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Phoenix School rated Outstanding in all areas

The Outstanding Phoenix School team

Young people hospitalised with mental health needs are receiving an “exceptional education” according to Ofsted inspectors who have rated Phoenix School at Cygnet Hospital Sheffield ‘Outstanding’ in all areas.

In June, the school underwent a full, unannounced, inspection by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted).

Phoenix School is the education provider for all young people admitted to Cygnet Hospital Sheffield on East Bank Road, which offers Child and Adolescent Mental Health services.

Following the recent inspection, it is rated Outstanding in all four key areas; quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and leadership and management.

The report highlighted the commitment of the school to ensuring that each student has a bespoke curriculum unique to their needs.

Inspectors praised leaders, saying they “leave no stone unturned” in doing all that is possible to meet the individual academic needs of pupils.

It read: “The school’s determined ambition, to help pupils to have ‘the confidence and self-belief to progress further in life’, is being realised.”

“The school has high aspirations of and for its pupils. Teachers do their absolute best for pupils. They successfully inspire pupils to engage in learning. They help pupils to achieve as well as they can. Each pupil has a curriculum precisely tailored to their individual needs.

“The school makes sure that each pupil’s curriculum pathway is ambitious and that their learning is purposeful. Teachers match learning impressively well to the curriculum in pupils’ mainstream schools, when possible.”

Head-teacher Katy Edmondson said: “I am overwhelmed by the feedback we received from the inspection team. They completely validated all the hard work we have done over the past four years to make the school what it is today.

“The team is amazing and we could not have got this incredible outcome without their continuous commitment in making the learning experience for our young people the best it can be.

“When we had the call from Ofsted, we felt we were ready, and welcomed the opportunity to show what we do for our young people.

“Since the last inspection we have made changes to policies and procedures, overhauled our curriculum pathways, recruited new staff, delivered CPD across all staff areas and made environmental changes to the school.

“Myself and the rest of the Phoenix School team work closely with stakeholders across the wider hospital to ensure that students at the school are receiving the best possible education whilst in hospital.”

As well as speaking with staff, Ofsted inspectors held focus groups with students to discuss behaviour and attitudes to learning, with a key focus on how well supported young people felt within the school.

The report added: “Established routines and clear expectations help pupils to feel safe. They develop strong, positive relationships with staff. Pupils enjoy coming to school and are supported to attend well.

“Pupils develop their resilience and strength of character. They benefit from high-quality therapeutic support for their mental health needs.”

Inspectors also met with the school staff to gain insight on their experiences of working at the school, and said: “Teachers take genuine pleasure in helping pupils to make significant progress academically, personally and socially.

“Staff morale is high. Staff describe working here as a joy and a privilege.”

Ed Hall, Head of Education at Cygnet Health Care said: “I am in awe of the staff team at Phoenix who have worked with absolute dedication to deliver the very best service. Also it could not have happened without a hospital team who value the contribution of the school and work hard to integrate our services effectively. It will be very exciting to see where Phoenix goes next on their fantastic journey.”

Read the full report

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