AN INDEPENDENT school in Whitchurch has been praised for the outstanding personal development of pupils who have experienced trauma.

Physis Heathgates Academy has received a glowing report from Ofsted following an inspection February.

Inspectors rated the school ‘outstanding’ for personal development and good across the other three areas – quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, and leadership and management. The overall rating was ‘good’, one step up from the school’s last inspection in 2017 when it was said to require improvement.

Inspectors said: “Support for pupils’ personal development is excellent and integral to the school’s work.

“Teachers make pupils’ mental wellbeing a top priority. Staff work hard to counter the effects of pupils’ past negative experiences.

“The work on dealing with trauma is a unique aspect of the school’s offer.

“Gradually, pupils begin to restore their self-belief and develop their self-esteem. Over time, pupils grow in confidence and become more resilient.”

The report praised headteacher Rebecca Bhageerutty and her staff team for their high expectations and standards, which in turn fostered an ethos of hard work among pupils.

It said: “This school is a safe haven for pupils and offers them a fresh start after challenges in previous settings.

“Pupils learn to value the importance of education. With good support, they work towards achieving their personal goals. They acquire the skills to become more independent and make healthy choices.

“The school provides pupils with hope and alternative pathways to succeed.

“Pupils show enjoyment in their studies. A wide range of learning opportunities capture pupils’ interests.

“Pupils are exceptionally well cared for. The blend of high-quality care and a good education enables pupils to do well.”

The report recommended that non-specialist subject teachers received more training in all subjects they teach, and that literacy skills be applied consistently across the curriculum.