A special school hit by controversy has risen to new heights in latest Ofsted inspection

Staff and youngsters at a special school are celebrating their transformational journey.
Hope Wood Academy in Easington have been given a 'good' OFSTED report. Picture by Tom BanksHope Wood Academy in Easington have been given a 'good' OFSTED report. Picture by Tom Banks
Hope Wood Academy in Easington have been given a 'good' OFSTED report. Picture by Tom Banks

Hope Wood Academy in Easington was dubbed as being in a ‘quadmire of inadequacy’ in the summer of 2014.

However, the school, which caters for children of all ages with special needs, is now celebrating being rated as good with outstanding features by Ofsted watchdogs.

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Formerly named, Glendene Academy, the school was thrown into turmoil when Ofsted placed it in special measures for a catalogue of failings.

However, after joining the Sunderland-based Ascent Trust, a multi-academy trust of special needs schools, Ofsted bosses soon confirmed the Crawlaw Road school was turning a corner.

Now, it has been given a glowing report following the latest visit from the education watchdogs.

Adele Pearson, head of Hope Wood Academy, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with our report and the recognition from Ofsted of the transformation that the academy has made since the academy was brought into Ascent Academies Trust in November 2015.

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“The academy was at that point in special measures and described by Ofsted in our July 2016 report as previously being a quagmire of inadequacy.

“Staff, pupils and parents have all formed part of our transformational journey and are absolutely committed and have extremely high expectations for all children and young people at the academy.

“We are in the process of planning a celebration event to include pupils, parents and staff.”

In the latest Ofsted report the school was rated as good overall, but outstanding for management and leadership, as well as personal development, behaviour and welfare of pupils.

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The inspectors said: “School leaders and trustees are highly effective and very ambitious. Together, they have successfully changed the culture of this school.

“Rapid improvement has already taken place and the school continues to improve.”

They said teaching has improved considerably and, as a result, pupils’ standards of achievement are rising.

Inspectors said the knowledge and dedication of trustees have had a very positive impact on school and leaders know the school very well.

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They said: “Staff feel highly valued and listened to, and they support school leaders well. Staff provide a very positive, meaningful and enjoyable learning experience for pupils.

“Relationships between staff and pupils are exceptional.”

The behaviour of pupils at Hope Wood Academy around school and in classrooms is outstanding and they love attending school.

Inspectors said: “The school’s curriculum is well planned and structured to meet the pupils’ needs. A wide range of academic and vocational opportunities, as well as additional activities, are provided, which promote pupils’ personal development and welfare exceptionally well.

“Good teaching ensures that pupils in all key stages make good progress from their starting points.”

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