Broomhayes Centre


Name Broomhayes Centre
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Address Kingsley House, Alverdiscott Road, Bideford, EX39 4PL
Phone Number 01237 473830
Type Independent (special)
Age Range 10-23
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 25
Local Authority Devon
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No
Highlights from Latest Full Inspection
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Information about the school

This is a school for young people aged between 11 and 23, who have autistic spectrum disorders with highly complex behavioural, learning, physiological and psychological difficulties and disabilities. All students have a statement of special educational needs. The vast majority arrive in crisis having failed elsewhere. It is a mixed school with 28 students on roll. It was established in 1985. The majority of students are residential and come from all over the country. Nearly all are looked after by their local authority. The school is run by its proprietors, The National Autistic Society. It was last inspected in May 2008, since when there have been significant staffing and structural changes. The school now operates from one site, with a purpose-built sixth form college and a children’s home, which the school calls a ‘children’s centre’. This was an inspection of the school and college only. The school strives to provide effective specialist education and support to students with autistic spectrum disorder and their families, which will allow students to achieve their full potential in education and life. Evaluation of the school The school provides a good quality of education. There is a good curriculum and good attention is paid to the welfare, health and safety of students including safeguarding. Provision for students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good with outstanding support for their personal, social and health education (PSHE). This results in students making good progress in meeting their complex personal needs, improving academically, and attending school. Teaching and assessment are good and ensure students gain independence as learners. At the last inspection all of the regulatory requirements for independent schools were met, but on this occasion two are not. Quality of education The quality of the curriculum is good, which leads to good outcomes in education and good feelings of well-being, reduced anxiety and ability to manage complex behaviours. There is a good curriculum policy, together with schemes of work, which detail the courses that are available along with descriptions of how these will be taught and assessed. Most courses lead to accreditation at entry level and GCSE certification is offered at higher levels. All students are taught functional literacy, numeracy skills and life skills. For students at Key Stages 3 and 4 this is supplemented by a programme of topics covering creative experiences and knowledge of the world. Vocational skills, information and communication technology (ICT) and daily exercise ensure the curriculum is broad and balanced. For post-16 students, vocational and work-based programmes are effectively focused around independent living and prepare them well for their next stage beyond school. The school provides outstanding support and learning for the personal, social and health education of students. This is achieved through a highly personalised individual support plan providing a range of therapeutic sessions and daily tutor times. The topics and ‘Bodywise’ courses are well suited to the needs of students, for example understanding autism, personal hygiene and sex and relationships. The curriculum is further enriched by an extensive range of extracurricular activities at the end of the day and at weekends. These include competitive sports, such as football and tennis, as well as walks and cultural excursions. Links with local businesses are an extremely valuable part of the school’s provision. For example, they enable students to gain first-hand experience of managing cleaning contracts, animal care, horticulture and vehicle valeting. The school has been successful in placing a few students to continue in learning at the local college of further education. Teaching and assessment are good. Lessons are organised well by teachers to ensure that the short attention span of the vast majority of students improves. Routines are clear and rehearsed with students to reduce anxiety and an appropriate variety of activities and resources are available to support learning, such as devices for communicating and palm computers to help interaction with the class whiteboards. Good attention is given to encouraging students to communicate their views, and responses are managed well to inject praise and encourage self-confidence. Activities are practical and purposeful and, for the most part, build successfully on skills the students have already gained. Staff provide good encouragement for students to work independently and are skilful at providing support through visual prompts and partnering students. For example, in an ICT lesson the teacher encouraged students to think about alternative words that could be put in a search engine to access the correct image for their shopping list. Current individual education plans are of good quality. They are well informed by all relevant professionals and regular progress review meetings. Learning support assistants make a significant contribution to students’ learning. They form good relationships with students and manage any challenging or inappropriate behaviour in a calm and non-confrontational manner. The strategy for assessing academic achievement and tracking progress has been reviewed since the last inspection. It has been much improved and is good, but elements still have to be fully embedded in daily practice. There is still a little inconsistency in the way assessment information is used to plan an individual student’s reading, writing and numeracy targets in lessons. Generally, students are clear about what they need to do to improve their work as a result of good feedback, but this is not always the case and this limits their achievement in a very few lessons. Nonetheless, students are enjoying learning and making good progress towards becoming effective learners, especially in the vital area of communication. