A SPECIAL school which aims to give youngsters 'the best possible second chance' has been judged 'outstanding' following an inspection.

Cribden House Community Special School in Rawtenstall was upgraded from 'good' following a visit by education watchdog Ofsted who praised a 'culture that enables pupils to make excellent academic progress and thrive emotionally'.

The Haslingden Road school has 54 children aged five to 11 on its roll who have social, emotional and mental health difficulties, autistic spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactive disorder. More than half are classed as 'disadvantaged'.

Headteacher Siobhan Halligan, who has been at the school since 2012, said they have increased staffing numbers and their expertise and deliver a range of personalized therapeutic and academic interventions so that the needs of the 'whole child' can be addressed.

She said: "We seek to engage every child with a lively curriculum which includes a wide range of outdoor and sporting activities.

"This means that challenging behaviours of the past become exemplary behaviours within our setting.

"Many of our children and their families have had negative experiences of school life and so we strive to offer the best quality education we can to allow them the best possible second chance.

"Our motto is 'We will either find a way or make one'."

Staff also deliver outreach work in mainstream schools with pupils at risk of exclusion.

Ofsted inspector Jean Robinson described the teaching, learning and assessment as 'outstanding' and praised the pupils' behaviour as 'exemplary'.

She said: "Class staff know their pupils very well. Staff ensure that pupils know how to demonstrate excellent conduct. Consequently, pupils make the maximum use of learning time.

"Leaders provide a broad, balanced and relevant curriculum that engages and motivates pupils to learn.

"Pupils want to come to school to learn because teaching is highly effective and they know that staff really care for them. Positive relationships are the foundation stone to the school’s success."

Mrs Halligan added: "Our 'Outstanding' judgement has resulted from the efforts and determination of the whole school community. All pupils, parents, carers, staff and governors should be hugely proud of this achievement."