Schools achieve results parents ‘never thought would be possible’

A GROUP of schools for children learning outside mainstream education has been praised for achieving results parents “never thought would be possible”.

Snowdon Village, which includes the Nest centre for primary school-aged pupils based at Frome Vale Academy in Frenchay Road, has been given its first ever ‘good’ rating by education watchdog Ofsted.

The alternative provision for four to 16 year olds is run by Cabot Learning Federation and also includes the Engage, Bristol Futures Academy and City School elsewhere in the city, for other age groups.

Pupils have either been excluded or have special educational needs which mean they find it difficult to cope in mainstream schools.

A team of three Ofsted inspectors visited in the summer and their report found the schools to be ‘good’ in all areas – quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, leadership and management, and personal development.

On its only previous inspection in 2019 Ofsted said Snowdon Village required improvement.

The inspectors said: “Pupils come to Snowdon Village with previous negative experiences of education. They have often had significant periods of non-attendance.

“Leaders prioritise building strong, trusting relationships between pupils and staff. As a result, pupils attend school increasingly well and re-engage with learning in a positive way.”

“Pupils are keen to describe the impact that staff have on them. They value the commitment that staff have to securing the very best for them.

“Parents agree. They are greatly appreciative of the dedication, expertise and communication they have with staff to achieve goals that they never thought would be possible, for example pupils sitting GCSEs and attending school full-time.”

The inspectors found pupils to be respectful, motivated to learn and meeting staff’s “high expectations”.

The report highlighted the schools’ prioritisation of welfare, physical and mental health, and personal development, with opportunities to learn outdoors, go on trips and access vocational activities and careers guidance.

Recovery from ‘significant staff turbulence’

The inspectors said Snowdon Village had recovered from “significant staff turbulence” around the time of Ofsted’s last report, with stable leadership and a trust-wide curriculum that had been successful in areas including reading and maths.

But they said more work was needed in other subjects to adapt the curriculum to meet all pupils’ needs and create a clear “overall strategic vision” across the four sites.

Snowdon Village principal Alex Davies said: “We are all thrilled with the outcome and have been working incredibly hard over the last four years to secure this – a judgement our children deserve.”

CLF education director Sally Apps said: “Our trust is extremely proud of our ‘Village serving a city’ and we are excited about what the future holds for the young people who attend.” 

Picture: Snowdon Village staff celebrating the result of the recent Ofsted inspection