N INDEPENDENT Special School has been ranked 'outstanding' by OFSTED in all areas for the second year in a row. 

Underley Garden at Kirkby Lonsdale caters for pupils aged five-19 with autism, learning difficulties and associated needs. 

The report says: "Leaders and staff share a strong determination that all pupils will achieve their very best. This ambition is realised. Pupils flourish at this welcoming, happy and successful school.

"Underley Garden School is like a caring family. Pupils benefit from the warm and friendly relationships that they have with staff. New pupils settle very quickly, making friends."

The Westmorland Gazette: April Boyd is the headteacher of Underley GardenApril Boyd is the headteacher of Underley Garden

The inspectors praised the school's focus on reading, and that a team of therapists are provided to identify the pupils' 'individual social, emotional and learning needs.'

The school democratises decisions to the pupils, as the school council played an active role in deciding changes to the school uniform. 

The inspectors also commended the school for giving 'detailed careers advice, appropriately matched to individual aspirations and aptitudes.' 

Through community outreach projects, the inspectors also said that the 'pupils develop as active and thoughtful citizens, litter picking in the local area and raising funds for charity.' 

The school is specialist, with only 72 pupils currently on roll. However the school is looking to increase the number of pupils to 96 and the OFSTED report said the classrooms had been fitted with additional provision to deal with the expansion. 

April Boyd, the headteacher of Underley Garden School, said: "I am so proud of the staff and pupils. Everything we do at Underley is centred around the children, we want them to happy in their learning environment. 

"This outcome is an accolade to what we do, the dedication and hard work of the staff, the commitment and resilience of the children and the support of the parent and carers. 

"It is a privilege to lead such an amazing group of people and we look forward to continuing our journey."