Steep rise in permanent exclusions a ‘significant barrier’ to Short Stay School for Norfolk, inspectors say
- Credit: Steve Adams
The steep rise in exclusions has left a school for children who have been excluded facing 'significant barriers' to giving pupils a high-quality education.
In its latest Ofsted report, published last week, inspectors said the Short Stay School for Norfolk (SSSfN) required improvement, a downgrade on its previous good result.
Inspectors said: 'Leaders have faced significant barriers to improving the school since it opened in 2014. Growing numbers of pupils coming in, not enough schools to reintegrate pupils into, increasing problems with site maintenance, and a restructure to manage funding challenges, have been unwelcome distractions for leaders trying to ensure that vulnerable pupils have a high-quality educational provision.'
It says, despite 'their very best efforts', leaders struggle to secure next-step provision for pupils, which can leave pupils 'disengaged'.
'Despite exhaustive efforts by leaders, there is insufficient next-step or specialist provision in the locality,' the report says.
Mr Reynolds said he was 'deeply proud' of the school, its staff and pupils, and said: 'We feel that the report rightly emphasises the many challenges which the school has faced in the last three years.
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'However we feel it is unfortunate that the school's overall grade has been adversely affected by many factors which are beyond our control.'
He said he was pleased the report acknowledged the importance of teamwork with the wider education community, as well as issues with its eight sites.
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'The report highlights the significant challenges involved in managing an estate of eight different school sites with a very limited budget,' he said.
'The trust has raised issues around our premises and funding repeatedly with the Department for Education over the last two years, but sadly has felt that the issue has been largely ignored.
'We sincerely hope that the inspectors comments will support our efforts to ensure that the most vulnerable young people have the best physical environments in which to learn.'
During their visit, in February, inspectors noted that while safeguarding is 'determined, constant and rigorous', it was not reflected in some administration, that the quality of teaching is 'variable' and that pupils sometimes aren't given a 'full voice' in their provision.
But they praised executive headteacher Victoria Setters, who - after being appointed in September - is bringing 'greater stability and consistency'.