Ofsted recognises ‘important’ improvements at Severndale

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Education watchdog Ofsted has recognised the significant improvements which have been made to Shropshire’s Severndale Academy under its new leadership team.

“The school’s new leaders are ambitious for all pupils. They have made some important and necessary changes, particularly to improve safeguarding,” the report said. “This means that pupils are now safe and well cared for.”

It described Severndale as ‘a welcoming and caring community’ where pupils are happy to come to school.

Severndale Academy specialises in educating young people with moderate, severe and complex learning difficulties.

In addition to its main base at Monkmoor, it has a satellite centre at Mary Webb School & Science College in Pontesbury, and uniquely a 19-25 provision called Futures at Shrewsbury College’s campus on London Road.

The Learning Community Trust was approached to begin working with Severndale in August 2020 to provide leadership and governance support, and took formal control of the academy in February last year.
Safeguarding was highlighted as a key concern before the Trust stepped in, but Ofsted said the arrangements for safeguarding at Severndale were now deemed to be ‘effective’.

It added: “Leaders and governors take the right actions to keep pupils safe. They make sure that staff know the signs that a pupil may need help.”

Learning Community Trust chief executive Dr Gill Eatough said: “We are delighted that Ofsted has recognised the significant improvements which have been made since Severndale joined us.
“The report is a validation of all the hard work which has been done by new principal Brian Thomas and his fantastic team of staff.

“As Ofsted itself says, it is still early days, and we are aware that there is much more still to do, but we are clearly on an upward trajectory.”

Severndale caters for young people from the ages of 3-25 with a range of learning difficulties.
These include moderate, severe, complex and profound learning difficulties, those with autism, complex medical conditions and physical and mobility difficulties, and many have communication difficulties.
The Ofsted inspection report said: “Leaders have made recent changes to improve the quality of education.

“They have ensured that pupils learn a wide variety of different subjects, and also created different curriculum pathways so that pupils with similar needs learn together. This is working well.”
The Learning Community Trust, which has been running since 2017, has a number of Shropshire schools under its wing including Hadley Learning Community, Ercall Wood, and Charlton secondary schools in Telford.

It also runs Queensway special school, plus primary schools in Hadley, Wellington and Crudgington, and has been chosen to operate the soon-to-be-built new primary school at Allscott, on the site of the former sugar beet factory.



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