A SPECIAL school in Thornbury has been praised by Ofsted for the quality of education delivered to pupils, but that newer staff and governors need to be brought up to speed.

The Sheiling School, which teaches just over 30 pupils, aged between six and 19-years-old, was rated “good” by Ofsted inspectors for the third successive time, during a visit between June 20-22.

The “good” rating was given across the board, with the school giving inspectors a positive impression of their effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, personal development, behaviour and welfare, outcomes for pupils, and sixth form provision.

Many of the pupils at the school have more than one additional moderate or severe additional need, including autistic spectrum disorder, sensory impairment and social, emotional and mental health difficulties, and the school was praised for the successes of its 16-to-19 study programmes providing academic study, independent living skills and work experience.

However, it said there was still room for pupils to achieve more.

Head teacher Paul Gawdan was praised in the report for his “clear vision and determination” having brought about significant improvements in a short space of time.

Staff were also considered to know their pupils well, with the children showing trust in them in return. This subsequently lead to acknowledgement that the quality of teaching, learning and assessment rapidly improving.

But with most middle leaders at the school new to their posts, the report suggested that they are yet to receive the training needed to support senior leaders in continuing to raise standards.

The governing body and leaders were also suggested that, in order to improve, the recently introduced assessment framework, with more detailed information about pupils’ academic and personal development, should be used as a tool to plan the next steps for the school.

Governors were also advised that, while they have an understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses, they lacked the specific knowledge required to fully discharge their duties.