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Pears Family School rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted

The Pears Family School has once again been rated Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ and praised as a “truly unique school which makes a significant difference to pupils’ lives”.

(image: Headteacher Matthew Hillman)

Founded and sponsored by the Anna Freud Centre, the school is an Alternative Provision for children and their families with emotional and behavioural difficulties. It works with children who have been excluded from mainstream education, providing them with the confidence, educational progress and ambition necessary for a successful reintegration into appropriate full-time education.

Ofsted, England’s education regulator, has once again recognised the school with its highest grade, after its previous ‘Outstanding’ rating in 2017.  

Matthew Hillman, Headteacher of the Pears Family School, said: “I am of course delighted that the school has once again been recognised as Outstanding. The Pears Family School plays an important role in helping those young people who join us to grow and reach their full potential.

“The report makes it clear how much the inspectors valued the time spent with us in the school, and our staff’s commitment to the care and wellbeing of our pupils. I am in awe of my staff, whose hard work is rightly recognised through this result.”

Inspectors hailed the school’s work in helping to turn around pupils’ lives, the staff’s high expectations and its work in providing pupils with the knowledge, confidence and skills they need to succeed.

The inspection report commented positively on how staff supported pupils’ mental health and emotional wellbeing to build resilience, confidence and readiness for learning.

The school’s leaders were also commended for their work with families, helping them to support their children at school and at home, and the report recognised how highly the school and its staff are regarded by parents and carers.

The Pears Family School opened in 2014, co-founded by Neil Dawson and Brenda McHugh. It works with pupils aged 5-14.

Neil Dawson and Brenda McHugh, Consultant Family Psychotherapists at the Anna Freud Centre, as well as teachers and co-founders of the Pears Family School said: “We are delighted that the inspector praised working closely and collaboratively with parents and carers in all areas of the school, integrating academic and mental health curricula into powerful drivers for change. This outstanding judgement will be crucial in supporting the dissemination knowledge and skills for parent and carer engagement in mainstream, AP and special schools across the country.”

Ofsted inspectors visited the school in November, holding meetings with the headteacher, deputy headteacher and other senior leaders, as well as those responsible for school governance. They carried out deep dives in reading, mathematics and personal, social, health and economic education, met groups of pupils and observed lessons as part of the inspection.

Read the full report here.