Staff and students at Fernhurst School are gearing up for exciting change thanks to the Building Schools for the Future programme – and some top marks in its Ofsted inspection.
A new and innovative system for learning is coming to the school, called Progress2learn which could revolutionise the school and its pupils.
From September 2010 the school will instead provide an inclusion facility called Progress2learn for groups of students from local secondary schools who will spend two days a week at the school.
This is designed to engage disaffected learners in Blackburn and Darwen and give them an alternative curriculum with work based learning, vocational and work skills and the core curriculum and ICT.
In the two days a week they will also follow their school’s BSF curriculum as well as the personalised learning at Fernhurst, so will still be a part of the ambitious BSF programme.
The school has also been awarded some top marks in the latest Ofsted inspection.
Fernhurst, in Heys Lane, Blackburn, was rated ‘good’ overall by the government inspector who visited the school and it was given praise for its wide-ranging curriculum, ‘good, enthusiastic teaching geared to individual abilities and levels’ and students’ achievements.
Students at Fernhurst have emotional, behavioural or social difficulties and have statements of educational need related to this.
Chief inspector Honoree Gordon said: “Care, guidance and support for students are good, with staff keen to 'go the extra mile' with students, families and outside agencies and professionals to promote students' safety and well-being.
“Achievement and enjoyment are good. Students make good progress in lessons. They are keen to learn and lessons are carefully delivered in small steps to encourage them to do so.
All bar one of the students who left school in summer 2009 have gone on to further education or employment.
The inspector added that there were good relationships between students and teachers, which students said helped them to succeed, a strong focus on emotional well-being and good opportunities for exercise and healthy lifestyles.
“The new headteacher has re-invigorated the staff, building up a close-knit team of teachers and assistants who share his vision and high expectations of what the school can do to help young people who have become disaffected and whose attendance has been poor.
“As a result provision and outcomes for students have improved since the previous inspection.”
Fernhurst School is due to close in summer 2012 as part of the BSF programme and the students currently all in Year 11 are the last group of students on roll.
Headteacher George Sinclair said he was “thrilled” by the inspection results, and added: “The staff has achieved a good Ofsted as a result of team work in helping to create and share the vision for Fernhurst in the future.
He said that BSF is an opportunity and staff are enthusiastic to see the development of the Progress2Learn service after the closure in 2012.
Mr Sinclair added: “Staff have always been prepared to go the extra mile to support the students at Fernhurst. The development of personalised learning has been vital in helping to re-engage disaffected learners from other schools who share the provision at Fernhurst.
“The work done in PSHE and with Healthy Schools is another key indicator of our commitment to a holistic approach when working with the young people of Blackburn with Darwen.”
Cllr Chris Thayne, executive member for children’s services, said: “Congratulations are in order for Fernhurst’s Ofsted result. The dedication and hard work of staff and students is apparent and I look forward to seeing the school flourish in its new facility in the BSF programme.”