INSPECTORS have praised an independent school near Ringwood.

The Independent Schools Inspectorate said teaching at Moyles Court, a charitable trust based at a manor house in a 14-acre woodland estate, was good – particularly for pupils with special educational needs.

At the time of the inspection in November 170 pupils – 93 boys and 77 girls – were enrolled at the school, including 24 pupils aged between three and five. Forty pupils were boarders, and about a third of children were from forces families.

The school says about a third of pupils have special educational needs and/or disabilities, the majority of those having dyslexia.

Inspectors said: “The ability profile of the school is broadly in line with the national average overall, with a wide spread of abilities, and in some year groups, slightly below the national average.

“The overall achievements of the pupils throughout the school are good. They are underpinned by a broad curriculum, a wide choice of extracurricular activities and good teaching.”

The report said the school scored above average results in public exams, and that pupils with special needs “often make rapid progress, due to the excellent support they receive”.

It added: “Teachers demonstrate strong subject knowledge, clear objectives and high expectations, though in a few lessons observed, the pace was pedestrian and there were too few opportunities for pupils to learn independently.”

Inspectors said boarders were well cared for by a “dedicated team of experienced staff”, and that “almost all parents responding to the questionnaire indicated a high level of satisfaction regarding the education of their children”.

Steps had been taken since the last report in 2009 to improve standards of teaching for more able and gifted pupils through planned extension in lessons as well as extra-curricular activities. For instance, computer programming enables advanced skills in computer game design to be developed.

The school’s range of extracurricular activities, including outdoor pursuits, woodcraft, sports and science, chess and cookery also came in for praise.

The report added: “The school has addressed the recommendations of the previous inspection and eliminated unsatisfactory teaching but there is still some teaching that is not yet good.”

But they said: “Pupils’ moral development is strong. A sense of fairness and justice is demonstrated throughout the school.

“Throughout the school, pupils show a high degree of tolerance towards others.

“Bullying is rare and records show it is dealt with effectively.

“Boarders display a good standard of personal development; they present themselves as confident and self-assured young people.

“Relationships are very friendly and supportive, both among the boarders and with the housemothers and gap year students.”

Inspectors also said parents were “thoroughly satisfied with the education provided”.

Headteacher Greg Meakin said: “I thank everyone who has worked so hard and effectively since the last inspection in November 2009.

“The strengths of the school have been identified clearly, with notable progress having been made.”