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all students is good. The school boosts students’ self-esteem and self-confidence effectively, especially through sensory aspects of the curriculum. Students demonstrate that they enjoy school by gesture, choosing positive symbols and pictures and by their good attendance. Students gain a clear understanding of what is right and wrong because staff model appropriate behaviour and treat students with respect. Students’ behaviour is good and the school is a calm and orderly place in which to learn. This makes a significant contribution to their general good progress. While there are occasional incidents of inappropriate behaviour, these are usually associated with students’ lack of understanding of what is required in some social situations. The regular PSHE lessons encourage students to reflect on life, particularly their own feelings and values. Students learn to become increasingly independent and to contribute to the school community; for example, when they tidy away at the end of lessons, raise money for charities, or make a difference as members of the school council. Trips to the local community make students aware of those public institutions and services they are likely to encounter when they leave school, for example local shops, cafés, library and sports centre. Parents find these experiences very useful when planning similar activities. Students learn about different faiths and cultural traditions through topics and tutor time. The activities enable them to gain an understanding of cultural diversity in a way that helps them acquire a sense of fairness, equality, harmony and tolerance. Welfare, health and safety of pupils Provision for welfare, health and safety is good. All staff have undertaken the required child protection training to ensure students are safe and are well cared for. Supervision is good, thus ensuring the safety of students in school, in their houses and when undertaking visits off site. Appropriate safer recruitment procedures are in place as are the policies for fire and first aid, health and safety, behaviour and anti-bullying. Procedures are implemented effectively as are risk assessments. Students say that they are free from harassment and are well cared for. Parents and local authority officers agree. This was summed up in the words of a parent, ‘He is blossoming which is fantastic for him and the family.’ The school has a good programme for students and staff to learn about safety when using the internet, with suitable monitoring of internet use. The school places good emphasis on students adopting a healthy lifestyle. Access to an allotment provides a good added dimension to students’ learning about healthy foods. Regular exercise is provided at intervals throughout the day and there are adequate outdoor play areas most, but not all, of which have facilities for sensory stimulation to develop physical skills. Attendance and admission registers are kept in accordance with requirements. The school does not have a suitable plan for improving access which complies with the Equality Act 2010. Suitability of staff, supply staff and proprietors The school carries out appropriate checks on all staff prior to their appointment. There is a suitable policy in place to guide the practice of safe recruitment. The results of checks relating to staff and others are correctly recorded in a single central register. Premises and accommodation at the school The redevelopment of the post-16 college on the school site has significantly improved the quality of the accommodation since the last inspection. It is spacious, light and provides students with easy access to study bays, lecture room and kitchen. The Key Stages 3 and 4 buildings provide adequate provision for learning and teaching. Rooms are, however, too dark and at times cramped when more adults than students are in the room. This adds to students’ anxiety. The dining area for these students is inadequate. It is small, poorly lit and shabby. There is a dedicated house for families to use when visiting their children which helps to improve links with the home. Provision of information The school provides, or makes available, all of the required information for parents, carers, local authorities and others. An accessible website and a hard copy of the prospectus and the parent pack provide a clear picture of the school’s work. A few parents and local authorities returned the pre-inspection questionnaire. A very few concerns were raised but, generally, users are overwhelmingly positive about the educational provision, outcomes and welfare of students at the school. Manner in which complaints are to be handled The complaints procedure meets regulatory requirements. Compliance with regulatory requirements The proprietor has ensured that the school meets The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010, schedule 1 (‘the Regulations’), with the exception of those listed below.3 3 www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/1997/contents/made. 4 www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents. The school does not meet all requirements in respect of the premises of and accommodation at schools (standards in part 5) and must: ensure that there are adequate facilities for the serving and consumption of food for students in Key Stages 3 and 4 (paragraph 23(l)) ensure the lighting in the Key Stages 3 and 4 classrooms is satisfactory and have regard to the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999 (paragraph 23(o)). In order to comply with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, the school should devise a three-year accessibility plan.4 What the school could do to improve further While not required by regulations, the school might wish to consider the following points for development: ensure consistency in the way that assessment information is used to plan an individual student’s reading, writing and numeracy targets ensure that through written and oral feedback students are always clear about what they have to do to improve their work ensure appropriate sensory stimulation in all outdoor play areas.

