School rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted for being a place where pupils 'thrive'

An independent school in Templecombe has been rated "Outstanding" by Ofsted. Marchant Holliday School, which teaches boys with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs (SEMH), was given a glowing report by inspectors.

Inspectors wrote: "Pupils thrive at Marchant Holliday School. Positive relationships, built on mutual respect and trust, help staff nurture pupils’ self-esteem, talents and interests.

"Skilled staff teach a highly personalised and ambitious curriculum to meet pupils’ special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) exceptionally well. Pupils benefit from an excellent education."

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Students told inspectors they see school as a 'happy' place: "Pupils describe the school as a happy and safe place that helps them learn. Parents and carers recognise the significant impact the school makes on their child’s academic, social and emotional growth.

"Pupils are eager to learn. They talk confidently about the wide range of opportunities available to them."

The report continued: "Pupils know that the school listens and responds to their views. Pupils achieve exceptionally well.

"They leave this school very well prepared for the next stage of their education."

Inspectors were also impressed by the school's curriculum: "The school’s curriculum, teaching and use of assessment information are extremely effective. A rich, varied and well sequenced curriculum makes clear the important knowledge that pupils should know and remember.

"The curriculum is routinely adapted to meet the precise needs of pupils. Staff present new learning clearly."

Staff were praised for how they supported students with complex needs: "The school’s behaviour and personal development curriculum is exemplary. When pupils join the school, they have often missed years of education.

"Therefore, pupils hold negative views of school and themselves. Comprehensive staff training continually improves the learning experience for pupils.

"For example, the school’s therapy team supports teaching staff to develop the skills and knowledge they need to meet the SEMH needs of pupils precisely."

The report continued: "As a result, pupils reach the school’s very high expectations for pupils’ behaviour and attitudes. The number of times pupils need support to manage their emotions and behaviour decreases substantially over time."

Headteacher Mrs Sarah Sellick said: “First and foremost, I wish to say a big thank you to our pupils, families, and our dedicated staff team for all their hard work and support. We aim to provide a secure, caring, and supportive environment in which all children are valued individually, given an equal opportunity to develop a passion for learning and reach their full potential.

"Rightly, the Inspectors recognised the contribution of our wider school community in ensuring our values, culture and ethos are at the heart of The Marchant-Holliday School. We are extremely pleased with our ‘Outstanding’ grade and are excited about our development plans.

"We look forward to a secure future and being able to support more pupils with social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) needs.”

Marchant Holliday School is an independent school which teaches boys with SEMH needs aged between five and 12. There were 50 pupils enrolled at the time of inspection.