(UK) Essex school sees 200% enrollment increase/autism/mental health issues

June 7, 2019, Rotherham Advertiser: Ofsted heaps praise on "inspirational" Abbey School,ofsted-heaps-praise-on-inspirational-abbey-school_32272.htm A SPECIAL school threatened with closure has completed an amazing turnaround by soaring to an “outstanding” rating. Abbey School was only saved from the axe in 2015 following a long campaign by staff and students. But the previously-inadequate school in Kimberworth is now ranked as one of the best in the borough by Ofsted, which found staff and management “share an unrelenting and common focus to ensure that every pupil in school achieves their very best”…. Ms Windle said Abbey was unusual as it had busy, high stimulus classrooms rather than the calmer, low stimulus areas common in special schools. “We like the classrooms to ‘become’ whatever the pupils are learning about,” she said. “You may come in and find children lying on the floor, for example. They choose how they want to learn. “Every child has their own complete pathway through the school…. “We have a lot of great partners, including (training group) Learners First. They say it takes a village to raise a child and that’s certainly the case here at Abbey.”… Ms Thomas noted a mindfulness programme helped ensure children were ready to learn at the start of the day, adding: “Pupils’ well-being is at the heart of all that the school does.” Staff were said to be “exceptionally good” at understanding and addressing the different needs of children with autism or mental health issues…. The pupil roll, which was slashed from 150 to just 60 as part of the deal to keep Abbey open, had risen back to 149 at the time of the inspection, which Nexus MAT chief executive Warren Carratt said demonstrated its success. … “Over the past three years, we’ve seen the school roll increase by over 200 per cent, such is the demand for places. “For a school to grow like this and still maintain its trajectory of improvement is nothing short of remarkable….