Pupil referral unit in Bury St Edmunds retains ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating

Mark Westley Photography'First Base, Airfield Raod Bury St Edmunds, Clare Hargrave deputy head, Headteacher Judy Bush and Samm Sadler inclusion support celebrate outstanding Ofsted report. ANL-150113-233231009
Mark Westley Photography'First Base, Airfield Raod Bury St Edmunds, Clare Hargrave deputy head, Headteacher Judy Bush and Samm Sadler inclusion support celebrate outstanding Ofsted report. ANL-150113-233231009
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A headteacher of a pupil referral unit in Bury St Edmunds has praised her team after it retained its ‘outstanding’ Ofsted status.

First Base, which moved from Brandon to a purpose built site in Bury St Edmunds two years ago, received top marks in all areas with inspectors highlighting how its work is ‘carefully tailored so it is pitched at just the right level for each individual pupil’.

The unit caters for upto 12 pupils, aged three to eight, who have complex social, emotional and behavioural needs and attend the unit for two days a week while spending the other three days in their mainstream school.

Headteacher Judith Bush, who established the school in Brandon about 10 years ago, said: “I’m extremely pleased and proud of what the staff have been able to achieve at First Base over an extended period of time.

“It isn’t about individual people, it’s about the strength of the team working in support of the children and families.”

First Base, in Airfield Road, was last inspected and graded ‘outstanding’ three years ago. Since then inspectors say the unit’s work has ‘improved even more’ with ‘marking and feedback to pupils even sharper and more precise’.

They praised Ms Bush, who ‘provides exceptional leadership, sets very high standards but also provides highly effective support to all staff to help them to meet her very high expectations for pupils’ learning, progress and behaviour’.

Meanwhile, teaching is ‘outstanding not least because teachers and inclusion staff work as a closely knit team to provide a finely balanced mix of support for behaviour and support for learning’.

First Base offers pupils support in their mainstream schools where the unit aims to reintegrate pupils on a full-time basis.

Inspectors added: “Pupils make significant improvements in their behaviour and learn to manage it themselves. Consequently, they are able to go back to their mainstream schools on a full-time basis.

“The high level of success in reintegrating pupils back into their primary schools is also down to the exceptional work staff do with parents and the pupils’ home schools.”

They felt First Base could improve further by securing support from the local authority to track pupils’ progress in the long term, following reintegration, to ‘identify any aspect of the unit’s work that could be done even better’.