Columbia Grange School in Washington celebrates outstanding Ofsted with spooktacular Halloween party

A school welcomed children and parents to a spooktacular Halloween party to celebrate the school’s Outstanding Ofsted judgement.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 1:11 pm

It’s the fourth consecutive time Columbia Grange School in Washington, which specialises in supporting children on the autistic spectrum and with other specific learning needs, has been given the highest possible accolade by Ofsted.

However, despite the inspection taking place last year, the school has been unable to celebrate with the children due to the impact of the pandemic – a situation which as also seen the last two Halloween parties cancelled.

Deputy headteacher, Rosie Walker, said: “We were delighted with the report, particularly the part which said “pupils’ learning, welfare and happiness are at the heart of Columbia Grange School” - this is fundamental to what we do.

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The Grim Reaper and wicked witch, AKA teacher and higher level teaching assistant Gavin Briggs and Dawne Taylor, along with (left to right) Crystal Sinnott, 8, Maddison Sinnott, 11, and Ava Sinnott, 8.

"However we’ve not been able to celebrate this with the children nor the work carried out here by the previous headteacher, Lesley Mavin, who has now left the school.

"The Halloween party is one of the children’s favourite events but has been cancelled consecutive years due to Covid. We thought what better way to celebrate the report and the return to normality for the children than with our Halloween party.”

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The event saw children dressed in a range of ghoulish costumes including witches, skeletons, vampires and a selection of characters from the Addams family – all in the hope of winning the Best Dressed prize.

Families experience a scary story in the hobbit house.

As well as enjoying the Halloween themed disco, children were also able to take part in a spooky walk led by the Grim Reaper – AKA teacher Gavin Briggs – which culminated in a scary story in the hobbit house read by the wicked witch, otherwise known as teaching assistant Dawne Taylor.

Ava Sinnott, eight, dressed as a witch, said: “It has been lots of fun and I really enjoyed the scary story. I’m looking forward to getting my hot dog.”

Reece Laverick, nine, dressed as a pumpkin, added: “It was lots of fun getting dressed up. My favourite part of the night was the spooky walk.”

Mum, Linsey Laverick, 38, who’d taken on the role of the Evil Queen, said: “This has been in the pipeline for a long time and is a massive part of Halloween for the children. Reece was really disappointed last year when it was cancelled.”

Reece Laverick, 9, dressed as a pumpkin, with mum, Linsey Laverick, 38, dressed as the Evil Queen.

A key feature of the party was also celebrating the return of communal events in which the children, staff and families can come together following the easing of Covid restrictions.

Chris Melville, 42, who attended with son Alfie, said: “It makes such a difference for Alfie to be able to come out and do something social. It’s a brilliant event and he was so excited to come along.”

Alfie, nine, who was dressed as a devil, added: “I’m really excited and the best bit was the spooky walk.”

Alfie Meliville, 9, dressed as a devil alongside dad Chris Melveille, 42.

The party was also an opportunity for families to welcome new headteacher, John Line, who took up the position in September.

Mr Line said: “Tonight is about celebrating four consecutive Ofsted judgements but it’s also about reconnecting with families after Covid, many of whom have felt isolated during the pandemic.

"The report highlighted how parents feel staff treat their children with kindness and respect and ‘go above and beyond’. The Halloween Party is very much a symbol of this.”

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New headteacher, John Lines.
Deputy headteacher, Rosie Walker, and School Promotion Lead, Karen Bowman, get into the Halloween party spirit dressed as witches.