|Name||Abbey Rose School|
|Ofsted Inspection Rating||Inadequate|
|Inspection Date||05 November 2019|
|Address||Gloucester Road, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, GL20 7DG|
|Religious Character||Not applicable|
|Number of Pupils||Unknown|
|Catchment Area Information Available||No|
|Last Distance Offered Information Available||No|
What is it like to attend this school?
For some pupils, this feels like an unsafe place to be. They feel threatened by the challenging behaviour of some of their peers. The quality of education is poor. Expectations are too low. Too few pupils make enough gains to prepare them well for life beyond school. Leaders have not met pupils’ needs as set out in their education, health and care plans. As a result, some opt out of their lessons.
Less than a year after opening, some parents have a positive view of the school. However, there are systemic weaknesses. Leaders have not ensured that pupils are safe. The curriculum is not designed to meet the needs of pupils at the school. There is too little attention paid to pupils’ personal development.
This new school opened with high hopes. Set in a grand building, overlooking large grounds, the school has been refurbished to a high standard. In the few months that the school has been open, it has already experienced a change of headteacher. The proprietor worked quickly to secure interim leadership, but leaders have failed to meet the basic expectations laid down in the Independent School Standards (ISS).
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Since the school opened, the proprietor has not ensured that the leadership of the school is effective. There is a lack of capacity in leadership and management to make sure that the school is well-managed and led. Leaders have not acted with integrity. They have not prioritised the welfare of pupils. Some records relating to fire safety have been falsified. There is insufficient rigour to check that the minimum requirements for an independent school are met or that agreed policies are implemented.
Leaders have not established a safe, secure environment in which pupils can thrive. Their oversight of safeguarding is weak. Leaders have put pupils at risk of harm.
Leaders do not check carefully enough that policies and procedures to protect pupils’ welfare, health and safety are implemented. Some fire checks and drills have not been completed. Evacuation plans are in place for pupils, but the lack of fire drills mean that they have not been tested or checked to ensure that they are safe. This means that procedures to assure the health and safety of pupils are not effective.
The processes for the safe recruitment of staff are poor. Leaders do not ensure that staff at the school, including agency staff, have the right recruitment checks completed before they start at the school. The recording of staff recruitment checks is disorganised. Important information is missing, and leaders have not been vigilant to notice this. Representatives of the proprietor visit the school frequently, but they have failed in their responsibilities to check that these basic checks are in place.
Leaders do not meet their statutory duties under the SEN code of conduct. They donot adapt learning and assessment in line with the needs of pupils as recorded in their education, health and care (EHC) plans. The prolonged periods of assessment when pupils arrive at the school mean that they do not receive the therapy support they need. As a result, pupils’ needs are not met. Some pupils do not attend lessons at all and others refuse to respond to staff requests to engage with learning.
Sometimes, some pupils behave in a dangerous way. Leaders have not ensured that there are effective procedures in place to ensure that any dangerous behaviour is appropriately handled so that all pupils and staff feel safe and are safe. The behaviour policy sets out the positive approach that leaders intend staff to take when managing pupils’ behaviour. However, it does not support staff to address pupils’ challenging behaviour effectively. Work to keep records of behaviour and to identify strategies for each pupil has started. However, this system is not in place for all pupils and there is little evidence that it has improved pupils’ attitudes or behaviour.
The curriculum does not meet the requirements for independent schools. Learning is not organised in a coherent way. The schemes of work have not been implemented in a way that pupils can access. Pupils do not benefit from a rich, broad, well-planned curriculum. Because of the lack of a sequenced whole-school curriculum plan, leaders do not ensure that pupils have a full range of learning experiences that match their needs, interests and aspirations.
The interim headteacher recognises that pupils’ learning has not been relevant or interesting enough. She is determined to make improvements and is currently reviewing the curriculum on offer. Some pupils now take part in activities such as rock climbing and horse riding. This has helped encourage pupils to attend school more. But the curriculum is haphazard, with little clear rationale for what is taught and when. It does not meet pupils’ specific needs.
The newly appointed teachers care for and want the best for pupils. They are already forming strong relationships with pupils. But they do not have the plans or the resources they need to support pupils so that they make progress and learn to apply themselves to their work. Work to plan learning that takes account of pupils’ individual plans has started. However, this is not yet in place for all pupils.
There are too few high-quality resources to support learning. For example, the school does not have the resources to support the teaching of early reading. There is no system in place for the teaching of phonics. There is little practical equipment to help pupils develop an understanding of number.
In addition, many staff who support pupils’ learning are temporary. They have not had training to ensure that they have the knowledge and understanding of how best to support pupils during lessons. As a result, pupils do not achieve as well as they should.
Too little has been done to ensure that pupils gain independence and learn skills to prepare them for later life. Leaders have plans to work with local partnerships and tointroduce work experience and careers guidance. However, this has not started. No provision is in place to ensure that pupils receive impartial careers guidance. This leaves pupils poorly equipped for their next steps.
