Official government recognition has been given to Progress Schools for its achievements in setting High Wycombe and Chesham learners on the road to employment or into further education.
The vast majority of leavers, according to its latest Ofsted report, have gone to college or begun an apprenticeship. Contributory to this is the “very effective” and personalised careers education and guidance that helps them to take the next steps on the career ladder.
The schools – where pupils have challenging behaviours and need a high level of support with some being diagnosed with attention deficit disorders and autistic spectrum conditions – received an overall Good rating in the report.
Inspectors Caroline Dulon and Mark Cole said Progress Schools chief executive James Madine, headteacher Charlotte Barton and directors were “highly ambitious” for the schools. At the heart of their work, they said, was a commitment to preparing pupils for their next steps and going the “extra mile” to make the best impact on the future lives of their young people.
Staff share these aims and work very well together to build strong relationships with pupils that help them to begin to succeed.
Many described the schools as being “like a family”.
Working towards a range of qualifications, such as functional skills and GCSEs in English, mathematics and information technology, students are highly motivated by lessons in sport and active leisure, child care and health and social care and also achieve BTEC National Diplomas in these subjects.
Last year, almost all pupils achieved qualifications, including those who had only attended school for a short period of time. Staff set high expectations for pupils and are determined that they will achieve as much as possible.
As a result, they are well equipped to move on to a range of apprenticeships and college places once they leave school. Parents and Buckinghamshire County Council, the inspectors added, value how staff ensure that learners are prepared and successful in attending college and apprenticeship interviews.