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Hill House school in Boldre rated 'outstanding' for second time by Ofsted

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A SCHOOL in the New Forest for children with autism and learning disabilities is celebrating after retaining its ‘outstanding’ rating.

Hill House in Boldre was described by an Ofsted inspector as being “life-changing” for some, and providing “highly effective services”.

The report went on: “The actions of the children’s home contribute to significantly improved outcomes and positive experiences for children and young people who need help, protection and care.”

Kirsty Marsden works with a pupil on a 'smartbox' session
Kirsty Marsden works with a pupil on a 'smartbox' session

Staff were delighted with the report. Kirsty Marsden, senior speech and language therapist, said: “Hill House School has now been rated as ‘outstanding’ in both care and education by Ofsted since 2017.

“We pride ourselves on always moving forwards and improving our service. We support a very special group of young people for whom we want to really make a difference.”

She added: “The challenges of Covid have been really tough for everyone around. I am so very grateful to all of our amazing staff for the support and care they have given to our 31 students who have remained at school and in education throughout.”

Hill House is one of the leading residential schools of its kind in the UK, and was praised by Ofsted for helping pupils to develop life skills and confidence while being encouraged to undertake personal care tasks.

The inspector said that the experiences and progress of the children had been “outstanding”, adding: “Children continue to make excellent progress, and, for some children, this has been life-changing.”

Principal Kate Landells and vice-principal Louisa Burden with staff and students
Principal Kate Landells and vice-principal Louisa Burden with staff and students

Pupils are able to communicate well with staff and family and the school encourages children to “have a loud voice” at the school.

Complaints were “rare”, the report revealed, and during the pandemic staff have been “creative in providing activities and maintaining a clear sense of expectation and routine in the home”.

Home schooling had proved successful for most pupils, the inspector reported, thanks to “tenacious support from staff” who had “taken great efforts to settle children into new education routines”.

The report added that children “enjoy their activities with genuinely enthused, creative and passionate staff.

“Progress reports for children, many of which are captured in video and photographic form, show children thoroughly enjoying every aspect of their lives and making remarkable progress.”

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