Abbey Court Foundation Special School


Name Abbey Court Foundation Special School
Website http://www.abbeycourt.medway.sch.uk
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 24 October 2012
Address Rede Court Road, Strood, Rochester, Kent, ME2 3SP
Phone Number 01634338220
Type Special
Age Range 3-19
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 166 (67% boys 33% girls)
Percentage Free School Meals 17.2%
Percentage English is Not First Language 19.3%

Information about this school

Abbey Court is based on two sites, some 12 miles apart. The Rainham site provides for Early Years Foundation Stage, infants and juniors. The Strood site provides for secondary and students aged 16 to 19. Currently, the school has more than its official capacity of 150 places. Pupils have severe learning difficulties or profound and multiple learning difficulties as their main need. Some have additional needs such as visual impairment, hearing or sensory impairment, severe autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) and physical disability. A few have life threatening medical conditions. All have statements of special educational needs. The school continues to experience a shift in the complexity of levels of need, including severe challenging behaviours. A minority of pupils require a minimum of full time one-to-one staff support to meet their needs. Currently, the large majority of pupils are boys and most are of White British heritage. A few have English as an additional language. The proportion known to be eligible for the pupil premium (extra money provided to schools by the government for students looked after by the local authority and for those eligible for free school meals) is well above the national average. The school has specialist school status for cognition and learning and has gained numerous awards for different aspects of its work and provision. Most recently, it has received the British Council’s International School Award in recognition of its involvement in global activities.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is an outstanding school. Pupils make outstanding progress, particularly in literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology (ICT). Those with speech, language and communication needs make significant strides in developing and improving their communication skills through signing, the use of picture symbol cards and the use of a range of new technologies. Children attending the part-time sessions in the Early Years Foundation Stage make excellent progress, which prepares them for learning and enables them to proceed successfully to the next stage of their education. The outstanding sixth form provision enables older students to continue their seamless progress through the school and achieve nationally recognised qualifications. They improve their independence and social skills and this prepares them successfully for life beyond the school. As a result of a robust and sustained focus on improvement by the senior leadership team since the previous inspection, the quality of teaching across the school is now outstanding. Other strengths of the school’s work identified at the last inspection have been sustained and further improved. Pupils’ attitudes to learning and behaviour are excellent, which is a result of highly effective class management by teachers and other adults supporting in the classrooms. Pupils told the inspectors that they are safe and well looked after, which is further confirmed by the school’s own surveys, which are carried out regularly. The headteacher’s inspirational leadership of the school, together with the support of her highly effective senior leadership team, ensures the school meets fully its vision and aims and lives up to its motto, ‘We grow people’. The highly experienced governing body is outstanding in its role as a critical and supportive friend and successfully ensures the school is financially stable.