Darwen Boys’ Specialist School has been rated ‘good’ by Ofsted


A boys-only school for teenagers with special needs has been rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

Aurora Woodlands, an independent school in Holly Tree Close, Darwen, has been described by inspectors as a ‘happy and welcoming place’.

The school, which provides special education for boys with social, emotional and mental health difficulties, is open to boys between the ages of 10 and 19.

Principal Sarah Gregory said she was delighted that Aurora Woodlands had received a ‘good’ rating in all the Ofsted assessment criteria of leadership and management, quality of education, personal development and behavior and attitudes.

She said: “The nine months since I arrived at Aurora Woodlands have been an absolute joy – every member of the school family working incredibly hard every day.

“It was a very special moment to read our Ofsted report and see the commitment and passion of the team being recognised.

“With growing numbers of students, fantastic new additions to our therapeutic offering, and a broad and inspiring program for all, I am confident that we will continue to provide a top-notch education for the incredible young people we serve.”

Pupils have access to a range of specialist facilities on site – as well as a school therapy dog ​​which Ofsted says helps them stay calm.

Keira Delaney, from Bury, is the mother of 11-year-old Callum Blackburn, who started at Woodlands last year after spending her primary years in mainstream education.

She said: “Woodlands has honestly been a lifesaver for us, it really changed everything.

“Callum has severe learning difficulties and was so traumatized after being locked in isolation rooms at his old school.

“He spent 13 months out of school, and we thought we should homeschool him for the rest of his life.

“When we went to visit Woodlands he was very nervous about going back to a school environment, but after meeting Margot the dog he absolutely loved it.

“It’s so empowering and inclusive and it’s filled us with confidence. I’m so grateful we brought him back to school, it’s such a relief as a parent.


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