What others say

What others say


Challenge Partner Review January 2022

Challenge Partners report January 2022


Rights Respecting School Award Visit November 2021

  • Strong pupil voice which has led to changes in school and influenced policy and practice in the local authority and local businesses, impacting on rights beyond the school gates.
  • Pupil voice is now central to the EHCP review process, and the school makes sure this is effective not tokenistic.
  • Good understanding of equity across the school community which ensures that young people are supported in the best ways for them, for example through Emotion Coaching when dealing with behaviour incidents, meaning that positive relationships are underpinned by an understanding of rights.
  • UN Global Goals are driving policy and practice in areas of work across the Ascent Academies’ Trust, including work on sustainability and poverty proofing.

Hope Wood Academy Gold Accreditation Report November 2021


Sixth Form Review October 2021

  • Work is suitably adapted for individual needs and matches the adjustments outlined in plans. Achievements are shared with pupils via individualised profiles in the classrooms.
  • Staff are aspirational for pupils and consistently encourage participation in planned activities as well as encouraging pupils to ‘step up’ to situations which are unusual and unplanned for.
  • On the day of visit, pupils were organising their day out of centre. Pupils are able to think about what they need in order to function within a social situation for example attending an interview for work/college.
  • They understand how they can present themselves at their best and what might be triggers for them and how to regulate their approach to minimise stress.
  • Exercise is well used to maintain activity levels as well as a form of regulation for some pupils. Activities encourage movement and coordination as part of their design.
  • The curriculum is holistic around key themes with the fundamental needs of pupils being golden threads through the strategy.


Durham School Improvement Partner 2021

“Good communication systems are in place so that both children and staff are signposted to the appropriate services”


“The school is using their specialist staffing effectively so that children’s lessons are purposeful and creative”


“The head has been delighted with how the children have made the transition back to school. Children are happy and safe to be back at school”


“Children, despite the circumstances, are rising to the top and taking most things in their stride”


Trust wide QA review Autumn 2020

“Evidence of well-planned reintegration of students and school community following the period of closure due to lockdown”


“A clear system is established for providing students with individualised learning activities for the period of time they are remotely learning”


“The school has creative ways for sharing learning with families and allowing ongoing interactions with students while they are home (e.g. Class Dojo, SharePoint, Social Media)”


“Strong safeguarding measures were put in place during the period of school closure and throughout”


“The positive strategies that the school have been using to support staff wellbeing have continued throughout the closure and in the return to school”


Challenge Partners 2019

“Leaders have a strong shared vision that has high aspirations for young people that is shared and agreed with whole school community. Leaders set priorities, plan and make decisions in the students’ best interests”


“School staff are fully involved in a local authority led, multi-agency and business community initiative to improve the outcomes for all young people and adults with autism across the county. Staff work with employers, other schools and medical services to raise awareness and make adjustments to improve the local offer”


“The school has achieved the Gatsby benchmark for careers and has developed a curriculum with a strong emphasis on personal development and citizenship. Students have many opportunities to experience work and adult life, including ‘student take over day’. Students apply for adult roles in the school and experience teaching and running the school. The students’ responses to this experience has clearly shown that they learn and appreciate some of the delights and difficulties of these roles”


“Class teaching teams work well to meet the needs of individuals”


“Leaders plan transition into the school carefully for all new students who arrive into Key Stage 3 or 4. Staff visit students in their homes and previous schools and plan individualised programmes”


“Leaders, working with teachers, have successfully piloted research-based changes in some classroom environments for teaching students with autistic conditions. These include the use of visual support for communication and emotional regulation to provide a model for other staff”


Investors in People 2019

“The academy has high expectations with regard to morale purpose with everything centred around pupils – curriculum, progress, attendance, leaders, staff”


“Roles are created where the leadership team recognises people’s strengths as “change champions”


“The leadership team have a good knowledge of where the academy is at and where the academy is headed”


“There is a clear leadership structure in place, which includes the senior leadership team, the middle management team and subject leadership. Since the last Investors in People review three years ago, there has continued to be changes within the senior leadership team, but with more stability within the last year”


“A welcoming environment has been created, again highlighted in the Ofsted report and observed by the practitioner. In reception, there are a number of positive comments from parents and pupils and a comments book is available for visitors. The general observation during the tour of the academy was that people welcomed the practitioner into classroom areas and a number of people were very supportive in accompanying the practitioner around the academy”


“People recognise values. They described them in terms relating to outcomes for pupils and students, with a clear emphasis on support to each individual to achieve their potential”


Ofsted 2018

“School leaders and trustees are highly effective and very ambitious”


“Behaviour around school and in classrooms is outstanding. Pupils respect all members of the school community. They are polite, welcoming and kind”


“The school is a very safe and welcoming place. Pupils love attending school”


“The school’s curriculum is well planned and structured to meet the pupils’ needs”


“Relationships between staff and pupils are exceptional. Pupils grow in confidence. Their ability and willingness to interact with others increases greatly”


“School leaders and trustees continue to be uncompromising in their vision that pupils will achieve their best”


“The headteacher tackles all areas for improvement with gusto. She does not shy away from difficult conversations. She acts swiftly and positively on decisions that will improve the school”


“Staff encourage pupils to communicate using their chosen method. Pupils respond well to adult instructions”


“Teaching assistants are highly skilled. They support the learning and pastoral needs of pupils effectively”


Rights Respecting School Award visit 2018

“The RRSA Leadership team at Hope Wood have prioritised and made clear their commitment to a rights-based approach with staff and pupils. Their rights respecting work is high profile on the school website, sharing recent themed days such as Student Take Over Day (promoting pupils’ rights to an education and a voice), Get Outside Day and World Refugee Day. This enables families, spread widely across the county, to access and support their child’s rights-based education”


“There are individualised and wider opportunities for pupils to learn about rights”


“Hope Wood staff put pupils’ rights at the centre of their work and uniquely encapsulate this in the school’s mission statement, ‘…where children can flourish because their rights, needs and aspirations are met.’ Pupils in the discussion group were able to explain how staff ensure their rights, for example, to be safe, by making sure they were transported in taxis with approved escorts, and that visitors were accompanied in the building”


“Staff treat their pupils with respect and dignity, ensuring that those without verbal communication have every opportunity to use available alternate methods, such as signing, assistive technologies and especially skilled staff”


“There are clear mechanisms for pupils at Hope Wood to influence their life and education at school”


“Pupils’ independence and work skills are supported in ways which enable them to start understanding sustainability, for example, work experience for post-16 pupils includes upcycling used furniture and lessons in using public transport. One pupil was able to recall that we need to ‘reduce, re-use, recycle’”