Northampton college for mentally ill teenagers praised by inspectors

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A college in Northampton that educates mentally ill teenagers has gained an outstanding rating from inspectors.

St Andrew’s College, which is part of St Andrew’s Hospital in Billing Road, had been visited in November and a recently-published report shows it was awarded the top grade in every category.

The college’s headteacher, Richard Walker, said: “When students arrive their skill levels are lower than you would expect for their age, sometimes because of years of missed schooling.

“Our aim is to provide outstanding teaching to help them make up for lost time and achieve exceptionally well. As a result they gain a good range of qualifications and make significant progress towards reaching their potential.”

The college was praised for pupils’ achievements and behaviour, quality of teaching and curriculum, management and pupil’s welfare.

The lead Ofsted inspector said in the report: “This school is outstanding because leadership and management are outstanding.

“From the moment a student becomes a member of the college, their knowledge and skills are checked up on carefully and an interesting and highly challenging programme of work is created for them.”

The students live in secure wards and have behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, autistic spectrum disorders and moderate learning difficulties.

They do work for local and national charities, as well as in the hospital cafe and garden, to help their social skills so they are not so anxious in new situations.

Professor Philip Sugarman, chief executive of St Andrew’s Healthcare, said: “Everyone in the charity is 
delighted with the achievements of our young patients and with the sheer quality of the educational care and support.”

Only 15 per cent of independent schools across the UK have gained an outstanding assessment.

Several students completed GCSEs in English, mathematics, statistics, science, information technology, art and PE.

Some students have gained the Duke of Edinburgh Awards with a number achieving the highest Gold award.

Between them they attained accreditation in 722 external exams during the last academic year.