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Inspectors praise Derby special school for ‘exceptional quality of education’

today7 September 2022

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A small Derby special school has been graded “good” by Ofsted following an inspection in July. Maple View School in Mackworth works with children aged six to 16 who have autism and associated complex special needs, including limited or no communication skills.

The Prince Charles Avenue school is one of six operated by the SENAD Group, who took it over in 2020 – prior to that it was known as Mackworth House School – and it was last inspected before that in 2018 when it was also judged to be “good”. Fees for Maple View School are £114,500 a year and children are mostly referred to it by local authorities.

The newly-published report from the latest inspection praises the 13-pupil school’s emphasis on kindness among the pupils. It also says that staff have high expectations of each pupil and provide them with “an exceptional quality of education” which was rated “outstanding”.

The report adds: “Pupils are enthusiastic about their activities and learning. Pupils enjoy the sensory room, woodland area, vegetable garden, trampoline and swings. They like looking after the rabbits and chickens. They enjoy having the school dog, Teddy, around. Pupils benefit from a wide range of experiences. For example, they gain from horse-riding, cycling, visits to museums and shops, and residential trips to the coast.”

Inspectors also praised the school for offering each child an individualised curriculum which is “ambitious”, “broad” and “well-planned” and the expertise of the teachers in adapting the curriculum for each individual child to ensure learning is embedded and learning targets are met if not exceeded.



A reading lesson at the Mackworth school

At the school, pupils follow individualised curriculum pathways, either semi-formal or subject-specific, according to ability, with preparation for life after Maple View at the core of their pathways. They engage in classroom-based learning, including daily literacy, numeracy and PSHE activities.

In the afternoons, they can access horticulture and small animal care, cooking, Forest School and community-based activities and have the opportunity to work with children from other classes. There is also a strong focus on creativity and well-being, with music at the start of the day and yoga to close.

In order to improve further, the directors of the school are being advised to thoroughly check all parts of the school’s provision, to ensure it is of the “very highest quality”.

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