Three in a row for outstanding Exeter special school

Posted on: 17 March 2016

An Exeter special school is celebrating a hat trick of outstanding judgements by independent inspectors.

Ellen Tinkham was first rated as outstanding by school inspectors in 2007.

The accolade was repeated in 2011 and the school has now been rated as outstanding for the third time following a visit by two senior Ofsted inspectors.

The school has 140 pupils ranging in age from three to 19 with a range of severe learning difficulties at its base in Pinhoe. The children come from all over Exeter, East, Mid and West Devon.

Lead inspector, Steffi Penny, concludes in a letter to Executive Head Jacqui Warne: “The leadership team has maintained the outstanding quality of education in the school since the last inspection.

“Strong leadership ensures that the quality of teaching and learning continue to improve.

“You, the senior leaders and the governing body possess a very clear understanding and knowledge of each pupil’s learning and progress.

“Excellent outcomes for pupils of all ages are being maintained due to the high-quality learning experience that pupils have.”

Ms Penny says that families and their children are empowered to have a real say about what support and help they want and need.

The school works extremely closely with other agencies and services to ensure the safety of those in its care.

“Moves between being a younger pupil to becoming a young person and adult are clearly defined,” she says.

“Excellent support is provided for pupils and their families with close liaison with adult services and other providers.”

From the age of 14 all pupils who can, undertake work experience or work-based learning. When they leave school, all pupils are in education, employment or training.

Ellen Tinkham is federated with Bidwell Brook Special School in Dartington and Ms Penny says this has provided excellent opportunities for staff development and collaborative working.

Ellen Tinkham also provides excellent and highly sought-after support to other education providers which enables their pupils to have better learning experiences.

Ms Penny says the governors are highly skilled, dedicated and passionate about the work they do in the school.

Everyone is committed to the school’s vision which is ‘everyone will be the best they can be; no-one is excluded; everyone has a voice’.

Ms Penny says: “This is embodied in every aspect of the school’s work, every day.”

Executive Head Jacqui Warne said: “Ellen Tinkham’s values and ethos of putting pupils and their families at the centre of everything is reflected in our ‘outstanding’ judgement.

“It enables us to give our pupils the very best possible opportunity to learn and enjoy life to the full.

“We have exceptional staff at all levels. Inspired by our amazing children and young people, staff are dedicated, skilled and innovative.

“I am extremely proud of them all and our continued success.”

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