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|Name||Active Wellbeing School|
|Ms Terri Bates-Turner|
|Address||Scotia Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 6FF|
|Type||Other independent special school|
|Number of Pupils||19 (100% boys)|
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils are happy to attend school and they feel safe. Teachers work hard to get to know their pupils well. As a result, they know what pupils need to learn and plan lessons for them that are enjoyable and help them to learn well. Teachers give them plenty of support if they find the work a bit difficult. For example, pupils successfully improve their reading through extra reading with a teacher at lunchtime if they need to catch up.
Weekly educational visits with their class help pupils to learn more about the world. Teachers plan games and activities during these visits to ensure that pupils develop the school’s five core values of respect, empathy, resilience, honesty and courage. For example, they developed empathy with the meerkats at Peak Wildlife Park. They said they were ‘just like people’. The boating trip developed pupils’ courage.
Pupils know that there is always someone to talk to if they are worried, upset or angry. Staff are patient and caring. They know each individual pupil’s needs and know how they can help them to regulate their emotions. Bullying is rare. Pupils say this is because the staff are always around to help.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders have ensured that all the independent school standards are met. They work tirelessly to improve the life chances of their pupils. The highly experienced and organised directors of the proprietor body collaborate closely with school leaders. They know what needs to be done to improve the school. The headteacher ensures that staff have the time and professional development to improve practice. Staff say they love working at the school and feel well supported by leaders. Parents and carers are delighted with their children’s progress.
Most pupils who attend this school have missed education in the past. Pupils have many gaps in knowledge and skills. Teachers make initial checks to find out what pupils know and can do. Teachers then map out the knowledge and skills that pupils need to learn over time. The work of the special educational needs coordinator (SENCo) supports teachers to plan for each individual pupil’s academic and personal progress.
The recent work of the curriculum leader has ensured that schemes of work for all subjects are carefully sequenced. She has ensured that learning is presented to pupils in the right order, so that it builds on what has been learned before. Pupils frequently revisit learning so that they remember it well. For example, sounds and words from the morning phonics lesson are repeated throughout the day as they learn other curriculum subjects.
Leaders ensure that reading is prioritised. Phonics are taught daily. Teachers have the subject knowledge and skills they need to teach phonics. They enunciate sounds clearly and accurately. Teachers read to pupils daily. Books that pupils read themselves are well matched to their abilities. They choose books independently when they are ready. The teaching of reading is effective and helps pupils to make strong progress.
Teachers use a variety of effective strategies to encourage pupils to develop their spoken language. They skilfully encourage pupils to begin to talk when they arrive at school unable to talk at all. In mathematics, teachers model mathematical language effectively. However, teachers do not have a strong focus on developing the use of more adventurous words in English. This means that pupils fail to use enough rich vocabulary in their writing and may not understand what they read. In mathematics, there is not enough emphasis on problem-solving and mathematical reasoning. Therefore, pupils do not make sufficient progress in this area of mathematics.
There is a calm and orderly environment throughout the school. Pupils demonstrate positive attitudes to learning. All staff have the knowledge and understanding to support pupils with social, emotional and mental health needs. Staff manage any emotional outbursts from pupils with skill and understanding. This helps them to settle down quickly and begin to learn. Pupils’ attendance has improved markedly compared to their records in previous settings. Because of the effective support that pupils receive, their behaviour and confidence improve over time. Parents spoken to said that their children want to come to school and behave better at home.
‘Freedom to flourish’ is the school’s motto and staff lead pupils to be increasingly resilient and independent. Through a range of activities and studies, pupils learn how to keep themselves physically healthy. Leaders plan opportunities for them to be active during the school day. Every lunchtime, teachers encourage pupils to walk a ‘daily mile’ around the playground. Pupils learn about fundamental British values, including mutual respect for others. For example, they learn about celebrating the achievements of others in sport. Teachers encourage pupils to support those who may find sports more difficult. They learn about different cultures by sharing both food and languages. During the pandemic, staff and pupils clapped for nurses and discussed why we should respect them. As a result of these activities, pupils gain a greater understanding of what it means to be a responsible citizen.
Leaders have ensured that the school meets the requirements of schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
The school’s safeguarding policy is displayed on the website and meets government requirements. Leaders are diligent in their care for pupils. Leaders collaborate closely with the work of outside agencies. All staff are well trained in procedures and know where to find the information they need in case of any concerns. Leaders are trained in safer recruitment so that they ensure that all adults are safe to work with children. Concerns are managed appropriately and are well documented. Pupils say that they enjoy school and feel safe. Pupils are taught to keep themselves safe.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and proprietor)
? In mathematics, teachers do not provide pupils with enough opportunities to engage in problem-solving and reasoning. This means that pupils do not make sufficient progress in this area of mathematics. Leaders should ensure that teachers regularly challenge pupils through providing tasks in mathematics that require pupils to apply their problem-solving and reasoning skills. ? In English, teachers do not help pupils to use more adventurous words. This means that pupils are not developing a wider vocabulary to help them make progress in English. Leaders should ensure that teachers help pupils to acquire an increasingly rich vocabulary. In this way, they will have the opportunity to improve their speech, reading and writing.