Special school is ‘improving’

NILABE120316e1, Bennerley fields school, Stratford Street, Cotmanhay.
NILABE120316e1, Bennerley fields school, Stratford Street, Cotmanhay.

A Cotmanhay special school – placed under special measures early last year – has made ‘good’ improvements, according to an inspector.

Staff and governors at Bennerley Fields Specialist Speech and Language School were forced to take immediate steps to raise standards after a damning Ofsted report last January.

It was blasted for weaknesses in teaching and learning and given an ‘inadequate’ rating.

Under special measures, inspectors re-visit the school regularly to check improvements are being made.

A report released last month praised pupils’ performance, the quality of teaching and the behaviour of pupils during the last visit.

“Most pupils’ books and other work show that their progress has accelerated since the previous monitoring inspection,” said inspector Sue Morris-King.

“Teaching has improved,” she added, “Although some weaknesses remain these are considerably fewer. During the inspection little inadequate teaching was observed.”

She said that pupils have adapted well to ‘new, more demanding ways in which they are being taught’ and were behaving well.

At the time of the poor Ofsted report last year, new headteacher Debbie Gerring vowed to parents that she would put an action plan in place.

“The past couple of years have been an unsettled time for the school,” she explained at the time.

“But we’re now looking ahead and putting pupils and their learning at the heart of our future plans.”

Ms Gerring, too, was praised by the inspector.

“The headteacher’s positive, determined and measured approach is having a clear impact on improving the school,” she wrote. “The improvements are recognised and welcomed by staff, pupils and parents.”