Ysgol Y Deri, the Vale of Glamorgan’s state of the art facility for educating children and young people with special educational needs, has received praise from the schools inspectorate Estyn following its inspection.
Both the school’s current performance and prospects for improvement were rated as ‘good’, the second highest scoring possible.
Estyn singled out the school’s learning environment for particular praise. The facility, which is part of the award winning Penarth Learning Community, features modern accessible sports facilities, hydrotherapy pools, physiotherapy suites and a respite centre that can be used by families and carers looking after those with complex needs. Inspectors considered these facilities to be “excellent” and “highly effective in developing pupils’ social and life skills.”
The culture within the school was praised for being “highly positive and inclusive” and one which provides pupils with “the opportunity to participate in all aspects of school life regardless of the complexity of their varying needs, abilities and backgrounds”.
The school’s leadership was classed as ‘excellent’ with the headteacher and senior leadership team drawing praise for having “established a clear vision for the newly created school that focuses on providing opportunities for all pupils to achieve their potential.”
Partnership working arrangements are central to the school’s operating model with both Vale of Glamorgan Council and Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board staff working closely together. These arrangements were also classed as ‘excellent’.
Headteacher Christopher Britten said: “We are delighted with this report. Estyn have recognised the tremendous work that everyone at the school does every day. The success of our pupils is celebrated and their fantastic achievements have been acknowledged.
“We would like to thank our parents for their support and enthusiasm and all of our friends and supporters in the community. We also recognise the huge contribution that councillors and staff of the Vale of Glamorgan Council have made in establishing a wonderful school.
“Our whole school community can be justifiably proud today.”
Chair of the board of governors, Tim Excell, said: “”The report is a glowing testament to the vision of the Vale of Glamorgan Council in establishing this new school and the dedicated hard work of everyone at Ysgol Y Deri who provide inspirational leadership, teaching and support for the benefit of our pupils and students every day.”
Cllr Lis Burnett, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Education, said: “Today’s report is a thoroughly well-deserved recognition of the hard work of all of those at Ysgol Y Deri.
“The opening of the Penarth Learning Community was a key milestone in the Council’s school investment programme. We believe firmly that by investing in our schools and providing both pupils and teachers with the best possible platform for success.
“Ysgol Y Deri is arguably the best SEN facility in Wales and the inspector’s report is evidence that this investment has paid off.”
Ysgol Y Deri opened in 2014 following the amalgamation of the three schools that previously served pupils in the Vale of Glamorgan with special educational needs. There are 251 pupils on roll aged between 3 and 19 years. All pupils have statements of special educational needs for severe learning difficulties, profound and multiple learning difficulties, moderate learning difficulties or autistic spectrum disorders. Pupils are drawn from the Vale of Glamorgan as well as from the neighbouring local authorities.
Following the inspection Estyn is to now invite the school to prepare a written case study, describing the excellent practice identified during the inspection.