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Island Learning Centre: Ofsted Praises Promising Signs But Improvement Still Sought

(c) Island Learning Centre

Ofsted inspectors have highlighted areas a ‘Good’ Isle of Wight pupil referral unit could improve.

It follows an inspection of the Island Learning Centre (ILC) by the government’s education watchdog.

This inspection will not change the school’s Ofsted rating as it is not an official ‘graded’ inspection, but it was the first time Ofsted had visited since it was judged to be ‘Good’ in 2018.

Inspectors said the school continues to be ‘Good’ but from what they had seen if they were to carry out an inspection to rate the school now, the “inspection grade might not be as high”.

Overall pupils are positive about attending the ILC and like the small class sizes, which help to maintain a calm and purposeful atmosphere.

In their report, the inspectors said:

“The school is keen for pupils, who all have special educational needs, to do well. However, these ambitions are not fully realised in practice.”

As a result, pupils sometimes achieve well but it is not consistent across different subjects of year groups.

The ILC offers alternative education provision for 80 children and teenagers who have been permanently excluded and those who are too medically unwell and emotionally vulnerable to attend mainstream schools.

Inspectors say pupils welcome the support from and respond well to staff, appreciating how they are listened to and their potential nurtured.

The interim headteacher, who joined the ILC in June 2023, has empowered staff, inspectors said, to begin to address weaknesses in the school.

Pupils’ attendance has improved considerably but remains too low, inspectors said, but new leaders are working to address this so more pupils receive a full-time education when they join the school.

Support for weaker readers is underdeveloped and the ILC should ensure additional support is strengthened and suitable books are available.

The ILC has established a coherent curriculum, inspectors said, but it is ‘inconsistently implemented’ and pupils do not achieve well consistently.

The management of behaviour is not yet fully consistent, and on occasion some pupils’ behaviour disrupts learning, but the school has established clear expectations for pupils’ conduct.

The ILC has been contacted for comment on the recent Ofsted visit.

The ILC has undergone changes in recent months after the Isle of Wight Council removed primary school-aged pupils from the unit.

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