A pupil referral unit has been rated ‘outstanding’ by the education watchdog.
Ethos College in Rawthorpe has received Ofsted’s highest rating for the first time.
The school is a specialist provision for pupils aged 14-16 who have social, emotional, mental health and medical (SEMH) needs. Some are excluded or at risk of exclusion from mainstream secondary schools while others may be unable to attend mainstream schools.
Kirklees Council funds every pupil’s place at an enhanced level and, as such, does not delegate pupil premium funding to the school, which has 65 pupils.
Ethos College was rated as ‘outstanding’ in all aspects of the new report, which stated: “For many pupils, the ‘lifeline’ provided by the school marks a turning point in their lives and an important first step towards a better and more successful future.”
The Ofsted inspectors noted that pupils’ attendance levels dramatically increase when they are transferred to the referral unit.
They praised staff’s ‘sky-high expectations for pupils’ and described the teaching as ‘highly effective’, saying pupils make fast progress, often in a short amount of time.
Furthermore, the report stated: “The school’s highly effective ‘nurturing’ approach has a profoundly positive impact on pupils’ personal development.
“Pupils’ conduct and behaviour are exemplary. This is a remarkable achievement considering their complex SEMH needs.”
It also praised a highly effective personal, social, health and citizenship education (PSHCE) programme, in which ‘nothing is taboo’.
It was rated as ‘good’ in its last inspection in 2012.
Since then, the acting headteacher, Jayne Foster, has been appointed as the school’s substantive headteacher. A new deputy headteacher, Colin Duro, and two assistant headteachers have also joined the senior leadership team.
Jayne said: “We are absolutely delighted with the report.
“The dedication of the staff team and their willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ on behalf of our students has contributed significantly to the college being awarded the outstanding grading.
“We will continue to build on the many strengths outlined in the report in securing improved outcomes for our learners.”
Other schools and colleges strengthening partnership work with other schools and colleges is the only improvement that the glowing report recommends.