Evaluation of the school

The school provides a good quality of education. There is a good curriculum and good attention is paid to the welfare, health and safety of students including safeguarding. Provision for students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good with outstanding support for their personal, social and health education (PSHE). This results in students making good progress in meeting their complex personal needs, improving academically, and attending school. Teaching and assessment are good and ensure students gain independence as learners. At the last inspection all of the regulatory requirements for independent schools were met, but on this occasion two are not. Quality of education The quality of the curriculum is good, which leads to good outcomes in education and good feelings of well-being, reduced anxiety and ability to manage complex behaviours. There is a good curriculum policy, together with schemes of work, which detail the courses that are available along with descriptions of how these will be taught and assessed. Most courses lead to accreditation at entry level and GCSE certification is offered at higher levels. All students are taught functional literacy, numeracy skills and life skills. For students at Key Stages 3 and 4 this is supplemented by a programme of topics covering creative experiences and knowledge of the world. Vocational skills, information and communication technology (ICT) and daily exercise ensure the curriculum is broad and balanced. For post-16 students, vocational and work-based programmes are effectively focused around independent living and prepare them well for their next stage beyond school. The school provides outstanding support and learning for the personal, social and health education of students. This is achieved through a highly personalised individual support plan providing a range of therapeutic sessions and daily tutor times. The topics and ‘Bodywise’ courses are well suited to the needs of students, for example understanding autism, personal hygiene and sex and relationships. The curriculum is further enriched by an extensive range of extracurricular activities at the end of the day and at weekends. These include competitive sports, such as football and tennis, as well as walks and cultural excursions. Links with local businesses are an extremely valuable part of the school’s provision. For example, they enable students to gain first-hand experience of managing cleaning contracts, animal care, horticulture and vehicle valeting. The school has been successful in placing a few students to continue in learning at the local college of further education. Teaching and assessment are good. Lessons are organised well by teachers to ensure that the short attention span of the vast majority of students improves. Routines are clear and rehearsed with students to reduce anxiety and an appropriate variety of activities and resources are available to support learning, such as devices for communicating and palm computers to help interaction with the class whiteboards. Good attention is given to encouraging students to communicate their views, and responses are managed well to inject praise and encourage self-confidence. Activities are practical and purposeful and, for the most part, build successfully on skills the students have already gained. Staff provide good encouragement for students to work independently and are skilful at providing support through visual prompts and partnering students. For example, in an ICT lesson the teacher encouraged students to think about alternative words that could be put in a search engine to access the correct image for their shopping list. Current individual education plans are of good quality. They are well informed by all relevant professionals and regular progress review meetings. Learning support assistants make a significant contribution to students’ learning. They form good relationships with students and manage any challenging or inappropriate behaviour in a calm and non-confrontational manner. The strategy for assessing academic achievement and tracking progress has been reviewed since the last inspection. It has been much improved and is good, but elements still have to be fully embedded in daily practice. There is still a little inconsistency in the way assessment information is used to plan an individual student’s reading, writing and numeracy targets in lessons. Generally, students are clear about what they need to do to improve their work as a result of good feedback, but this is not always the case and this limits their achievement in a very few lessons. Nonetheless, students are enjoying learning and making good progress towards becoming effective learners, especially in the vital area of communication. