Praise from Ofsted for Thrive School of Excellence

A Weston-super-Mare school has been named as a School of Excellence and praised by Ofsted for the role it plays in supporting the wellbeing of its pupils in order to build resilience and help prevent mental health issues.    

 Voyage Learning Campus is a pupil referral unit that offers alternative educational provision for young people aged 5 to 16 who are unable to attend mainstream school due to either health reasons or because they have been permanently excluded. It has provision for up to 120 pupils and is based across two sites in Baytree Road and Oldmixon Crescent. The setting has been named as a School of Excellence after going through a rigorous assessment process with Thrive®, an organisation which trains teachers and other education professionals to support the social and emotional development of children and young people.  

 Principal Emma Gundry said: “We are very proud to have been designated a School of Excellence for Thrive. Thrive has had a hugely positive impact across our school in supporting the wellbeing of all our young people. Many join us with a negative experience of education; our work focuses on building trusted relationships to change those feelings and help children achieve more than they believe is possible. Thrive is a fundamental part of our ambition to ensure children succeed both academically and socially. We see real impact every day in how our children engage with each other and the adults working with them. We were also delighted that during our recent Ofsted inspection, inspectors commented on our positive relations and the impact these have in helping our students.” 

 The award recognises extraordinary schools which are making a positive impact on their pupils, and on the wider community, by prioritising emotional wellbeing. The School of Excellence award is the highest level of achievement in Thrive’s Ambassador Schools scheme, which was launched last year as a way of recognising excellence in member schools. There are five areas in which schools can evidence how they use Thrive to support children’s social and emotional development: Environment, Leadership, Right-time, Reparative and Relationship, with the School of Excellence award reserved for schools that achieve the highest standard across all five categories.   

 As well as submitting an in-depth evidence and impact application form, the school was visited by Thrive staff to observe and assess the way that teachers and other staff implement the Thrive Approach to help build the emotional resilience of children— so they can better manage the ups and downs of life and be more open to learning. The award coincides with the Voyage Learning Campus receiving a glowing Ofsted report. As well as being awarded a rating of Good once again, Ofsted inspectors highlighted the school’s good practice around behaviour and wellbeing. 

 The report said: “There has been a shift in culture to impact on pupils’ behaviour. This is improving behaviour over time as it becomes more embedded and widespread. Staff show empathy towards pupils and support them to positively re-engage when managing dysregulated behaviour. The work already done in this area is reflected in how pupils interact with adults and each other.” 

 “Voyage Learning Campus has embedded mental wellbeing at heart of school life and it has achieved some inspirational changes as a result. Relationships between staff and pupils are incredibly strong and it has created a culture of wellbeing that means young people feel calm, emotionally-regulated and ready to learn. It is wonderful to see that these changes have been recognised by Ofsted. The school richly deserves both this praise from inspectors and its School of Excellence Award,” said Eva-Marie Ford, Relationship Manager and Trainer for Wales and the South West. 


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