Ofsted hails 'outstanding' teaching and support for children with autism

Queensmill School's good practice also recognised by the National Autistic Society

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Children with autism receive 'outstanding' teaching and support at Queensmill School, in Fulham, say Ofsted inspectors.

"Pupils make outstanding progress in lessons," according to the school's latest Ofsted report. "The anxieties and behaviours that pupils have on entry diminish quickly with the school's expert support. Behaviour is excellent and the decrease in pupils' challenging behaviour over time is outstanding. Pupils become increasingly independent; they learn to follow their daily schedules without prompting and carry out what they have learned at school within their home.

Very good support is offered to parents through training, social occasions and help in managing their children." In return parents are said to be "overwhelmingly supportive" of the school.

Queensmill School's good practice has already been recognised by the National Autistic Society and the school has also received an Investors in People award for the high quality of its staff training and development.

Ofsted inspectors say, "The quality of teaching and the team work between teachers, support staff and speech and language therapists are outstanding. There is the highest possible level of commitment to excellence by all staff."

Headteacher Jude Ragan, who arrived at the school in September 2005, is praised for her "outstanding leadership and management", which is "focused firmly on helping pupils manage their ASD (autistic spectrum disorder) so that they achieve well and take their place in society."

Queensmill School, which caters for children aged 3 - 11, also provides expertise and support to local mainstream schools in managing pupils with an autistic spectrum disorder. Some pupils from Queensmill are able, with specialist support, to move on to mainstream schools.

Ofsted says Queensmill School, which is currently based in a five-storey Victorian building, has been "refurbished in a manner that better suits the needs of these particular pupils" but the report notes that "the building is far from ideal as a school for pupils with autism". A new state-of-the-art building for Queensmill School is proposed by H&F Council as part of a review of special and primary education in the borough.

Headteacher Jude Ragan said, "We are thrilled that Ofsted has recognised the excellent teaching and support we provide for children with autism. This is thanks to our highly skilled and dedicated staff, children's tremendous desire to achieve and the fantastic support of parents and governors."

Cllr Antony Lillis, cabinet member for children's services, said, "This outstanding Ofsted report confirms Queensmill School's growing reputation as a centre of excellence. We are keen to further enhance the school's high quality of teaching and learning by building a new Queensmill School which will be much better suited to the needs of children with autism."

* The new Queensmill School would be built at the current site of Gibbs Green School, a special school in West Kensington catering for a small number of pupils with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. It is proposed that the current provision offered at Gibbs Green would move to a centre on the site of Langford Primary School, in Fulham.

April 27, 2007