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Shropshire school boarding house loses 'outstanding' rating

By Andrew Morris | Wem | Education | Published:

A boarding house at a Shropshire school has lost its outstanding Ofsted rating – but is still rated good.

Thomas Adams School in Wem has more than 1,100 children on the register, with more than 40 boarding.

Ofsted inspectors visited the school last month to rate it under its social care common inspection framework, looking at the boarding side of the school.

Dave Carrigan, social care inspector, found the provision overall was good – compared with outstanding in 2017.

The school itself is also rated as good.

He said: “The boarding school provides effective services that meet the requirements for good.

“Young people enjoy their boarding experience and make good progress in many areas of their life.

“They have opportunities to develop their social skills, to become increasingly confident, to improve their language skills and to experience a different way of living.

“Young people have a good induction to the school and boarding provision.

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“They are well informed about whom they can contact if they are worried about any aspect of their stay.

“Expectations for behaviour, and the potential consequences, are explained clearly to young people as part of their induction and are included in the boarders’ handbook.”

He added: “Staff ensure, prior to young people’s admissions, that information is gathered from their families and their previous school.

“This initial contact enables staff to gather essential information. This information is then used to ensure that young people’s individual needs are met.

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Positive

“There is a strong safeguarding culture across the whole school community.

“Staff are knowledgeable about the safeguarding processes that must be followed if they have any concerns about young people’s welfare.

“This approach is underpinned by safeguarding training that reflects national safeguarding priorities, including staff receiving training on the topic of child sexual and criminal exploitation.

“Young people’s behaviour is consistently positive, and staff encourage them to respect each other.

“Young people respond positively to two different behaviour management strategies used in the boarding. These are a points-based and a status-based system.

“When behaviours require additional sanctions, these are based on a restorative approach and the withdrawal of privileges.”

But he added: “The school does not meet the following national minimum standard for boarding schools: The school premises, accommodation and facilities provided therein are maintained to a standard such that, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of pupils are ensured.”

Mark Cooper, headteacher at the school, said the inspection was carried out under the new tougher Social Care Common Inspection Framework that was introduced on the previous day, September 23.

"In my view many boarding houses will find this framework much more stringent," he said.

"We were pleased that Ofsted recently recognised during out inspection that young people enjoy their boarding experience and make good progress, and unanimously say that no bullying behaviours are experienced or accepted at the school.

“As Headteacher of the school I am tremendously proud of our boarding provision and the fantastic diversity it brings to the school and sixth form, making it a great place to learn. Already we have addressed the single compliance issue in the report.

"I am pleased that Ofsted have recognised that all staff have high aspirations for young people in their care and we warmly welcome any prospective parents and children to come and visit our fabulous school, sixth form and boarding house."

Andrew Morris

By Andrew Morris
Local Democracy Reporter - @AndyMorrisLDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Shropshire.

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