A SCHOOL is celebrating a top class report from the Government’s education watchdog.

The Oaks Secondary School, in Spennymoor, has been rated outstanding by Ofsted for a third time in a row after also achieving the top grade in 2010 and 2013.

Following an inspection in February, the special school was judged to be outstanding in every aspect.

Inspector George Gilmore said the curriculum is regularly reviewed to meet the needs of all pupils- many with complex needs, autism or mental health problems.

Educational visits, afterschool clubs and dance, drama and cultural activities enrich the curriculum and children are well prepared for post-school education, employment or training.

Teachers were seen to be effective, knowledgeable and happy and proud to work there.

Governors- shared with Evergreen Primary School in Bishop Auckland- were said to be ambitious, proud and skilled.

And the local authority values The Oaks work so highly it has supported other special schools.

A survey of parents found they would recommend The Oaks to other families as they feel children are safe, well looked after and that the school has improved their child’s behaviour, learning, social and emotional development, independence and lifeskills.

Pupils were found to be well-behaved, respectful and positive about attending.

Deputy headteacher Helen Crawford said 17 of the region’s 61 special schools are rated outstanding, only six under the new framework. The Oaks, with 263 pupils, is the biggest.

Executive headteacher Andrea English said: “’We are delighted to have received our third outstanding grade from Ofsted, which is a result of the drive, hard work and enthusiasm of pupils, staff, parents and governors.

“Our young people’s achievements are a true credit to the hard work of everyone involved, and we are all very proud of their progress in both academic skills and in their confidence and resilience, which equips them well for the next stages of their lives after school.”

Going forward, the school needs to keep developing the curriculum and accreditation of learning for older pupils and its support for youngsters with mental health needs.