Since opening its doors in 2010, The Holmewood School London has gone from strength to strength in the education and care it provides for autistic young people in North London and surrounding areas.
The Executive Head Teacher of the “outstanding” school in Barnet and Haringey said the classification is a testament to the effort of all the staff, pupils and parents. Lisa Camilleri’s comments come after an Ofsted report rated The Holmewood School’s education provision as “outstanding” for the first time.
Inspectors from the education watchdog visited the school with sites in Woodside Park and Muswell Hill in May. The school was awarded outstanding marks in all five inspection categories. These included the quality of education; students’ behaviour and attitudes; students’ personal development; the provision of the Sixth form; and the leadership and management of the school as a whole.
Inspectors said in their report that provision was outstanding because ‘leaders have very high expectations of what pupils can achieve both academically and in their personal development’, and that staff have a ‘deeply caring attitude towards pupils’.
In addition, the report said pupils describe the school as ‘more than just a school’ and that staff truly understand them. Parents and carers go further to add that they are delighted at the way the school transforms their child’s confidence.
The independent special school supports 69 autistic pupils aged 7 to 19 all funded by over fifteen different local authorities in London, Essex and Hertfordshire. Lisa Camilleri, Executive Head Teacher said the school works hard for its pupils.
Camilleri said: ‘It’s testament to the effort of all our staff, pupils and parents that Ofsted have recognised the school’s provision as outstanding. We work hard to make sure that the children in our care have the best education, the best opportunities and the best start in life. What we do has a tremendous impact on the long-term outcomes for our students, many of whom have experienced high levels of exclusion and rejection before joining us.’
Inspectors observed a high number of lessons, routines and practices, took part in discussions with external professionals involved in the education and placement of pupils, and met with staff and pupils to discuss their learning.
They noted how pupils study a broad curriculum which has been extremely well designed to both meet their needs and help them to fulfil their potential. Staff skilfully use resources and adapt lessons to make sure pupils gain a wide range of qualifications including GCSEs and A-levels. They seamlessly weave into lessons strong support and therapy to help pupils, all of whom have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), develop resilience and improve their social skills.
The report said: ‘Pupils become proud of who they are and deeply value the identities and views of others. Leaders support pupils to stay in touch with one another after they leave the school. They want to protect pupils from the risk of social isolation as they become more independent and move into adulthood.’
At their last inspection in February 2018, the school was rated as good overall with several outstanding areas. Staff at the school know they do an excellent job every day and they do it with full hearts. One staff member quoted, ‘The work is hard but there is still lots of laughter.’
Following the Ofsted success the school hopes to become a beacon of support to other schools in the local area so that more autistic young people can go on to live the lives they choose.
See The Holmewood School’s online listing here.