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AET’s Ridge Academy becomes “Centre of Excellence”

posted Jun 27, 2018, 12:18 AM by Nicholas Basson   [ updated Jun 27, 2018, 12:18 AM ]

A Cheltenham special school, which accommodates some of the most challenging and disadvantaged children in Gloucestershire and beyond, has achieved a highly prestigious award for raising standards in education and behaviour leading to students making 'astonishing progress.'

Part of the AET network of schools, The Ridge Academy, a special school for 50 children with social, emotional and mental health needs, has become a 'Centre of Excellence' joining an elite group of 240 schools across the country holding the Inclusion Quality Mark award.

Assessors noted that:

  • Teachers and teaching assistants never give up on the children and always patient and calm with them. 
  • Experienced staff create a gentle, welcoming and safe place for these children to come to and be personally nurtured as well as educated. 
  • Good, reliable relationships help children to feel secure and are the key to the school's success with its pupils. Many staff stay at the school for many years, developing warm and constructive relationships with families. 
  • Previously excluded Year 6 children are helped to return to take their SATS tests, and are given every support to make this transition smooth and successful. 
  • Every opportunity is found to praise and celebrate success; children in class are thanked for behaving well with certificates and rewards presented and displayed around the school. 
  • Relationships with parents and carers are praised in a school with a genuinely family atmosphere. Among their comments are: 
    • "No other school could manage my child's behaviour like this one." 
    • "The core of what happens here is phenomenal." 
    • "I don't think this school could be improved."

The impact that staff at The Ridge Academy has on other schools in Gloucestershire, as well as nationally through AET is also highly commended. Because of this, many children in danger of exclusion have been able to remain in their mainstream schools. The Ridge works very closely with AET and benefits from extensive special needs expertise.

Pete Hales, Principal at The Ridge Academy, said: "The Ridge Academy has been on a journey for a number of years and we have achieved a major goal in becoming a Regional Centre of Excellence. I hope now we can use this to support more children at The Ridge, across Gloucestershire and within AET. I would like to thank all the dedicated staff at The Ridge because without their commitment this would not be possible.”

Julian Drinkall, CEO for Academies Enterprise Trust, said: "This is an excellent and thoroughly deserving commendation for Mr Hales and his team who are transforming the lives of so many children, including beyond the boundaries of their own school. They are a credit to their town and county and an invaluable asset within the AET national academy network."