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Specialist school outstanding
A school which educates autistic boys has been rated as outstanding by Ofsted for helping its pupils to overcome and understand their difficulties.
Swalcliffe Park, a residential school in Swalcliffe, near Bloxham, has 45 pupils and includes a sixth form.
Headteacher Kiran Hingorani said he was pleased the inspectors had recognised the differences between its teaching and that of a mainstream school.
Mr Hingorani said: “We’re absolutely delighted.
“For a school like ours, where the boys come with a whole host of difficulties, my concern was we would just be judged on academic progress, but the work we do is so much broader.
“We’re pleased the inspectors made reference to outstanding academic and personal progress, which to me is particularly important, because personal progress is what changes lives.”
In his report, inspector Frank Price said: “The high level of personalisation and support ensures that no student is disadvantaged.
“The school goes the extra mile to reduce any hindrances to learning and the outstanding residential provision ensures students are well-prepared and receptive to learning.”
He said intervention groups had improved pupils’ social, thinking and verbal skills and highlighted a role-play activity where children had to work out appropriate communication methods for formal and informal settings.
Mr Hingorani said: “The boys who come to us have generally had very disrupted and very unhappy experiences of education and have quite often been through a number of settings before they get to us.
“One of the first things is to make sure we have a thorough understanding of the complexity of their needs.”
Most children arrive with low attainment levels but by the time they leave, gaps in performance had narrowed and many left with a good range of impressive qualifications, according to Ofsted.
Mr Hingorani said the school worked hard to prepare the children for situations they would struggle with, for example, if a work experience placement was planned, a ‘dummy run’ of all the possible things that would happen would be carried out.
He said: “These are things a lot of youngsters would learn incidentally but our boys don’t, so we teach them.
“If we’re setting up a college placement, we would support the travel to and from the college, we would show them how to buy a ticket, what to do when a bus is full and what you do when you get to the college – say if the room has changed.”
Major renovations are being carried out to the residential facilities at the school, with the work due for completion in 2014.
firstname.lastname@example.org For more information about the school, see swalcliffepark.co.uk