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|Brian Jackson College
|Miss J Green
|Vision House, Units 1 - 6 Grove Mills, Heckmondwike, WF16 0AD
|Other independent school
|Number of Pupils
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils enjoy attending Brian Jackson College. There are positive, caring relationships between adults and pupils. During the inspection, pupils and staff commented that the school has a ‘family feel’. Inspectors agree. Pupils are cared for. They feel safe at school. One reason for this is that bullying is rare and is dealt with quickly if it does happen. Pupils respect each other and their teachers. They are confident that any issues will be dealt with. Behaviour across both school sites is good. When issues do arise, adults provide nurturing support to help pupils manage their behaviour and make positive choices.
Leaders plan a wide variety of activities. When inspectors visited, pupils were looking forward to a trip to an amusement park that they had helped to organise. Pupils work on a local allotment and there are trips to attractions such as a local sculpture park. These opportunities help pupils to develop social skills and to work together. They foster a meaningful sense of cooperation.
Leaders prioritise the development of pupils’ character and well-being. This means that pupils are better able to meet the high expectations of leaders, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Pupils are therefore happy and they feel safe at school.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
The overarching aim of all adults working with pupils at Brian Jackson College is to provide opportunities for success. The curriculum design complements this vision. Leaders ensure that pupils work towards qualifications that will help open doors to them after leaving the school. In English and mathematics, for example, pupils complete unit awards at regular stages as they prepare for GCSEs. In art, pupils’ cultural knowledge is developed as teachers introduce pupils to varied artists, for example Mondrian, Banksy and Barbara Hepworth, to inspire them in creating their own pieces.
When pupils join the school, teachers check what they already know. Through this, teachers develop a highly bespoke curriculum for each child. However, pupils’ attendance is sometimes not good enough. This adversely affects the delivery of the planned curriculum. Leaders are aware of this challenge. As a result, it is sometimes difficult for teachers to support pupils in building on prior learning. To overcome this, teachers take time at the start of lessons to recap prior learning. However, there are missed opportunities, for instance to develop cross-curricular links that would help pupils to make links with their existing knowledge, overcoming some of these difficulties.
The reading curriculum has developed considerably in recent years. The books that pupils read in English create opportunities to develop an understanding of diversity and fundamental British values. In all lessons, pupils are taught the technical vocabulary that they need. Inspectors noted pupils being taught about acids and alkalis using appropriate scientific language. This is helping to develop pupils’ confidence in talking about the subjects that they study.
The school has a calm atmosphere. Pupils know that adults care about them. When inspectors visited, Year 11 pupils were celebrating the end of their exams. Such events recognise the achievements of pupils. They demonstrate the high level of respect between teachers and pupils. In lessons, pupils apply themselves well. Low-level disruption occurs but leaders take sensitive action to support pupils and help them consider how they can adapt their behaviour.
Leaders, rightly, pride themselves on the steps that they take to develop pupils’ character. It is a vital part of the work that the school undertakes. For example, links with the local gym help pupils to focus on physical health but also support the work that the school does around apprenticeships. The facilities for catering, cycle maintenance, engineering, and hair and beauty are enjoyed by pupils. They help pupils to work together and develop the collaboration skills that will serve them well in the future.
Pupils are well supported in their transition from Brian Jackson College. Pupils are supported with applications for colleges and apprenticeships. Independent careers advice is provided. School staff visit the homes of those pupils whose attendance is an issue. Where appropriate, additional support is provided, for instance in arranging transport for pupils to attend interviews. Pupils appreciate this. It ensures that they can look forward to the future with confidence and optimism.
Staff are proud to work at the school. They are well supported by leaders and know that they are crucial in making a difference to the lives of the pupils who they teach. Governors listen to the views of staff and pupils. Clear lines of communication between the board of trustees for the proprietorial body and the governing body of the school ensure that there is a good understanding of how the school needs to develop. Where parents chose to share their views with inspectors, they recognised the difference that the school has made in helping their children to develop. They appreciate the difference that Brian Jackson College is making in their children’s lives.
Leaders ensure that all the independent school standards are met, including those relating to premises, health, safety and safeguarding. Leaders regularly audit the school to ensure their high standards are maintained.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders have thorough systems to ensure that pupils get the support that they need. They take timely action and work with other agencies to ensure the safety of pupils. There is a team of staff with responsibility for safeguarding.
Staff are aware of the vulnerabilities and risks that children may face. Regular updates, such as daily briefings, ensure that this information is shared effectively. There is a clear understanding of the different risks that are particular to each of the school’s sites. Training on issues relating to safeguarding is regular and effective. The personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum is constantly adapted to take account of topical issues.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and proprietor)
? Links between similar content in different subjects are not considered in detail. This means there is a lack of consistency in how important knowledge is taught across different subjects. This affects pupils’ ability to remember the most important information. Leaders should ensure that they provide opportunities for teachers to work together so they can plan similar approaches across subjects where this is relevant. ? Pupils’ attendance is inconsistent. This means that some pupils miss considerable learning opportunities. This has an impact on pupils’ ability to learn the planned curriculum. Leaders are aware of these issues and should continue to develop and implement the systems and processes that they have in place to secure better attendance from pupils.