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of all students is good. The school boosts students’ self-esteem and self-confidence effectively, especially through sensory aspects of the curriculum. Students demonstrate that they enjoy school by gesture, choosing positive symbols and pictures and by their good attendance. Students gain a clear understanding of what is right and wrong because staff model appropriate behaviour and treat students with respect. Students’ behaviour is good and the school is a calm and orderly place in which to learn. This makes a significant contribution to their general good progress. While there are occasional incidents of inappropriate behaviour, these are usually associated with students’ lack of understanding of what is required in some social situations. The regular PSHE lessons encourage students to reflect on life, particularly their own feelings and values. Students learn to become increasingly independent and to contribute to the school community; for example, when they tidy away at the end of lessons, raise money for charities, or make a difference as members of the school council. Trips to the local community make students aware of those public institutions and services they are likely to encounter when they leave school, for example local shops, cafés, library and sports centre. Parents find these experiences very useful when planning similar activities. Students learn about different faiths and cultural traditions through topics and tutor time. The activities enable them to gain an understanding of cultural diversity in a way that helps them acquire a sense of fairness, equality, harmony and tolerance. Welfare, health and safety of pupils Provision for welfare, health and safety is good. All staff have undertaken the required child protection training to ensure students are safe and are well cared for. Supervision is good, thus ensuring the safety of students in school, in their houses and when undertaking visits off site. Appropriate safer recruitment procedures are in place as are the policies for fire and first aid, health and safety, behaviour and anti-bullying. Procedures are implemented effectively as are risk assessments. Students say that they are free from harassment and are well cared for. Parents and local authority officers agree. This was summed up in the words of a parent, ‘He is blossoming which is fantastic for him and the family.’ The school has a good programme for students and staff to learn about safety when using the internet, with suitable monitoring of internet use. The school places good emphasis on students adopting a healthy lifestyle. Access to an allotment provides a good added dimension to students’ learning about healthy foods. Regular exercise is provided at intervals throughout the day and there are adequate outdoor play areas most, but not all, of which have facilities for sensory stimulation to develop physical skills. Attendance and admission registers are kept in accordance with requirements. The school does not have a suitable plan for improving access which complies with the Equality Act 2010. Suitability of staff, supply staff and proprietors The school carries out appropriate checks on all staff prior to their appointment. There is a suitable policy in place to guide the practice of safe recruitment. The results of checks relating to staff and others are correctly recorded in a single central register. Premises and accommodation at the school The redevelopment of the post-16 college on the school site has significantly improved the quality of the accommodation since the last inspection. It is spacious, light and provides students with easy access to study bays, lecture room and kitchen. The Key Stages 3 and 4 buildings provide adequate provision for learning and teaching. Rooms are, however, too dark and at times cramped when more adults than students are in the room. This adds to students’ anxiety. The dining area for these students is inadequate. It is small, poorly lit and shabby. There is a dedicated house for families to use when visiting their children which helps to improve links with the home. Provision of information The school provides, or makes available, all of the required information for parents, carers, local authorities and others. An accessible website and a hard copy of the prospectus and the parent pack provide a clear picture of the school’s work. A few parents and local authorities returned the pre-inspection questionnaire. A very few concerns were raised but, generally, users are overwhelmingly positive about the educational provision, outcomes and welfare of students at the school. Manner in which complaints are to be handled The complaints procedure meets regulatory requirements. Compliance with regulatory requirements The proprietor has ensured that the school meets The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010, schedule 1 (‘the Regulations’), with the exception of those listed below.3 3 www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/1997/contents/made. 4 www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents. The school does not meet all requirements in respect of the premises of and accommodation at schools (standards in part 5) and must: ensure that there are adequate facilities for the serving and consumption of food for students in Key Stages 3 and 4 (paragraph 23(l)) ensure the lighting in the Key Stages 3 and 4 classrooms is satisfactory and have regard to the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1999 (paragraph 23(o)). In order to comply with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, the school should devise a three-year accessibility plan.4 What the school could do to improve further While not required by regulations, the school might wish to consider the following points for development: ensure consistency in the way that assessment information is used to plan an individual student’s reading, writing and numeracy targets ensure that through written and oral feedback students are always clear about what they have to do to improve their work ensure appropriate sensory stimulation in all outdoor play areas.