UPLANDS School was rated as outstanding after their latest Ofsted inspection, despite the introduction of tougher crtieria to make the grade.

The school, in Tadpole Lane, works with children with a variety of complex needs and improved from a ‘good’ rating following the latest inspection.

Deirdre Fitzpatrick, operational headteacher at the school, said: “Under the existing framework it is much more difficult to get an ‘outstanding’ grading.

“It’s great news for the students and for all the staff who have worked so hard.”

Inspectors graded the school ‘outstanding’ in all four areas they judged; the achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils, and leadership and management.

The only improvement suggested in the report was to develop stronger links with businesses to widen work-related opportunities for older students.

Jackie Smith, executive headteacher at the school, said despite this, Uplands already had established ties with local businesses to help secure their students’ working futures.

She said: “We already work closely with businesses in the area.

“Our students live in the community and so being out in the community is important.

“I would say that we are arguably better than mainstream schools in Swindon in making sure our students are prepared for work.”

In the report, inspectors said: “In this happy and welcoming school, students including sixth formers make outstanding progress.

“They achieve highly and so are prepared very well for each stage of their learning.

“Behaviour is outstanding. Students are proud of their school.

“Motivated by the high expectations of staff, students from different starting points make rapid progress and achieve very well including in English and mathematics.

“Students on the learning mentor programme make rapid gains in achievement and attendance because of high levels of individual attention and relevant activities including work experience.

“The behaviour of students is outstanding. Students showed a love of learning which powerfully influences their progress.

“Asked what would improve the school, one student suggested, ‘more lessons’.

“The skills of the executive headteacher and the operational headteacher make a powerful combination, complemented by the cohesive senior leadership team.”

To read the report for yourself, visit www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/126555.