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Good Prospects for special school

An independent school in Wrexham has been praised for its individual support of pupils, but told to provide a more "broad and balanced"

curriculum for its pupils.

Prospects for Young People opened in 1994 as a private school and was approved by the Welsh Assembly for the admission of pupils with special educational needs such as social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.

All pupils live in children's homes provided by the organisation, either on site or at one of a number of homes in the area.

At a recent inspection, Estyn identified shortcomings in some areas of teaching. Despite a new high-quality IT suite, the science and art rooms have no direct water supply, resources are inadequate in some subjects, there is no school library and there are no facilities for PE, said inspectors.

Though pupils develop good standards in most subjects, they are not making enough progress in reading, and a significant number do not develop their handwriting and spelling well enough.

Inspectors also noted frequent changes in timetabling and poor punctuality at the start of the day.

However, the school provides consistently good features of care and support, and was praised for valuing pupils and parents. The staff's "very good knowledge and understanding of the individual needs of pupils" was also singled out. The achievement of learners and the effectiveness of teaching, training and assessment both scored a grade 3 where good features outweighed shortcomings.

"In 70 per cent of lessons, teachers have high expectations of pupils'

learning and support their understanding in a positive way," said Estyn.

The school was also praised for its recent take-up of environmental science as part of an objective to achieve "eco school" status. But there were weaknesses in providing learning experiences that met the needs of the wider community.

Pupils are not able to benefit from work experience because of too few links with employers, and there are not enough opportunities to "develop spiritually by reflecting on their own and other people's lives".

Estyn also found three areas where the school does not comply with regulations for registration, and asked for an action plan.

Paul Darley, head, said: "We have addressed key points. Overall we were happy with the report - especially with the high standards of our teaching."

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