Holloway special needs school given Ofsted rap for a second time

The Courtyard is temporarily being run from St David�s Church in Westbourne Road, Holloway

The Courtyard is temporarily being run from St David�s Church in Westbourne Road, Holloway - Credit: Archant

A new special needs school is not doing enough to improve after a bad inspection report last year, according to Ofsted.

The Courtyard, a branch of St Mary Magdalene Academy, opened in 2013. It provides for 36 pupils aged 14 to 18 with autism and/or speech and communication difficulties.

Teaching at the school, which runs from St David’s Church in Westbourne Road, Holloway, was criticised in its first Ofsted report in May last year.

It was given a “requires improvement” rating, the second lowest rank of four.

A monitoring report, carried out to assess the school’s progress since then, was released on Tuesday.

It criticised senior leaders and governors for “not taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement”.

In particular it targeted the school’s governing body, saying it was “particularly slow to respond” to last year’s inspection. An external review of the school’s governance has not taken place, as recommended by Ofsted last year.

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But headteacher Deborah Shepherd told the Gazette on Tuesday: “The governing body is very knowledgeable, and supportive of my team. Yes, it was noted from the report that the review hadn’t been called, and we have immediately acted on that.

“We felt the monitoring assessment went well in terms of recognising the improvements we have made, particularly in monitoring progress. Behaviour was also noted as very good.”

The school is scheduled to move into a new, purpose-built facility in the grounds of St Mary Magdalene Church in Holloway Road in April.

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