Abbey House School

Name Abbey House School
Ofsted Inspections
Address Hill Top Farm, Sutton Road, HU7 5YY
Phone Number 01482828989
Type Independent (special)
Age Range 7-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 35 (80% boys 20% girls)
Local Authority East Riding of Yorkshire
Percentage Free School Meals 0.0%
Pupils with SEN Support 0%%

What is it like to attend this school?

Horton House School has two sites. Younger pupils attend the site at Wawne. Older pupils attend the Beverley site. Primary pupils like learning new things and most attend school regularly. Pupils who spoke to the inspectors also said they felt safe. Primary teachers understand pupils’ needs and help them to succeed. The curriculum is stronger in the primary years of the school. For example, mathematics books show that pupils use the skills they have learned to tackle new learning.

Older pupils are not as happy and settled at school. Staff who teach older pupils are not always able to say what they want pupils to learn. Many pupils choose not to behave well, and this regularly disrupts the learning for other pupils. Some pupils run around in corridors rather than focusing on their work in classrooms. Secondary school staff are not always effective at calming pupils or helping them to regulate their own behaviour. Secondary pupils often take longer than primary pupils to return to the classroom after breaktime or lunchtime. A small number of pupils spend more time out of the classroom than they do inside it.

Bullying is not always dealt with as well as it could be. A small number of pupils told inspectors that some pupils can be bullies. While staff often sort it out it, sometimes bullying continues.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

The secondary curriculum is not well planned in most subject areas. Pupils find new learning hard because they have not completed previous tasks or retained key knowledge. Few subject areas have a lead teacher or curriculum coordinator to plan the curriculum.

The teaching of reading and mathematics is well planned for primary pupils. This is not the same for secondary-age pupils. Secondary pupils confirmed that they are rarely given encouragement to develop a love of reading or to continue to learn to read. Secondary mathematics books show that pupils do not learn concepts in a logical sequence and that topics are often muddled and disjointed.

The curriculum is not clearly defined. Staff often lack the understanding of what it is they want pupils to learn in each subject. Most have not received enough training or lack experience of teaching pupils. Sometimes, classes are joined together at short notice. Staff then do not know what pupils already know and remember or whether planned learning is relevant to them. During the inspection, there were examples of pupils from different year groups in the same class being given the same task with little guidance. The content did not logically build on prior knowledge for either year group.

Many pupils have gaps in their learning from periods spent away from the classroom. These are rarely taken into account when learning is planned. Staff do not often check on how much pupils understand. This often adds to the frustration that pupils feel at not being successful, and their behaviour deteriorates.

Primary pupils’ behaviour is well managed overall. In the secondary years, staff are not always able to help pupils calm down when they are upset or angry. This often results in pupils’ behaviour getting worse, and they take longer to re-engage with their work. This reduces learning time.

The new leaders agree that this situation is not acceptable and are planning further training for staff, but this has yet to happen. Pupils’ poor behaviour impacts on the learning of other pupils. A small group of pupils told the inspection team that they often prefer it when other pupils are out of the room as they are able to get on with the task in hand. Some staff have developed stronger relationships with pupils. When these staff are teaching, behaviour is better and pupils focus more.

Currently, not all pupils are provided with independent careers advice and guidance. One local authority has contacted the school to arrange support for pupils from their area. Leaders have not ensured that pupils from other local authorities receive appropriate, independent advice and guidance.

The very new leadership team consists of an executive headteacher and a head of school. Both leaders have previous experience in both leadership and working with pupils with social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs. They have a clear vision for the future. They recognise that they need effective staff and resources to realise this vision and bring about improvement to the quality of education within the school.

Secondary staff spoken with during the inspection said that leaders listen to their needs and support them to do their job. Staff have confidence that issues around pupils’ behaviour will be dealt with effectively in the future by the new leaders.

The proprietors have not enabled leaders to bring about improvement. Resources are lacking in many subject areas and there is limited capacity to improve this. This means that pupils do not have the good-quality resources that they need to support the delivery of the curriculum.The proprietors have not ensured that all of the independent school standards are met, including some aspects of fire safety training for staff. The curriculum is not planned and delivered effectively by knowledgeable staff. Behaviour management is weak and pupils’ personal development curriculum does not include access to careers education.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

The school’s designated safeguarding lead (DSL) is experienced and keeps well-ordered records in pupils’ files. The system in school for raising a concern about a child is effective and is clearly understood by both new and longstanding members of staff. All referrals from staff are dealt with quickly, and decisions made are communicated effectively. Records show that the DSL regularly secures the help that children and their families need from outside organisations and partners. Referral notes are meticulously filed and resulting concerns are rigorously followed up.

All of the required checks are carried out before staff are recruited to join the school. Staff undertake regular safeguarding training and know how to recognise and report concerns.

What does the school need to do to improve?

? The secondary school curriculum is not well planned to ensure that pupils gain the knowledge they need over time. Many subjects are not planned or sequenced effectively. Key knowledge is not identified and curriculum delivery is often poor. This reduces older pupils’ opportunities to learn. Many subject areas do not have a curriculum leader. Leaders need to develop the roles of subject coordinators and ensure that curriculum plans for secondary-age pupils are logical and well planned. ? Staff lack the training required to successfully deliver the curriculum to secondary-age pupils. Many staff have poor subject knowledge and lack the skills to teach pupils in this age range. For example, lessons are often disjointed and lack a clear explanation of what it is pupils are expected to learn. Pupils become restless when they don’t understand what they need to do and become disengaged. Leaders need to make sure that teachers are well trained to effectively deliver the curriculum to secondary-age pupils. ? Not all staff are following the new behaviour policy. At the time of the inspection, many secondary pupils spent much of their time out of the classroom roaming around the school corridors. Leaders need to make sure that a consistent approach to managing pupils’ behaviour is in place and that all members of staff are effectively trained and supported to this end. ? Plans are not in place to deliver careers education to all secondary pupils. Leaders need to develop a clear structure which gives equal access to independent careers education to all secondary pupils. ? There is no system in place to assess what pupils know and understand when they join the school. Many pupils joining the school have been out of education for significant lengths of time. Gaps in their knowledge are not identified. Leaders need to make sure that they establish what pupils know so that they can be helped to catch up and that the curriculum can be planned to meet their needs. ? The school has few resources. For example, books in the secondary section of school are in short supply, limiting pupils’ access to reading books for pleasure. At the time of the inspection, the proprietor had taken some steps to start to improve leaders’ access to funds. Urgent access to an agreed school budget is needed so that leaders can plan for the improvements needed to the quality of education and pupils’ personal development. ? The proprietor has not ensured that staff are trained to use the fire extinguishers in and around the building. The school’s fire safety policy states that fire extinguishers are not to be used by untrained staff. At the time of the inspection, only one member of staff had completed the required training. Leaders need to provide further training urgently so that staff have the knowledge needed in the event of an emergency.