A SPECIAL needs school branded as “inadequate” by inspectors just 18 months ago has had its status raised by two categories following a major turnaround at the site.

Darlington’s Beaumont Hill Academy – which schools 266 children with complex needs aged two to 19 – was placed into special measures following an Ofsted inspection in spring 2017.

Staff, governors and pupils at the school have since worked tirelessly to boost leadership, quality of learning, behaviour, pupil outcomes, Early Years provision and 16 to 19 study programmes.

Ofsted inspectors carried out three monitoring visits as part of their special measures ahead of a full inspection before Christmas.

A report detailing improvements at the school has been published this week, with inspectors particularly praising the academy’s leaders and governors working together.

Inspectors observed lessons, talked to senior staff, teachers, governors, parents and pupils in a comprehensive review of every aspect of life at Beaumont Hill, part of the Education Village Academy Trust (EVAT).

Ofsted lead inspector, Marian Thomas, stated: “Pupils greet visitors in a kind and courteous manner. The inspection team saw many occasions where pupils stopped to open doors and held them open while other less ambulant pupils passed through.

“This demonstrated pupils’ understanding of the importance of helping others and behaving well.

“Since the last inspection, there has been a reduction in the number of incidents of difficult behaviour recorded.

“No exclusions have been recorded this term and the number of pupils excluded overall has declined each year. This is clear evidence of a sustained improvement in pupils’ behaviour overall.”

The Ofsted inspection team took into account the views of 30 parents who completed an Ofsted online questionnaire, or met with inspectors at the start of the school day.

EVAT chief executive, Mike Butler, said: “Everyone was stung by the previous inspection findings but they have all responded incredibly well.

“The result is that Beaumont Hill Academy is better than ever before and will continue to work without respite to ensure the very best outcomes for all its pupils."