A "safe and friendly haven" school for pupils at risk of exclusion has been rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted.

Hawkswood Primary Pupil Referral Unit in Antlers Hill, Chingford, first attained an 'outstanding' rating in June 2015 and now has maintained it four years later in a report published on February 6.

The unit serves all primary schools in Waltham Forest, offering short-term intervention for children aged 4 to 11 who are struggling to cope in mainstream school and who are at risk of exclusion.

It also provides longer term, high quality education for pupils aged 7 to 11 who have special educational needs or more severe social, emotional or health issues.

Following the visit to the school on January 15, inspectors Karen Matthews and Francis Gonzalez found the school continues to be outstanding.

Pupil behaviour was highlighted as a major strength at the school because staff are skilfully trained to calm pupils and guide them back to their leaning.

Almost all pupils are successfully re-integrated into mainstream schools, even hard to place pupils, and the school was praised for working with mainstream schools to develop strategies and support which will help pupils to succeed there without coming to Hawkswood Primary PRU at all.

Mr Gonzalez reported that often pupils enter the school with no writing skills but leave being able to write at length due to a substantial push on literacy.

He also praised the "empathetic approach" from staff in dealing with pupils who become discouraged or anxious.

Attendance significantly improved from attendance at previous schools because of strengthened systems around tracking absence and consistently application.

The report said: " Staff know pupils exceptionally well and are able to pick up on even the smallest clues to help avoid problems even before they happen. Parents are pleased with the school’s approach to behaviour, and one parent told me that their child ‘wouldn’t have coped’ without staff’s understanding. Another said that the school has ‘made my son respectable’.

"Pupils are almost always happy and relaxed, and they see the school as a safe and friendly haven. Pupils understand the need to manage their own behaviour, and they are able to reflect on the choices they make. This is because boundaries are consistently applied and expectations are very high.

"Staff see beyond the behaviours, and they do not take things personally, focusing instead on the learning and on supporting one another through open and honest communication.

"The curriculum aims to create a personalised learning experience for all pupils regardless of starting points. Pupils are presented with a range of real-life situations that enable them to transfer and consolidate the skills that they need to thrive in the outside world. Pupils feel that they have access to opportunities that prepare them well for life in modern Britain."

Mr Gonzalez advised that for the future leaders at the school should work more closely with local mainstream schools to create a network of local providers that responds to current and predicted needs, and maintains successful reintegration.