Benton Dene School

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About Benton Dene School

Name Benton Dene School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Alison McAllister-Williams
Address Hailsham Avenue, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE12 8FD
Phone Number 01914661818
Phase Special
Type Foundation special school
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 121
Local Authority North Tyneside
Highlights from Latest Inspection

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school Benton Dene has undergone many changes since the last inspection.

There is a new leadership team, the number of pupils has increased by almost 50% and pupils attending have a wider range of complex needs. Undaunted by these changes, new leaders quickly garnered an insightful understanding of the school's strengths and weaknesses. They are driving improvement in weaker areas with 'vim and vigour' and are working relentlessly to raise expectations of all so that pupils in Benton Dene get the best deal possible.

Stronger arrangements to manage staff performance are contributing to improvements in the quality of teaching. Much is good and som...e is outstanding. As a result, pupils generally make at least good progress from their very low starting points.

Occasionally staff step in too quickly, limiting opportunities for pupils to work things out for themselves. Relationships between staff and pupils are exemplary. Pupils are very safe and thrive emotionally, socially and personally in the inclusive and nurturing atmosphere.

Such attributes, the inviting curriculum and focus on developing pupils' communication skills contribute to pupils' very good behaviour and positive attitudes to learning, and to their evident enjoyment of school. Improved systems assess regularly pupils' reading, writing, mathematical, communication, social and emotional skills. These are generally used well to plan work that moves pupils on successfully in their learning.

Work is ongoing to develop robust assessment systems for other subjects. On occasions, most-able pupils are given work that does not stretch them sufficiently. Leaders are working with staff to tackle this and to ensure that pupils' academic progress has as strong a focus in lessons as their communication, social and emotional development.

Attendance rates are super and above the average for primary schools nationally. The early years is good and exhibits the same strengths and areas that need more focus as the rest of the school. Children generally make good progress from their starting points and are well prepared for key stage 1.

Governance is strong. Governors share leaders' passion to do the best for the pupils and they are fully involved in school life. Governors challenge leaders rigorously for the impact of their work and do so with aplomb.

They check carefully to ensure that disadvantaged pupils achieve as well as their peers.

Information about this school

Benton Dene School meets the Department for Education's requirements on the publication of specified information on its website. The school is a smaller than average-sized primary school but more average-sized when compared with special schools nationally.

It is co-located with a mainstream primary school and they share many facilities. The number of pupils on roll has increased by nearly half since the last inspection. Around half of the pupils are known to be entitled to free school meals.

This is above average. The proportion from minority ethnic communities is well below average. All pupils have a statement of special educational needs or an education, health and care plan.

The school caters for pupils who have moderate learning difficulties or social, emotional and mental health difficulties as well as an increasing proportion who have an autistic spectrum diagnosis. The Dene communication centre for Nursery-aged pupils is located on the large school site. It is local authority provision and was not included in this inspection.

Benton Dene is the lead school for School Direct (on-the-job teacher training) across the North Tyneside special school partnership. It plays a role in developing the skills and experiences of new entrants to the teaching profession who aim to work with pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities. Since the last inspection, a new headteacher and deputy headteacher have been appointed.

Also at this postcode
Benton Dene Out of School Club Benton Dene Primary School

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