23rd June 2019

Clare Barden, the Principal of Penwith Alternative Provision Academy, and Helen Casson, who heads Cornwall’s Community and Hospital Education Service (CHES) , have been sent personal letters of congratulation from the Regional Schools Commissioner for the South West Lisa Mannall in recognition of the “Outstanding” quality of education they are providing for their pupils.

Penwith APA and CHES, both part the WAVE Multi Academy Trust which provides high quality education for pupils in Devon and Cornwall who have been excluded from school or who are not in school for medical reasons, were rated as “Outstanding” by Ofsted Inspectors earlier this year.

Now both Principals have received letters by Lisa Mannall praising them for the “exceptional education” they are providing for pupils.

Penwith APA provides education for children who have been excluded from school. The school, which provides 40 places for Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 4 pupils, was inspected by Ofsted Inspectors at the end of January. The report published the following month confirmed that the same outstanding quality of education had been maintained in the school since the last inspection in 2015.

Passing her warmest congratulations to Clare Barden and her staff, Lisa Mannall wrote “To be judged Outstanding for a second time is testament to your passionate and committed staff, culture of high expectations and your relentless drive to provide pupils with an exceptional education.

Endorsing the positive views of Ofsted Inspectors Lisa Mannall said she was pleased to read about the bespoke learning experiences created for pupils, and the focused career support and cultural opportunities which, she said, were enriching pupils’ understanding of the world.  She suggested working with the school to share their experiences with others in the south west.

The letter also highlighted the level of engagement and challenge provided by governors, described as a clear strength, and the support provided by the Wave Multi Academy Trust.

Principal Clare Barden said she was surprised and delighted to receive the letter from the Regional Schools Commissioner. “Receiving an “Outstanding” Ofsted judgement for the quality of education we provide at Penwith earlier this year was fantastic and this letter from Lisa Mannall is a wonderful bonus.

“I am so proud of everyone at Penwith APA - the Vice Principal, staff team, students, parents, support agencies and Governors – for being such a positive force in our community through some challenging times”.

CHES provides education for pupils across the whole of Cornwall who are not in school for medical reasons. Rating the school as “Outstanding, Ofsted Inspectors praised its commitment to providing all its pupils with the best possible chance to continue their education no matter what barriers they face.

In the letter to Principal Helen Casson, Lisa Mannell wrote “ It was inspiring to see reflected in your inspection letter the passion that you and your team bring to improving the life changes of your pupils, alongside the strong support provided by Wave Multi Academy Trust, You have clearly created a safe, nurturing and supportive environment where pupils can learn and grow, both through the curriculum and the range of physical activities you’ve introduced.

“Moreover I was pleased to see that inspectors had recognised the work that you are adapting the curriculum to meet pupils’ complex needs, with teachers working flexibly to ensure that pupils are engaged and achieving well”.

Expressing her warmest congratulations to Helen and her staff, Lisa Mannall said one of her team would be contacting the school to learn more about their work to share with other schools in the region.

Principal Helen Casson said “We were delighted to receive the original Ofsted judgement earlier this year and receiving this letter is the icing on the cake.  It is a great way to end a fantastic  year. Onwards and upwards “.

Wave MAT is the largest Alternative Provision (AP) provider in the South West, with six AP Academies based in Cornwall, three AP Academies based in Devon and the Community and Hospital Education Service (CHES) based across three centres in Devon and Cornwall. 

Wave is also the most successful Alternative Provision MAT in the country by Ofsted outcome, with two of its academies judged as “Outstanding” and the remaining five judged as “Good”.

Chief Executive of the WAVE MAT Rob Gasson said “We are very proud of the fantastic quality of education that we offer to the most vulnerable and challenging pupils in Cornwall and Devon.

“The Ofsted findings demonstrate the results of the hard work of our staff , pupils and wider stakeholders, and I am delighted that our achievements have been recognised by the Regional Schools Commissioner.

Wave has also been commissioned by Cornwall Council to provide education services for children and young people while they are receiving specialist treatment at Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s new child and adolescent mental health unit “Sowenna” which is currently being built on the Bodmin Hospital Site.


Penwith APA Ofsted report findings:

The Ofsted report praised the way in which the curriculum is shaped to meet the needs of pupils and the focus on preparing pupils for their lives beyond school, with opportunities to learn in a variety of settings beyond school.  “There are interesting experiences built into pupils’ learning, including opportunities for music, horse riding and surfing.  As a result pupils can find new areas to fit in, they start to see successes and this motivates them to achieve even more They make good progress and are well equipped for their return to mainstream”. 


CHES Ofsted findings

Highlighting the school’s flexible approach and the positive way staff worked with families, local schools and colleges, partner agencies and the hospital to provide the best possible education for pupils and to keep them safe, Inspectors also commended the leadership team’s rigorous approach to school improvement and belief that there was always more that could be done to enhance the school so that it provided  the very best for pupils, concluding “For you, good enough is simply not good enough!” 

The report also praised the wide and varied curriculum, with pupils provided with opportunities to engage in physical activities in a local outdoor activity centre, with practical subjects such as art and science taking place in hubs based in local colleges and health centres. Inspectors also commended the strong relationship with parents and carers, with one parent telling Inspectors ‘Staff work beyond the call of duty; their skill is phenomenal. The school is a lifeline for my daughter.’

23 June 2019