Hartlepool school wins praise from Ofsted for preparing pupils with diverse needs for adult life

A Hartlepool school has earned praise from education watchdogs for the way leaders and teachers give pupils the best chances for life.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 14th May 2020, 12:53 pm

Ofsted inspected Catcote Academy over two days in March, just weeks before the nationwide lockdown.

They found that it continues to be a good school where the learning and personal development of pupils with a range of special educational needs is at the heart of everything it does, continuing the legacy of visionary CEO Alan Chapman who died last October.

Inspectors said pupils enjoy attending Catcote Academy, feel happy and safe, and teachers know each pupil well.

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Pupils and staff from Catcote Academy who took part in Lip Dub music video highlighted in Ofsted's latest report. Picture by Frank Reid

Their report stated: “Staff all focus on how students can work towards a future where they can be as independent as they can be, at home or in a work setting.

“Pupils thrive in their personal development. They learn through real-life experiences such as: working in the school’s Vestry Café in a local art gallery; working at Catcote Metro in the town centre; visiting the school’s caravan at a local holiday park; or completing vocational learning.

“This all leads to valuable work-related learning and opportunities for future employment.”

Pupils talked positively to inspectors about their experiences of performing arts including staging school productions and creating a school ‘Lip Dub’ music video.

Alan Chapman who sadly died last October.

Reading and communication is also a priority.

Ofsted found staff have high expectations of the skills, knowledge and understanding the pupils need to help them to be successful adults and be as independent as possible.

Inspectors also found a ‘strong culture of safeguarding’ where pupils learn how to keep themselves safe at home, in the community and online.

Catcote Academy Interim CEO Lisa Greig said she was extremely pleased at the report’s findings and the academy will continue Mr Chapman’s mission.

“He strongly believed that everyone should focus on what our students ‘can do and not what they can't’,” she said.

“All of this was very much recognised by Ofsted and he himself would have been very proud that we continue to deliver his vision.

“Can I take this opportunity to thank all the staff and students for all their hard work and to all our families for their continued support.”

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