An “ambitious and shared vision for school improvement” is benefitting nearly 100 children with special educational needs at Aspire Academy in Bath.  That’s the verdict of Ofsted inspectors who visited the school in April and rated it as Good in all areas.

Aspire Academy is part of Futura Learning Partnership multi academy trust, which for the last year has been working with North Star Academy Trust to develop its provision for pupils with SEND.

The school currently has 99 pupils aged four to 19 with education, health and care (EHC) plans. Their predominant needs are social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs, speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Most pupils have more than one identified SEND. Pupils come from Bath and North East Somerset (BANES), South Gloucestershire, Bristol and Wiltshire local authorities.

Ofsted said: “Pupils learn how to be enthusiastic and successful learners at this school. For many pupils, this contrasts with their previous experience of education.”

Other strengths highlighted in the report included:
Relationships between staff and pupils are strong.
Pupils feel safe and most are keen to attend school regularly.
Pupils explore what it means to be part of a community, through activities such as fundraising and camping
Staff adapt the curriculum to match pupils’ personal, social and emotional needs.
Increased expectations for pupils’ learning and behaviour are raising standards.

The inspectors said interim headteacher Helen McDicken, from North Star Academy Trust, and her team, had worked relentlessly to increase expectations for pupils’ learning and behaviour and this “had a substantial and positive impact on pupils’ development in a short time.”

Headteacher Helen McDicken said: “It has been a privilege to work alongside the dedicated staff team to secure positive outcomes for our pupils. We are incredibly proud of our pupils, staff and wider school community who have worked hard to secure this rightfully deserved result. Alongside colleagues from North Star Academy Trust, we are looking forward to continuing this work to benefit future families in the years to come.”

Futura Learning Partnership chief executive Andrea Arlidge said: “The expertise that Helen and her North Star colleagues have brought to Aspire Academy has been of huge benefit to our dedicated and skilled staff team. It means they can ensure support and education is tailored to the specific needs of each individual pupil, enabling these children to flourish.