Special school rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted

An empty classroom with green chairs
A recent Ofsted report rated the school's overall effectiveness as inadequate [Getty Images]

A special school in Surrey has been given the lowest possible rating by Ofsted inspectors.

Grafham Grange School, in Guildford, caters for pupils aged 10 to 16 with social, emotional and mental health needs.

An Ofsted report published on Wednesday rated the school's overall effectiveness as inadequate, with the report stating the "curriculum thinking is muddled" and students truant from class.

The Orchard Hill College Academy Trust (OHCAT), of which the school is part, said it acknowledged "there are improvements that must be made."

'Staff struggle'

While the Ofsted report noted "pupils are comfortable talking to staff", it explained "lessons are not productive places of learning".

The report suggested this was because learning activities were not matched to pupils' special educational needs and/or disabilities.

Among the concerns raised in the Ofsted report was truancy and support for pupils who struggled with their reading.

“Staff struggle to return pupils to lessons because there are so many pupils out and around the school at one time," the report read.

The school has been part of OHCAT since 2018 and a new leadership team joined the school in January 2024.

The report noted the number of physical interventions and incidents of challenging behaviour had dropped substantially.

In response to the report, OHCAT said: "An accountable and robust model is in place to ensure that students receive a high-quality education and that their families feel supported."

The Trust added OHCAT deputy CEO Laurie Cornwell would lead the school while a permanent principle is recruited and the school would be fully supported by OHCAT senior leaders to help "secure immediate improvements".

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