“Nationally renowned” Brookside Academy scoops top awards

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A Somerset primary school has claimed two national awards from the prestigious Times Educational Supplement.

Brookside Academy in Street won the Alternative Provision and Community & Collaboration awards at the TES Awards ceremony in London. The awards recognise its great provision for children with complex and profound Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities

TES said that the 30-place specialist provision, which sits alongside a 600-pupil mainstream primary school, is now “nationally renowned” for its “high quality teaching, learning and care”.

The school offers year-round wrap-around and short-break care for children and judges highlighted the distance the school had come from in 2013 when Ofsted said it was not meeting the needs of some pupils with the most complex needs.

It has recently been commended by Ofsted for having “a culture of inclusion throughout the school community”.

As well as expert SEND staff, the restructured site boasts five refurbished classrooms to meet specialist needs and a bespoke sensory room.

The Community and Collaboration Award recognises the way the school has opened its specialist facilities to the local community, providing short breaks for children with profound and complex special educational needs as well as affordable extended school provision.

On top of that, 17 young apprentices from the local area have taken on a variety of roles from teaching assistants to sports and administrative roles.  The school also regularly hosts local pensioners for afternoons of tea and entertainment.

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families said: “: “It is really good to see national recognition of the quality of the provision at Brookside, and the hard work that goes into it.  Congratulations to everyone involved.”

Head Teacher Brian Walton said: “To win these awards our community has needed to be courageous and outward looking. We have needed to be greater in spirit at a time in education where the expectations are higher and budgets are tight.

“I am so proud of the community that is Brookside Academy. I cannot thank enough all those who have supported us and risen above what is expected to ensure that a quality, inclusive education is our primary purpose. These awards belong to the Brookside Community.”