A SCHOOL in Newport for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been given a glowing report by Estyn inspectors.

They said Ysgol Bryn Derw was a "highly successful school" and praised the "inspirational leadership" of the headteacher, Richard Drew.

"Ysgol Bryn Derw is a close-knit, nurturing community that provides outstanding care, support and guidance for its pupils," the inspectors wrote in their report. "It has an extremely caring and supportive ethos, which promotes the individual needs of its pupils exceptionally well."

They added: "The school provides exceptional opportunities for parents and carers to support their children’s needs."

Across the five areas of inspection, the Estyn assessors scored Ysgol Bryn Derw as 'excellent' (the highest grade) in four – standards; wellbeing to learning; care, support, and guidance; and leadership and management.

They awarded the second-highest grade, 'good', in the fifth category – teaching and learning experiences.

The inspectors' grades represent a resounding vote of confidence in the school, which opened in September 2017 in the refurbished former Gaer Infant School building.

Speaking to the Argus shortly after it opened, Mr Drew explained the reason why the school's name (it translates from Welsh to 'Oak Hill School') was so significant.

“The governors had this idea of the pupil’s having their autism as an obstacle to success in their life, which is the hill," he said. "The oak tree is them flourishing and growing to them being successful and learning."

“The idea of an autism-specific special base has been something which has been needed in the area for a long time.”

The school is registered to provide education to children aged 3-19, and currently has 69 pupils enrolled.

This inspection, carried out in March, was the school's first.

"In their main findings, the inspectors said: "In the short space of time since joining the school, nearly all pupils exceed their personal targets in social, communication and independence skills and many achieve or do better than expected in their literacy and numeracy skills.

"Considering that the majority of pupils, prior to attending Ysgol Bryn Derw, experienced a variety of challenges in their education, these are highly significant individual personal achievements."

Although the coronavirus outbreak has closed Ysgol Bryn Derw – like schools across Wales – to general teaching, the school said online it was "very proud" of the report, which represented "some positive news at this challenging time".