An all-boys school for teenagers with special needs has been rated ‘good’ by Ofsted.

Aurora Woodlands, an independent school in Holly Tree Close, Darwen, was described by inspectors as a "happy and welcoming place".

The school, which provides specialist education for boys with Social, Emotional and Mental Health difficulties, is open to boys between 10 and 19.

Headteacher Sarah Gregory said she was delighted Aurora Woodlands received the 'good' rating across all the Ofsted assessment criteria of leadership and management, quality of education, personal development and behaviour and attitudes.

She said: “The nine months since I arrived at Aurora Woodlands have been an absolute joy – with every member of the school family working incredibly hard every day.

“It was a very special moment to read our Ofsted report and see the commitment and passion of the team being recognised.

“With a growing number of students, some fantastic new elements to our therapeutic offer and a broad, inspiring curriculum for everyone, I have no doubt we'll continue to deliver a first-class education to the incredible young people that we serve."

The pupils enjoy access to a range of specialist on-site facilities - as well as a school therapy dog which Ofsted noted helps to keep them calm.

Keira Delaney, from Bury, is the mother of Callum Blackburn, aged 11, who started at Woodlands last year after spending his primary years in mainstream education. 

She said: “Woodlands has honestly been a lifesaver for us, it’s really changed everything.

“Callum has severe learning difficulties and was so traumatised after being locked in seclusion rooms at his previous school.

“He spent 13 months out of education, and we thought we'd have to teach him at home for the rest of his life.

"When we went to look around Woodlands, he was really nervous about going back into a school environment but after he met Margot the dog, he loved it straight away.

“It’s so nurturing and inclusive and it filled us with confidence. I’m just so grateful we’ve got him back into education, it’s such a relief as a parent.”