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Ofsted & Challenge Partners


Willow Dene was inspected by Ofsted in November 2022. We were delighted and proud to have been graded 'Outstanding', in a report that recognises the strength and dedication of the whole team at Willow Dene and the ‘exceptional’ provision we offer for children and families.

Ofsted Report Quotes - November 2022

Pupils thrive and excel at this exceptional school. Leaders and staff have very high expectations for all pupils. They work hard to make sure that learning is fun and that lessons capture the interests of pupils.

Behaviour at the school is exemplary. It is a calm and orderly environment for everyone.

Leaders know their pupils well.  They have ensured that the curriculum is ambitious and specialised. The expertise of therapists is woven through the school day.

People show how much they like coming to school in the happy way that they arrive in the morning. Relationships between adults and pupils are a strength of the school.


Click here to view the Ofsted Parent View Portal

Challenge Partners

What is Challenge Partners?

The Challenge Partners multi-academy Trust Peer Review (TPR) enables development and improvement in host Trusts through challenge and collaboration. It provides reviewers with unique insights to support their own Trust’s development, and helps share knowledge about what works across the education system so all can benefit.

The Trust Peer Review:

  • Evaluates the Trust on its own terms
  • Is sharply focused on school improvement and the impact the Trust has on outcomes
  • Captures and shares effective practice
  • Identifies areas for improvement
  • Provides input on key challenges facing the Trust
  • Is expert-facilitated
  • Is done with, not to, the host Trust
  • Provides powerful CPD and insight for reviewers, which benefits their own Trusts
  • Builds evidence of what works in Trust school improvement

How it works

Led by an independent expert over three-days, the external review team works with host Trust leaders to build a picture of how school improvement operates across the trust and the impact it is having. This informs professional dialogue about strengths, areas for development and next steps, which are captured in a written report. There is also the opportunity for the host Trust to harness the expertise of their peers to explore a particular challenge they are facing and identify ways forward.

The Trust Peer Review relies on asking powerful, open questions in a spirit of appreciative inquiry and collaboration. We know all Trusts are different and that there is not a single formula for Trust success, so our reviews do not start with a framework or checklist, or otherwise presume to know “the answer”. The review does not check compliance or provide an audit of finance, governance or HR – though we do consider how these important factors contribute to school improvement.

We are delighted to have gone through this process twice now!

Although, to adapt to the disruption of the pandemic this year, in March 2021 we were able to take part in a Virtual Leadership Quality Assurance Review with a particular focus on leadership at all levels.

To access our Challenge Partner Review Reports please clink on the links below: