STAFF and pupils at a ‘calm and relaxing’ special school in Hartford are celebrating after Ofsted bumped them from Requires Improvement to Good.

Greenbank Residential School caters for pupils with autistic spectrum condition, moderate learning difficulties, and associated social and communication difficulties, and includes residential provision for some pupils one night each week.

Inspectors from the education watchdog visited the school for three days in February, and judged the provision to be Good in all assessment categories.

In the report, inspectors praised the school’s ‘emotionally safe environment’ where students can ‘develop their confidence to take part’.

They were also impressed with teachers’ ‘diligent planning’ which ensures learning sessions are ‘meaningful and enjoyable’.

Head teacher, Mike McCann, said: "We were happy with the overall judgement, which reflects the hard work, dedication and commitment shown by all members of the residential team and governors, capably led by the senior managers, Charlene Brown and Charlotte Yarwood.

"Residential provision provides young people with the opportunity to develop and secure the skills and knowledge they need as they prepare for adulthood.

"Pupils are able to access provision either as an extended day or overnight. Despite challenges which lay ahead with funding, the team place the pupils at the centre of everything they do.

"We are ambitious to continue to develop our offer, with the support of parents, in order to maintain and secure a wonderful provision, which makes a positive impact on the lives of young people and their families."

In the report published on Thursday, May 9, Ofsted lead social care inspector, Aaron Mcloughlin, said: “Children are happy and enjoy staying in the residential provision, and have established positive relationships with the staff who care for them.

“The children make progress with their independence, social, and communication skills through a variety of educational experiences which are delivered by a skilful staff team.

“For some families, the children’s progress is having a positive impact in the family home. It has helped them socially and they have developed friendships, and they can now do things they couldn’t do before.

“Staff patiently deliver inclusive independence sessions. Activities and learning are fun, for example going to a youth club to socialise, and going to the shop to buy cooking ingredients while using the local transport links.

“Staff work in partnership with other agencies such as the speech and language team and the school nurse. The intervention and support from these specialist services guides the staff in their work with the children.

“All staff are established in their roles and are committed members of the team. Despite some uncertainty around their long-term future, staff remain focused and committed to providing children with the best care.

“They are fully invested in the residential provision and take pride in their work. Staff said the progress made since the last inspection has helped them feel reconnected with the school.”