31 August 2021
Dawn House School in Mansfield currently educates over 70 pupils from the East Midlands and from throughout the country with complex speech, language and communication needs aged between seven and 19.
The report from Ofsted rated the residential special school ‘Good’ in three areas; ‘Overall experiences and progress of children and young people’, ‘How well children and young people are helped and protected’ and ‘The effectiveness of leaders and mangers’.
The Ofsted inspection highlighted the work the school has done to improve provision for pupils across the board, and noted:
‘Children in residence are happy and their experiences are very good. Children have a very strong voice; they know how to air their views and concerns. The care is very bespoke, and each child is seen as an individual. Difference is celebrated and the staff speak warmly about the children.’.
One parent reported: ‘They are absolutely amazing, and my son is happy there.’
Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges faced by school leaders, the report acknowledged that:
‘Leaders have remained focused on the support needs of children, and this has helped children and their families get through some very challenging times. For example, the school
provided food parcels to assist some families who were self-isolating during the
pandemic, and staff have helped children to buy gifts for special occasions when they
were unable to go shopping for important family events.’
The report identified new initiatives implemented by the school. A highlight was the new school dog which helps children cope better with anxiety and stress.
With reference to the residential provision, the report also stated:
‘Residential accommodation is good quality, homely and well suited to children’s needs. It allows for the close supervision of the children. The gardens provide a lovely space for the children to enjoy. Children are proud of their garden, which contains a vegetable plot.’
Jenny McConnell, Dawn House Principal, shared her excitement about the new results.
'We are delighted to have the recognition from Ofsted of the schools hard work towards ensuring that our young people enjoy their residential school life whilst also working towards developing their communication and independence skills. We are pleased with the inspectors comments about our support of young people and their families throughout the pandemic and her acknowledgement of the difference we have made.'.
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