OFSTED inspectors have praised a special school in Havant for pupils’ achievements – but cut its grading.
Prospect School for 11 to 16-year-old boys with emotional and behavioural problems has fallen from good to satisfactory following a tougher inspection guideline brought in this year.
It comes in spite of the report recognising most pupils make progress in line with their peers, rising attainment in English, maths and science, an excellent art department, rapidly improving teaching and good behaviour and leadership.
Headteacher Marijke Miles said: ‘The Ofsted framework is so narrow it doesn’t do any justice to any special school – but I am pleased with the commentary which recognises our good work.
‘We are an unrecognisably better school than we were three years ago.’
The majority of boys at Prospect are on the autistic spectrum and have significant communication and language difficulties.
But they all learn Japanese – taught by Miss Miles, Hampshire’s only special school head who teaches – and gain qualifications in English, maths, science and ICT.
Exclusions and incidents are rare and every school leaver moves on to college, training or into jobs mainly in vocational industries like construction, gardening and mechanics.
Miss Miles, described as ‘inspirational’ by her staff in the report, said: ‘We know our boys’ lives are likely to present more hurdles and challenges than other pupils.
‘All the academic training in the world won’t have any value if they are not resilient to the things they have to face in their lives.
‘We take them regularly on trips to London, to museums and they go skiing. Learning Japanese for example is about raising aspiration and aiming high – they can be successful learners in areas perceived to be difficult.’
She added: ‘It’s my wonderful staff and governors who are my inspiration. I drive myself harder and harder because I want to be the head they deserve.’