A new approach to teaching personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) has been introduced recently. But leaders have not ensured that it is adapted to meet the needs of pupils at the school. They have not ensured that there is a coherent, sequenced plan in place to support pupils’ personal development. Assemblies celebrate key events. But the curriculum does not pinpoint when and how pupils will discuss issues to help them to develop their understanding of British values, such as democracy or respect for others. It does not ensure that pupils will discuss, as appropriate to their understanding, how to tolerate and respect differences. Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development is not supported well. Pupils have few opportunities to engage with, or to support, the local community or charities nearby or wider.
Some information on the school’s website is not kept up to date. For example, details about the headteacher are incorrect.
The arrangements for safeguarding are not effective.
Staff, including the designated safeguarding lead, have not had the training they need to understand their responsibilities for safeguarding. Leaders have not ensured that staff are aware of their responsibilities under the ‘Prevent’ duty. The systems for reporting concerns about a pupil are not robust. There is not enough done to check that staff are vigilant in reporting concerns about safeguarding appropriately. Recruitment processes are poorly organised.
Leaders have ensured that there is an internet filtering system in place. However, until very recently, there was little in place to ensure that pupils receive guidance about how to keep themselves safe, including while using their personal devices.
Leaders have not made sure that safeguarding arrangements meet the latest guidance from the Secretary of State as in ‘Keeping children safe in education’. During the inspection, the safeguarding policy needed to be updated with the latest government guidance.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and proprietor)
The culture of safeguarding is weak. Leaders put pupils at risk of harm. The proprietor and other senior leaders should ensure that: – pupils feel safe and are safe – safeguarding training, including in the ‘Prevent’ duty, equips leaders and allstaff well for their roles in leading and promoting safeguarding so that a strong culture of safeguarding is secured – there is leadership capacity to ensure that the school safeguarding policies and procedures are understood and followed by all members of staff – they, and all staff, have a solid knowledge and understanding of the requirements of the latest statutory guidance and how this relates to the safeguarding needs of pupils at the school – there are robust procedures for reporting and referring concerns about the safety and well-being of pupils – recruitment processes and the recording of recruitment checks meet the requirements set out in the latest government guidance – the newly introduced PSHE curriculum is effective in ensuring that pupils learn how to keep themselves safe.The procedures, particularly for fire safety, set out in the health and safety policy are not implemented well. This puts pupils’ safety at risk. Leaders need to ensure that: – health and safety policies, particularly related to fire safety, are rigorously implemented and that checks are completed and accurately recorded – fire evacuation practices happen often enough so that pupils and staff are aware of and confident about agreed procedures to evacuate the building safely.Some independent school standards relating to the quality of education are not met. Transition, induction and initial assessment procedures need to be improved so that pupils receive the therapies they need, so that they settle well into school and thrive. Expectations are too low. The curriculum is not planned well enough to take account of pupils’ needs and ambitions or to the support they need to achieve well. There are too few resources to support pupils’ learning. Pupils are not prepared well for their futures. They do not develop their understanding of values or how to support others in their local or wider community. Therefore, leaders need to ensure that: – learning is coherently planned and sequenced so that it matches the individual needs, interests and aspirations of pupils – assessment procedures support an understanding of what pupils know, understand and can do, and promote future learning that is relevant to their needs – the requirements set out in pupils’ EHC plans are better understood and information from them is used when planning pupils’ learning and therapy needs – they develop local partnerships, secure impartial careers guidance and provide appropriate work or study opportunities to promote and support pupils’ aspirations – the PSHE curriculum is sequenced well so that pupils encounter discussion about British values and the protected characteristics set out in the EqualityAct 2010, as appropriate to their understanding – pupils’ SMSC development is strongly supported and pupils contribute to society, locally and wider, in order to develop their understanding of the needs of others – resources to support reading, mathematics and other areas of the curriculum enhance and support pupils’ learning.Leaders need to ensure that learning is effective so that pupils learn more and remember more. Staff, including support staff, need to have relevant professional development to equip them for their roles. Leaders need a rigorous approach to checking that the intended curriculum is taught well and that it matches leaders’ intentions. Leaders need to consider more carefully how staff are deployed so that pupils receive consistent support whenever possible. . Leaders have not ensured that pupils’ behaviour is managed well or that the behaviour policy supports staff to address pupils’ challenging behaviour effectively. Some pupils have poor attendance, and some do not engage with learning. Leaders need to ensure that: – all staff have appropriate training to support and manage pupils’ behaviour well – behaviour strategies are evaluated and analysed so that lessons are learned and successes shared – pupils have the support and encouragement to attend well and expectations to attend school are raised.Leaders do not demonstrate the skills, knowledge and behaviours to lead a safe and successful school. They do not have robust systems in place to ensure that they monitor whether the school consistently meets the ISS. They do not promote pupils’ well-being effectively. The proprietor should ensure that the school is well led and managed and that leaders have sufficient expertise. There needs to be a more rigorous approach to check that the school supports pupils’ safety, health and welfare effectively. Leaders also need to assure themselves that the quality of education meets the needs and aspirations of pupils and that it prepares them well for their futures.