ rating in all areas – leadership and management, behaviour and safety of pupils, quality of teaching, and achievement of pupils.
The report said: “Governors, the executive headteacher, head of school and senior leaders have created a culture in which all members of staff have very high ambitions for every pupil. Consequently, pupils’ achievements get better and better.
The curriculum was praised as ‘outstanding’ with the report saying: “It prepares pupils extremely well for their next steps in education and life. The range of course available and subject studied are constantly extended so that every pupil has the opportunity to excel or pursue an interest to as high a level as possible.”
The report also points out that pupils’ learning in English and Maths accelerates when they arrive at Oak Bank, adding: “The large majority make up ground lost previously and make better than expected progress, particularly in Maths and reading.”
Relationships between pupils and staff is outstanding and this “accelerates learning”, as “pupils start to believe in themselves because they trust their teachers’ judgements.”
The report went on to say: “Outstanding careers guidance and excellent partnerships working with colleges and other providers help pupils gain high levels of work-related skills and qualifications. This all helps them to make the right choice for their future employment or training.”
Executive Headteacher, Peter Cohen, said he was delighted that the dedication and hard work of the staff team has been recognised during the inspection.
He saod: “Also worthy of recognition are the students who were extremely proud to evidence the positive impact that attending the school has made to their lives and their future. The inspection was also supported by the parents and carers of students who attend the school, who ensured the inspection team were aware of their positive experiences in relation to their children’s education since joining Oak Bank.”
He added: “Oak Bank believes that every child has a right to achieve, which is why the staff work closely with parents and carers, as well as the community and local businesses, to create opportunities that challenge and guide the students.
“The aim for all our students is for a full and fulfilling independent life, where they are equipped to make positive contributions to their community.
“To support this the school has an extensive and highly praised external provision programme that offers placements each week across different sectors and disciplines. Not only do students get the opportunity to learn and develop new skills, but it also creates a clear route to their next level of education, whether that’s college or an apprenticeship scheme.”
For more information about Oak Bank School see www.oakbankschool.co.uk