Harford Manor School retains ‘outstanding’ rating - but inspector highlights cramped buildings

Harford Manor School has retained its outstanding Ofsted grade. Headteacher Paul Eteson celebrating

Harford Manor School has retained its outstanding Ofsted grade. Headteacher Paul Eteson celebrating with staff and students. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A complex needs school has retained its top Ofsted rating following its first inspection for five years - but been told its work could be undermined by its cramped buildings.

The schools inspectorate said Harford Manor School, on Ipswich Road, Norwich, 'remains outstanding in the outcomes it achieves for its pupils'.

In a letter to headteacher Paul Eteson following her one-day inspection on November 24, Prue Rayner wrote: 'You lead the school with passion and determination to provide all pupils with the skills they need to meet the challenges they face when they leave the school. This means they are supported to live and learn as confidently and as independently as they can.'

She said Mr Eteson had an 'uncompromising approach to ensuring good progress', and said pupils of all ages were 'treated with dignity and respected for the skills and attributes they bring to their learning'.

Mr Eteson said: 'For our parents to be very happy with the with the job we are doing, and to demonstrate we have had an impact on their family lives, is really important for me.'

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The report noted that space at the school is limited, and said: 'The school's buildings are a potential barrier to the outstanding achievement of pupils.'

Mr Eteson said he agreed, with the problem becoming more pressing as the school expanded from 75 pupils in 2010 to 85 now. He added that Norfolk County Council was aware of his belief the school needed further investment.

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He added that, with funding now allocated for Chapel Road School in Attleborough to move to a new site, he hoped Harford Manor would be one of the next complex needs schools in line for investment.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said it has a finite amount of money from the government to spend on school buildings each year, and had to prioritise where need was greatest.

He added: 'We do not have any money identified for Harford Manor School at present but we will consider its needs, alongside those of all other schools in the sector, noting the comments of the Ofsted inspector, when prioritising funding in the future.'

The Ofsted report also highlighted the 'instrumental' role of the school's leaders in developing provision for pupils with special educational needs or disabilities in schools across the region.

Do you have an education story? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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