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Cardiff special school taken out of special measures

Woodlands High School in Cardiff has been removed from special measures by Estyn, the education inspectorate for Wales. 

The decision comes after inspectors found that the special school, with support from the local authority and the Central South Consortium, had made strong and very good progress towards addressing recommendations, which Estyn made when it placed Woodlands High under special measures in January 2016.

After a follow-up visit, the Estyn inspectors commented on the caring ethos and supportive culture at the school, and they found an enthusiasm and energy within the staff team. The improved learning experiences have resulted in swift improvements in standards of wellbeing of staff and pupils.

Mrs Sian Thomas, Acting Headteacher of Woodlands High School, said: "We are thrilled that all the hard work from the staff, pupils and Governors at Woodlands has been recognised.

"Since becoming Acting Headteacher last April, I have been grateful for the support of the staff, pupils, parents and the Governing Body. As a strong team, with the same vision, we have acted upon advice from the Central South Consortium and the Local Authority, and we are grateful for all the expert guidance from other special schools and external agencies.

"We always put our pupils first, and are constantly looking for how we can improve and support our pupils so that they can achieve to the best of their ability and prepare themselves for life after school.

"Being taken out of special measures, as well as rising to amber in this year's Welsh Government school categorisation, is extremely significant. But this is just the start, and I am confident that with the support of the whole school community, and as part of the Western Learning Campus, we will continue to see sustained improvement at Woodlands High School."

Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council, and Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cllr Sarah Merry, said: "I am extremely pleased to see the significant improvements made at Woodlands High being recognised by the Estyn inspectors.

"Since the school was put into special measures in January 2016, the local authority, with support from the consortium, has taken steps to enable the school to deliver improved standards. Leadership and governance has been strengthened and we invested in the learning environment at the school.

"Woodlands High School, Riverbank School and Tŷ Gwyn School, have taken forward partnership working significantly in the local area - culminating in their decision to federate as the Western Learning Campus from last month - and this joint working is delivering results."

Estyn's inspectors noted that many pupils with speech communication and language difficulties were confident in making contributions in class and to the whole school and that other pupils are respectful and listen attentively.

They found that since the January 2016 inspection, pupil behaviour has improved and the number of fixed-term exclusions has reduced significantly. With support of staff, pupils are respectful of one another, staff and their environment.

Click here to view the full 2018 Estyn report

Click here for a summary of the school's Welsh Government categorisation