16:29 Friday 14 February 2014

Thumbs up for pupil unit after Ofsted visit

Written byMARK MCKAY

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‘STRONG and purposeful’ leadership is behind a positive report on a facility which educates pupils excluded from mainstream schools.

Burton’s Pupil Referral Unit was rated as ‘good’ in all areas after Ofsted inspectors visited the unit’s four sites in Burton and Uttoxeter.

Inspector Declan McCarthy said pupils make good progress despite their low starting points thanks motivational teaching and confident leadership.

The facilities were not judged as outstanding because sometimes more-able pupils find tasks too easy and more feedback should occasionally be given.

In the report, Mr McCarthy gave a glowing endorsement of head teacher Gareth Caldwell’s role.

He said: “The head teacher provides strong and purposeful leadership, and enjoys the full confidence of staff and parents in driving the school forward.

“Teamwork and staff commitment to continuous improvement are strong.

“Consequently, a positive climate has been created in which good teaching and good behaviour flourish.”

Most of the unit’s 31 secondary-aged students study at Key Stage 4, the others study at Key Stage 3.

Mr McCarthy said the teaching helped to fill in significant gaps in pupils’ education, as well as overcoming their poor attendance and attitude to learning when they arrived at the unit.

He said: “The unit helps to prepare older students well for the next stage of their lives.

“All leave with at least three relevant qualifications, most leave with five and a few with up to 13.”

Teachers were also praised for their effective behaviour management which helped to develop positive attitudes from the students.

As a result, the few pupils who study at Key Stage 3 were often able to return to mainstream schools due to their good progress.

Head teacher Mr Caldwell told the Mail: “The report is a credit to the students and staff.

“The staff have got a good shared focus and shared goal which is absolutely fantastic.

“The bottom line is that these students overcome these barriers to learning themselves, our role is to support them to come those barrier.”

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