Washington school offers ‘exceptional’ care, says Ofsted inspector

MP Sharon Hodgson (left) and governor Harry Trueman (second right) joined staff and pupils from Columbia Grange School in Washington to celebrate its @Outstanding@ ofsted score.

MP Sharon Hodgson (left) and governor Harry Trueman (second right) joined staff and pupils from Columbia Grange School in Washington to celebrate its @Outstanding@ ofsted score.

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A SURPRISE visit by Ofsted inspectors didn’t catch out a Wearside school which was declared “outstanding” for the second time.

Columbia Grange School, in Washington, which caters for primary-aged youngsters with autism, never fails to impress visitors and the Ofsted inspectors were no different, giving it outstanding in each category.

Katherine Elliott, headteacher at the Oxclose Road school, said everyone was thrilled with the report.

She said: “It was a complete shock when they said they were coming because we weren’t expecting them for another two years, so they took us by surprise.

“We were absolutely delighted with the report, but I’m not surprised by it because I have the most brilliant, dedicated staff you could get.

“They work far above and beyond the call of duty and it is phenomenal the work they do with our children.

“We do what we know is best for our children and their needs and clearly the inspectors agreed with us.”

In their report, the inspectors said: “Columbia Grange provides an outstanding quality of provision and care and ensures predominantly excellent outcomes for all pupils from the exceptional Early Years Foundation Stage through to the time they leave the school.

“The school cares for its pupils exceptionally well. It has excellent relationships with parents and carers who are highly appreciative of the school’s supportive and caring ethos.

“Adults fully understand pupils’ specific needs, then plan and teach lessons that meet them.

“Staff have further honed the curriculum to ensure it is interesting, innovative and acutely focused on the distinct needs of the pupils it serves.”

Sharon Hodgson. MP for Washington and Sunderland West, went along to the school to congratulate the children and staff on their success.

She said: “As a local MP it was great to visit Columbia Grange, and it was obvious from what I saw of the passion and skill of the staff, and the range and quality of the facilities they have, why they were praised so highly by Ofsted.

“As Shadow Minister for special educational needs it was also a very useful opportunity for me to discuss the Government’s proposals on the future of provision for the children who go to Columbia Grange with the professionals who are at the front line.”