Poole’s Longspee Academy has been rated as Outstanding across the board.
Ofsted awarded the special school the highest possible grade in all areas, from its quality of teaching, to its leadership and pupil outcomes.
Longspee, in Learoyd Road, provides education for boys and girls with emotional, social and mental health difficulties.
The school joined Ambitions Academies Trust (AAT), which is renowned for transforming under-achieving schools, in September 2013.
During its inspection Ofsted inspectors attended 14 lessons, interviewed staff and pupils and studied parent feedback before concluding: “Since the school converted to become an academy, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment has rapidly improved and is now outstanding.
“Teachers precisely assess pupils’ starting points when they join the school.
“They set ambitious and aspirational, individual targets to ensure that every pupil makes outstanding progress, particularly in English and mathematics.
“Pupils make rapid progress…as a result of highly effective teaching and strong care and support.”
Ofsted also recommended the Academy shares its recipe for success by offering the expertise of its middle leadership team to other schools.
Longspee Academy’s Associate Principal, Sharon Burt, said: “We are over the moon with our outstanding grade and its recognition of all we seek to achieve for our pupils.”
She continued: “As the Ofsted inspectors found, pupils join us with low attainment often having missed large parts of their education. Many also display challenging and anxious behaviour and our relentless focus on learning often has to start with small steps.
“But these steps, accompanied by strong targets, regular assessment and constant support, make our pupils feel safe, confident and excited to learn.
“Their raised expectations are then reflected in their achievements and as a result, many eventually transfer to local mainstream schools, including the grammar schools and college and aspire to go to university.”
Longspee Academy is the second school to achieve Outstanding status under Ambitions Academies Trust (AAT).
Queen’s Park Academy has gone from special measures to Outstanding under its guidance.
St Aldhelm’s Academy in Poole has recently been removed from special measures and graded as Good under the Trust.
Nicki Morton, Director of Special Education for AAT said: “The inspectors’ findings are great recognition for Longspee, its pupils and staff and also its parents and carers, without whose support this outstanding rating would not be possible.”
Brian Hooper, CEO of AAT said: “I am always deeply impressed by Longspee’s pupils’ respect for adults and each other and their huge enthusiasm for learning.
“I am also pleased that Ofsted has recognised the strong support the academy receives from AAT.”
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Notes for editors
Ambitions Academies Trust (AAT), formerly Tregonwell Multi-Academy Trust, comprises schools from all sectors – mainstream (primary and secondary) and special. These are: Queen’s Park Academy, Longspee Special School, King’s Park Academy, Manorside Academy, St Aldhelm’s Academy and Ambitions Teaching School (formerly Tregonwell Academy). The Trust has also opened Little Ambers Nursery at King’s Park Academy.