A SCHOOL in Newport has been praised for having a clear vision to become a ‘nurturing school’ which keeps pupils at the heart of everything they do.

Ysgol Tŷ Monmouth, a school located on Bassaleg Road in Newport, has received glowing praise for how staff are trained and how this translates to learning experiences for the pupils and their progress.

In their most recent Estyn report, the inspector praised the staff's ability to develop "effective working relationships with pupils" based on an understanding of emotional and additional learning needs.

The report outlined how staff are given the tools they need to do their job with "valuable professional learning" which pupils respond to in a positive way. This not only helps them to settle into the school but helps them to feel safe and secure.

Class sizes

The school can take on a maximum of 23 pupils aged between 7 and 16, with additional learning needs. 20 pupils are currently on roll.

The school has a tailored curriculum for pupils who have specific needs relating to autistic spectrum condition.

Class sizes are kept small, with four pupils in each class as a maximum. This is to make sure a minimum of one teacher and one teaching assistant can give tailored support to each pupil. 

Unlike other schools, Ysgol Tŷ Monmouth divides the students into stages instead of year groups to "ensure personal and developmental compatibility between pupils".

'Strong' leadership

The school has only been open since 2022 and inspectors in January were impressed by the school's "strong leadership".

The report highlighted how the curriculum is still being developed for the older students but the school is commended for the progress that nearly all pupils make in core subjects like literacy, numeracy and digital skills.

Read about the school which spent six years in special measures

The biggest success highlighted in the report was improved social skills in pupils.

One contributor to this was the creation of behaviour support plans. For example when pupils were feeling anxious or another 'big' feeling, they were able to express to the adults what would work for them with a range of "symbolised behaviour strategies" if they weren't able to use their words to describe it.

Inspectors said: "Many of the pupils lack the vocabulary to clearly express their feelings to adults, However, across the school, the use of the term ‘big feeling’ is well understood by the pupils.

"This is beginning to lead to improved social skills, stronger relationships between peers and a recognition that other people have ‘big feelings’ too. Talking about ‘big feelings’ is beginning to have a positive impact on pupils’ mental health, tolerance of others and overall well-being."

Another school in Gwent was praised for exceptional student wellbeing.

Ways to improve

The school has been given three ways to improve, which are:

  • To streamline their processes for quality assurance and improvement planning to focus more on teaching and pupil progress

  • To continue to develop the curriculum and vocational learning opportunities to support pupils to follow their desired learning pathways

  • To make sure that learning activities consistently challenge all pupils to make good progress

School information

Ysgol Tŷ Monmouth is administered by the Phoenix Learning and Care group, and this is the company’s first school in Wales. It is part of the portfolio of Ashridge capital, a private equity investment company.

The school provides a tailored curriculum for pupils who have specific needs relating to autistic spectrum condition (ASC). The pupils are placed by local authorities in Wales and England. All pupils have an IDP (individual development plan) or equivalent.

The headteacher has been in post since the school was established in February 2022. The school also has a deputy headteacher, an additional learning needs co ordinator (ALNCo), six teachers, twelve teaching assistants and three therapists