'Dead wrong': Parents defend Walsall special school over ‘Inadequate’ rating

Shocked parents have leapt to the defence of a Walsall special school after it was awarded the lowest possible ranking by inspectors.

 Mary Elliot Special School in Walsall.
Mary Elliot Special School in Walsall.

They heaped praise on Mary Elliot Special School for the care and support it gives to the children who attend and expressed surprise that Ofsted had rated it as ‘Inadequate’.

Following the inspection in March, Ofsted was critical of the standard of education and the sixth-form provision at the school, resulting in the outcome.

Inspectors did, however, praise the school in a number of key areas such as safeguarding and describing pupils as happy.

The rating left executive headteacher Matthew Ball and chair of governors Lesley Foster devastated but they said they were making continued improvements.

Parents themselves said Ofsted’s evaluation was ‘dead wrong’ and at odds with their own experiences with the school.

One mum, Hayley Unitt, was one of the parents who spoke to inspectors when they visited the school.

She said: “I told them what a fantastic school it is and that my son is very happy there.

“The staff are amazing, nothing is too much trouble and I trust all the staff with him so I don’t know where they got the outcome they have, to be honest.”

Sarah Boulton said: “I was very surprised by their decision. In my opinion, the school is an enormous improvement from when my son first started.

“I cannot praise the staff and head enough for their support and communication and the hard work they all put into the school.”

Anita Dennis added: “My daughter is doing amazing since being at the school. I can’t thank the staff enough for how well she is doing and how much she enjoys coming.”

And Deanna Higgins said: “My son had eight fantastic years at Mary Elliot. He loved the staff and students and was really upset at leaving.

“I have always had great communication with staff and always felt he was safe and happy and came a long way from where he started.

“Now my daughter has started and her teacher and the staff are lovely and she has already settled in great.

“I feel really positive about her future here and Ofsted, in my opinion, were dead wrong.”

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