Breakspeare School

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About Breakspeare School

Name Breakspeare School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Ms Merja Paakkonen
Address Gallows Hill Lane, Abbots Langley, WD5 0BU
Phone Number 01923263645
Phase Special
Type Community special school
Age Range 2-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 94
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection


There has been no change to this school's overall judgement of outstanding as a result of this ungraded (section 8) inspection.

However, the evidence gathered suggests that the inspection grade might not be as high if a graded (section 5) inspection were carried out now. Inspectors are recommending the next inspection to be a graded inspection.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils feel happy, safe, and well cared for.

They enjoy school. Pupils are friendly and welcoming. They are proud of their school and what they achieve.

Pupils benefit from a broad and relevant curriculum. This is adapted well to meet their individual needs and to extend their interest...s. Pupils gain the confidence to express their choices and to communicate their needs.

They are well prepared for their next steps in education and for adulthood. However, some pupils do not develop their knowledge and skills in early reading as well as they could. This limits their progress in reading fluency.

Relationships between pupils and staff are positive and respectful. Pupils know that staff will listen to them if they have any worries or concerns. Pupils learn strategies that help them to manage their emotions and express their needs.

They learn how to keep themselves and others safe when at school, in the wider community and when they are using the internet.

Pupils who are members of the school council carry out regular surveys to gain other pupils' views. They ensure that every member of the school community has a voice.

The school council team works together to help make the school even better for everyone.

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

Leaders are ambitious for what they want pupils to achieve. Individualised plans set out clearly the learning steps that support each pupil to make good progress.

Assessment is used well to identify pupils' starting points and their next steps. Leaders ensure that staff have the training they need to support pupils to be successful.

Staff plan lessons and activities that help pupils to make connections with what they have learned before.

There is a strong emphasis on developing pupils' communication skills.This includes listening to others and turn taking, as well as developing pupils' communication through augmentative alternative communication (AAC), signs, symbols, text and speech. Pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties are supported well through a multi-sensory approach.

The curriculum is broad and balanced. The mathematics curriculum sets out the important mathematical knowledge and vocabulary that pupils should learn. Pupils practise their knowledge in real-life situations, such as visits to the local shops and café, and in cooking.

They participate regularly in activities such as swimming, and horse-riding, music and the creative arts. Well-planned visits and experiences help pupils to deepen their understanding of the world and to contribute as members of the community. Leaders' curriculum documents do not capture the full breadth of the curriculum that pupils experience.

Leaders have not clearly set out how the curriculum supports pupils to develop their knowledge and make connections in their learning between the subjects they study. Leaders' documentation does not communicate clearly their curriculum expectations to staff and to parents.

Leaders prioritise reading across the school.

Pupils develop their enjoyment of reading and their interest in books. Staff make sure that books are suitably adapted to ensure that pupils participate fully in reading and deepen their understanding of stories and texts. The reading curriculum helps pupils to develop their skills of recall and prediction.

Pupils explore how characters in a story may be feeling or what motivates particular actions. Pupils read regularly at school and share books at home. They talk enthusiastically about the kind of books they like to read.

Some pupils are taught phonics. Teachers follow a clear sequence of learning so that pupils build up their phonics knowledge systematically. However, these pupils do not routinely access books and texts that are closely matched to the sounds they are learning.

This means that they are not having regular opportunities to practise and apply their phonics knowledge to read. Consequently, these pupils do not develop their fluency and independence in reading as quickly as they could.

There is a consistent approach to managing pupils' behaviour.

Pupils learn to make positive choices and how to communicate their wishes and feelings to others. Leaders regularly review behaviour and safeguarding incidents.

The provision for pupils' wider development is at the heart of the school's work.

The curriculum for relationships and sex education (RSE) provides pupils with important knowledge to help them to form healthy relationships and to keep themselves and others safe. Staff work closely with families to support this work at school and at home.

Governors bring a range of skills and experience to their role.

They are well informed through regular focused visits to the school. They hold leaders to account effectively for their work. Leaders' work to promote well-being extends to pupils, families and staff.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders ensure that staff are well informed about safeguarding through regular and relevant training. Staff know how to recognise the signs that a pupil may be at risk of harm.

Staff understand their responsibility to speak up if something is not right. They record concerns accurately and promptly using the school's reporting system. Leaders follow up concerns diligently.

They work closely with other agencies to help vulnerable pupils and their families access they support they need. Pupils learn to keep themselves safe at school, at home, online and in the wider community.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Pupils who are at the early stages of learning to read using phonics do not readily have access to texts that are matched to the sounds that they are learning.

This limits their reading fluency because they do not have regular opportunities to practise and apply the sounds they are learning. Leaders should ensure that texts are closely matched to pupils' phonics knowledge, so that they become confident, fluent and independent readers more quickly. ? Leaders' curriculum documentation does not clearly set out their expectations of the full range of subjects that pupils study.

This makes it more difficult for leaders to ensure that the curriculum is being implemented as intended and for leaders to monitor the full extent of the difference the curriculum makes to pupils' learning and achievement. Leaders should review how they capture and communicate the school's curriculum so that staff and parents are clear about the full range of learning opportunities and how these connect to enable all pupils to be successful.


When we have judged a school to be outstanding, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains outstanding.

This is called an ungraded inspection and it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on an ungraded inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act.

Usually, this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.

This is the first ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be outstanding in September 2017.

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