Norwich city centre cafe set up by Parkside School praised in “outstanding” Ofsted report

Parkside School has retained its Ofsted Outstanding rating, with particular praise for the White Lio

Parkside School has retained its Ofsted Outstanding rating, with particular praise for the White Lion Café, which its pupils, pictured with headteacher Susan Booth, and Helen Holderness. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

A complex needs school that set up a city centre cafe run by its pupils has been praised in its latest Ofsted report.

Parkside School has retained its Ofsted Outstanding rating, with particular praise for the White Lio

Parkside School has retained its Ofsted Outstanding rating, with particular praise for the White Lion Café, which its pupils, pictured with headteacher Susan Booth, and Helen Holderness. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

The one-day inspection of Parkside Complex Needs School, on College Road, Norwich, confirmed it remains 'outstanding' - the third time it has secured the inspectorate's top grade since 2010.

In her letter following her visit on March 15, inspector Julie Winyard wrote: 'Parkside School is a school that never stands still. You and the staff are constantly striving to be better than your best. Pupils love coming to school in the morning. They are proud of their school so are highly motivated to improve their learning and behaviour.'

She said children described the school, which has 172 pupils, as 'awesome!', 'cool' and 'happy', while parents were 'ecstatic about the school'.

The report, which Ofsted is due to publish next Monday added: 'There are many amazing success stories, but one that is particularly impressive is about a pupil who started at Parkside with no spoken language, refused to go into class and hid under tables.


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'Recently, that same pupil went on the trip to Spain, chose to go into a shop and spoke to the assistant in creditable Spanish, making it very clear what he wanted to buy. He was also able to give the correct money and check the change.'

The report praised the White Lion Cafe, on White Lion Street in Norwich, as 'a phenomenal success', which, as well as giving pupils transferable skills and being a successful business, provides 'a safe refuge for vulnerable young people from similar schools'.

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Headteacher Susan Booth said: 'It was the dream of one of our senior leaders, who wanted to give our pupils a real-life working experience of being in a city centre cafe, fully open to the public.

'Every single class in senior school works in the cafe one morning a week, up to the rush at lunch time. They do the cooking and cleaning and launder the chef's whites and make the coffees and serve the public and go to the public and ask what they want to eat and drink. They do absolutely every job.'

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

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