Woodlands School in Edgware has once again been recognised as an ‘Outstanding’ institution by Ofsted. The recent inspection on October 17 and 18, 2023, reaffirms the school’s commitment to excellence in special education.
The school, based at Bransgrove Road, was described as a ‘family’ by governors, staff, and parents. The report noted, “These make for an incredibly happy, purposeful, and safe environment in which all pupils can thrive. The school is determined to enable pupils to succeed and lead meaningful lives. These aspirations are met. The school provides every pupil with all the support and opportunities that they need. The bespoke curriculum, therapies, and enrichment opportunities provided for each pupil are of excellent quality.”
The school’s approach to developing social and emotional skills results in exemplary behavior, with quick and effective support provided to students facing emotional challenges. Woodlands School goes beyond academic achievements, emphasising pupils’ awareness and participation in wider society through collaborative activities with mainstream schools and regular community outings.
Woodlands School excels in curriculum development, with a focus on individualized pathways for distinctive needs. The school’s strong approaches to checking on pupils’ knowledge, coupled with frequent joint training sessions and collaboration with other special schools, contribute to exceptionally strong achievements.
The report states, “The school makes the teaching of communication and reading a top priority. All staff have the expertise to teach and apply the range of communication strategies consistently across the school. This enables pupils to express themselves and make independent choices. Staff are also well trained in the school’s phonics programme. It is taught from the start of Reception. Based on staff’s understanding of each pupil’s developmental needs, pupils are taught to decode and blend sounds together to read words.
“Increasingly, pupils reach a point of reading with some confidence and fluency. Throughout the day, there are planned reading opportunities. These range from sensory stories to non-fiction texts, rhymes and poetry.
“The school also makes the teaching of behaviour a key priority. Right from day one in Reception, staff set high expectations and routines. The behaviour team works closely with the rest of the staff. Together, they support all pupils in a variety of bespoke ways to learn to routinely behave well. This makes a strong contribution to pupils’ success, as by behaving well and paying attention, they focus on gaining new knowledge and skills. The school does excellent work with parents and external agencies to overcome barriers to pupils attending school regularly.”
The Edgware school provides an extensive range of enrichment activities, including a primary Shakespeare project, adapted tennis lessons, and a cultural celebration uniting the whole-school community. Subject and behavior leaders share expertise with local schools, ensuring a seamless transition for pupils.
Headteacher Caroline Day-Lewis praised the work of her colleagues for the results and said, “It is fantastic to lead a team of such passionate, hardworking and dedicated professionals, who go above and beyond to support our school every day. This recognition motivates us to continue our commitment to educational excellence.”
This inspection marks the second ungraded inspection since the school was judged ‘Outstanding’ in June 2013.