Outstanding Ofsted rating for Red Balloon school for bullied children

Students and staff at the Red Balloon Norwich celebrate its outstanding Ofsted rating. Picture: DENI

Students and staff at the Red Balloon Norwich celebrate its outstanding Ofsted rating. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

A school for children who have been traumatised by bullying has been recognised as 'outstanding' in a glowing Ofsted report published today.

Red Balloon Norwich, in Earlham Road, was founded in 2006, and has 18 pupils aged 11 to 16 on its roll, who stay for an average of three terms.

The report said: 'Many of the students have experienced extreme bullying at the schools they have previously attended or when they were in their local community. Students say the centre's insistence that bullying of any form is unacceptable is immensely reassuring.'

Inspector Godfrey Bancroft praised the 'exceptional progress' pupils make, and with many 'attaining outstandingly well' in their academic courses.

He added: 'Almost all students arrive at the centre with very low previous attendance records. Some have not attended school at all for a considerable time.

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'The attendance of all students increases dramatically once they arrive in the centre. Even when they do not have to attend, such as when they have completed their examination courses, students still turn up because they enjoy being at the centre so much.'

As an independent school, Red Balloon charges annual fees of £16,500, and children can be referred by their mainstream school, local council or GP, or by their parents. It can offer bursaries.

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The school's co-ordinator, Angela Hewett (formerly Francis), said: 'Within half a day we can get a glimmer of hope from a child. It's because we listen, nurture and include them with a buddy who we know is going to be sympathetic, and because of that they settle in very quickly.'

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

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