A trust which provides specialist education to students with autism and other disabilities has seen all four of its schools achieve a ‘Good’ rating by Ofsted.

Ascent Academies’ Trust has confirmed that Sunderland-based Portland Academy has just achieved the rating, having previously been listed in the ‘requires improvement’ category for some years.

The school provides education for 11-19-year-olds and, under the leadership of headteacher Sharon Common, the team has worked tirelessly to improve standards across the board.

They introduced a series of changes and made improvements in all areas of the Ofsted framework, two of which were rated as ‘outstanding’ by the visiting judges.

Feedback from parents was also highlighted, with many reporting that their children are “happy to be at school as they are well cared for and feel safe” while one parent said, “my child has blossomed in the school’s care”.

Ascent Academies’ Trust CEO Carolyn Morgan said: “This is a great starting point for us to build from, and by working together we can get all our schools to be even better. Every school is unique, but we collaborate on things we know work well and together find solutions to any problems we have.

“We have fabulous expertise across all our schools with a very supportive Board of Trustees and these recent Ofsted ratings put us in a strong position to improve further, providing the best possible learning and social environments for our students.”

The recent inspection by Ofsted comes on the back of the trust’s second Sunderland school, Barbara Priestman Academy, also achieving a ‘good’ rating.

Two further special academies in other local authority areas, Hope Wood Academy in Easington Colliery and Ash Trees Academy, a specialist primary school in Billingham, secured their ‘good’ rating in 2018 after becoming part of the Ascent Academies’ Trust because of their poor state.

Ascent Academies’ Trust provides specialist education to 700 students across the four schools.