Education watchdogs have praised improvements at a pupil referral unit in Bury St Edmunds - with its headteacher setting her sights on an ‘outstanding’ rating.
Ofsted inspectors have boosted The Albany Centre, in Beard Road, from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’ - highlighting ‘good progress’ by students and ‘excellent training’ to help them develop work place skills.
It is a major turnaround for the unit which works with young people aged 14 to 16 with social and emotional difficulties after it was rated ‘inadequate’ in 2011.
Headteacher Jane Reason, who became the unit’s permanent head in September 2012, says she sees it as the latest step on the way to becoming ‘outstanding’.
She said: “In November 2012, at the last inspection, we were rated as ‘requires improvement’, which was a move in the right direction for the school, now we have gone one further.
“I told parents and carers then that I hoped the school, with their help, would be ‘outstanding’ within three years. The latest Ofsted inspection recognised this aim and it is good to see that the hard work of everyone involved with the school is paying off.”
In their report, inspectors noted that the unit ‘nutures students, and supports them and their families, extremely well’ and students make ‘particularly good progress in mathematics and science’.
Teaching and learning are ‘typically good and enable students to make good progress’.
The headteacher is ‘ambitious for the unit to become the best it can be’ and senior leaders are ‘highly focused on improving the unit’.
On how the school can improve further, inspectors felt the unit can develop the quality of teaching even more to raise attainment further, improve attendance and make it easier for the unit to manage behaviour by working with the local authority.
Mrs Reason added: “We tailor learning to every pupil as an individual, whatever their special educational needs might be. The progress we have managed to make has been incredible, the unit has become somewhere students can really achieve and learn.”