High praise for Dales School as it continues to shape national needs

The Advertiser Series: : Dales School student Thomas Cullen serves Carol Harrison, left and Sue Coulson with tea and scones celebrating his school being officially rewarded for its ground-breaking efforts : Dales School student Thomas Cullen serves Carol Harrison, left and Sue Coulson with tea and scones celebrating his school being officially rewarded for its ground-breaking efforts

A VILLAGE school with a difference has won high praise - as it continues to shape national education for students with special needs.

Students were more than happy to share with a team of Ofsted inspectors their views of the Dales School – that it is a ‘brilliant’ place to learn.

Inspectors awarded the school at Morton-on-Swale, between Bedale and Northallerton, the highest possible accolade of outstanding for the second time running - for pupil achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils and leadership and management.

Inspectors chose a Wednesday to descend on the school, a day on which it opens its doors to the community for ‘scone shop’.

“We gave the inspectors the choice of gherkin or cheese scones and I told them that it is a brilliant place to come,” said student Thomas Cullen, 17, of Thirsk.

The Dales School provides teaching and learning for just 49 students aged from two-and-a-half to 19, from across North Yorkshire and Teesside.

But it punches above its weight and, despite its size, is regarded as a leading authority in special needs education - working with up to 30 schools in the region including Stockton and Middlesbrough, and with staff conducting training and speaking at events all over the country, including London and Manchester.

It has also published a system that personalises and monitors individual progress which is being adopted by schools across the country.

Dales School staff are also instrumental in writing special needs curriculum and rewriting assessments for early years.

Headteacher Hanne Barton said: “It was overwhelming reading the report and I take great pride in the fact that this has been a team effort including teaching assistants and colleagues in health.

“We want to get better all the time at what we do, for the sake of our students and their families, and that is not going to change or stop because we have received an outstanding report.

“We are proud of and passionate about what we do and we are happy to share our expertise if it can benefit students in our school or anywhere else.”

Chairman of governors Paul Chubb added: “We are delighted that the school has received the recognition it so richly deserves.”

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