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Message from the Chief Executive

2nd March 2015

I am absolutely delighted to tell you that a recent Ofsted inspection of the residential provision at Westland's Academy rated it as Outstanding in every one of the categories requiring inspection.

In summary, Ofsted said:

The residential provision is outstanding because:

  • Residential students make excellent progress as a direct result of the outstanding quality of care provided.Of particular note is the importance staff give to the views of residential students.
  • The school places the safety of residential students at the centre of its practice.Staff help residential students to understand their behaviour, take responsibility for their actions, and develop better self-control.
  • The quality of partnership between staff and parents is outstanding.Parents are universal in their praise for the residential provision and how it helps their children to make progress.
  • The management of the residential provision is excellent.Leaders at all levels are totally focused on achieving success for residential students.

I’ve highlighted below some of the comments made under each of the categories.

Outcomes for residential pupils:

  • Outcomes for residential students are outstanding.
  • Residential students become much more confident in their own abilities and are proud of the progress they have made.
  • The behaviour of students within the residential setting is excellent.They treat each other, and staff, with consideration and respect.
  • The marked improvement in school attendance and attainment is a source of pride for residential students, enhancing their self-esteem and boosting their confidence.

Quality of residential provision and care:

  • The quality of care received by residential students is outstanding.
  • Staff provide close oversight and support in all aspects of their (the students) daily lives, and clearly promote the high aspirations that they have for all students.
  • Staff provide a range of activities for residential students.Many of these are in-house, providing opportunities for students to have fun with staff and build their relationships.In addition, there are visits off-site to go swimming or attend youth clubs.
  • Staff are highly effective at promoting the health of residential students.They liaise with health professionals, such as those in child and adolescent mental health services, to ensure that support to meet the emotional needs of students is appropriate.

Residential pupils’ safety:

  • The residential provision is outstanding at keeping residential students safe.
  • Residential students confirm that the zeal of staff in watching out for and tackling and signs of bullying is highly effective.One said, “Staff keep watch over us and stop anything like that happening.I feel safe here, 100%.”
  • The management of health and safety within residence and the whole site is extremely diligent.At the time of the inspection there was major building work in progress which will result in a new school building within the next few months.Arrangements to keep students safe during this potentially hazardous activity are thorough and completely effective.

Leadership and management of the residential provision:

  • The leadership and management of the residential provision is outstanding.
  • The head of care promotes the ethos of the provision consistently and clearly.All staff identify with this, creating a community which is orderly, productive and completely child-centred.
  • The head of care is a full and equal member of the senior management team and works with the chief executive to undertake a range of monitoring activities.This is crucial in evaluating the impact that residence has on outcomes for students, and taking action where necessary.

The full report can be found at http://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/CARE/SC030110.

As most parents know, the residential provision of Horizons Specialist Academy Trust is located on the Westlands Academy site in Thornaby and caters for children who attend the three schools in the Trust.It provides care and accommodation for up to 15 boys and girls aged from 7 to 16 years with social, emotional and mental health difficulties and associated learning disabilities.

I would hope that, on the basis of this outstanding Ofsted inspection report, more parents will consider whether their child or young person might benefit from access to this provision and feel confident about its ability to make a real difference to the lives of our children and young people who attend there.

Lastly, my sincere thanks to Fred Griffin, Head of Care; her deputy, Darren Scott, and to all the residential staff who – along with the Principals of Westlands and Green Gates academies – have been responsible for such excellent results.And they could not do it without the excellent support we receive from the parents and carers of our residential students.

Elizabeth Horne

Chief Executive

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