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Ofsted inspectors praise National Star College

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: August 03, 2012

HAPPIER: Taylor Westlake, 19, from Cheltenham

HAPPIER: Taylor Westlake, 19, from Cheltenham

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OFSTED inspectors have praised the National Star College for its "exemplary" partnership work in Gloucestershire.

The inspectors, who ranked the college as outstanding, highlighted its strong relationship with businesses, community groups and the local authority.

Among those to enjoy life with the school is 19-year-old Taylor Westlake.

When she arrived at the National Star College three years ago, she was shy and hardly spoke.

Now the 19-year-old is confident, gregarious and loves to joke and laugh. Speech and language therapy and physiotherapy have helped Taylor develop her confidence and her skills to become independent.

"I was quieter when I first came to the college," she said. "Now I don't shut up."

When Taylor was nine, she had a cerebral haemorrhage. She almost died and spent 18 months in hospital.

When she was released from hospital, she moved in with foster parents, then three years ago started at the National Star College as a day student.

In the last three years, she has tried abseiling and zip wires, and has completed her Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. Her ambition was to become more independent, and now she can do the washing, ironing and cooking.

She is now looking ahead to her future and said: "I would love to work with animals – a bit like Dr Dolittle. I've loved my time at the National Star College."

Her foster mother Janette Coles said the college was "such an amazing place".

She said: "Since attending the National Star College, she has come on in leaps and bounds."

Kathryn Rudd, principal of the National Star College, said: "Our vision is for people with disabilities to realise their potential as equal and active citizens in control of their lives.

"These are not just words, our staff, in all they do, work in partnership with students to enable them to achieve their goals.

"We could not do that without the great partnerships we have in the county.

"It is only through those that we are able to provide our students with such extensive opportunities in the local community."

Education inspectors ranked the college as outstanding, praising its "exceptional specialists care and support" and its "outstanding value for money".

OPINION, P8

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