The Clare School in Norwich gets second outstanding Ofsted report

A Norwich headteacher believes successful complex needs schools like his are set to play an ever-increasing role in the mainstream education of vulnerable youngsters.

Nigel Smith, from The Clare School, on South Park Avenue, praised pupils, teachers and support workers after their hard work earned them another 'outstanding' report from Ofsted.

It is the second time in a row the school has been given the top rating by inspectors who described it as 'exceptional'.

The report added: 'Pupils' achievement is indeed excellent, whatever their particular learning needs, because the school is so skilled at tailoring the learning programmes to these.'

Mr Smith, who has 94 pupils aged three to 19 on the roll, said maintaining that top standard took a lot of dedication from staff.

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He said: 'It's a big challenge. You have to be continually moving forwards, demonstrating you are moving forwards and challenging yourselves.'

The headteacher said the school would continue to strive for further improvement and he believed it would play an increasingly important role in the county.

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Mr Smith said proposals to devolve full responsibility for special educational needs funding for pupils in mainstream education to their schools could see places like The Clare School being called upon for guidance.

'I can see an ever-increasing role for complex needs schools to play a big part in supporting and commissioning their experts to the mainstream schools,' he said.

Mr Smith said the knowledge and expertise of complex needs schools would be vital to those headteachers.

Following their last Ofsted visit in 2009, The Clare School gained specialist SEN physical and sensory status.

Following their visit last month, inspectors said it was already having an impact outside of the school.

Their report said: 'The school's specialist status has enabled it to develop its sensory provision and expertise even more and to share this with its community.'

The school was given just one recommendation to develop its international links and has already gained an intermediate International School Award as a result of its efforts to meet that target.

Do you have an education story? Contact Victoria Leggett on 01603 772468 or email

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