Charlton House Independent School

Charlton House Independent School

Name Charlton House Independent School
Ofsted Inspections
Address 55 Midanbury Lane, Bitterne Park, Hampshire, SO18 4DJ
Phone Number 02380671739
Type Independent
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 29 (65.5% boys 34.5% girls)
Local Authority Southampton
Percentage Free School Meals 0.0%
Pupils with SEN Support 13.8%

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are proud to follow the school’s mission statement to ‘love one another’. They typically behave very well. Pupils say that the small size of the school allows them to be friends with everyone. Pupils seldom fall out and say bullying does not happen. They are confident that if it did, adults would sort it out quickly. Older pupils enjoy being prefects and school councillors. They check that younger pupils are happy at playtimes and establish procedures so that lunchtimes run smoothly.

Pupils benefit from a range of well-attended, extra-curricular activities. Ballroom dancing, choir and British Sign Language are the most popular clubs. Pupils recently enjoyed trips to make sculptures at an art gallery and to see the opera. They regularly contribute to local, national and international charities, particularly those with a Christian ethos.

Substantial changes to staffing have meant that the curriculum is not as well developed as it needs to be. What the school intends pupils to learn in each subject is not currently well organised. Systems for checking what they know and can remember are not firmly established. This limits how much pupils learn over time.

Some of the school’s safeguarding procedures are not thorough enough, which puts pupils potentially at risk of harm.

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

Substantial changes of staffing, leadership and membership of the proprietorial body, along with uncertainty about the school’s future and financial concerns, have meant that the quality of education, leadership and management in the school have not improved.

Leaders’ ambition for pupils to learn knowledge which aligns with the depth and breadth of the national curriculum is not fully realised. This is because new staff do not have the full details of what has been taught previously in the school. In several subjects there are no well-established curriculum plans that set out in detail what pupils should be taught, and in what order. Consequently, new subject leaders are still setting out the sequence of learning in each subject. Plans are slightly further ahead in some subjects, such as mathematics and English, where leaders have purchased plans and resources that staff can use readily. However, in many other subjects leaders are still establishing for themselves what they intend pupils to learn over time. This includes in the early years.

Current staff are working hard to construct a curriculum that builds pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding in an organised way throughout their time in school. They are sharing resources and expertise with each other. This means that, day to day, pupils are increasingly learning useful knowledge in different subjects. However, some inexperienced staff have not received the training that they need to plan and teach the curriculum well enough.A few subjects, including French and music, are taught by subject specialists who follow well-established sequences of learning. As a result, pupils successfully build knowledge in these subjects over their time in school.

Staff know they need to check what pupils have learned previously so that they can fill any gaps as they teach new knowledge. Procedures for this are starting to become established in some subjects. For example, in mathematics teachers are identifying where pupils have gaps in the building blocks they need before learning more-complex mathematics. There is not currently a common approach to checking what pupils know and can remember in other subjects. Consequently, gaps in learning in some subjects are not being identified and filled. Furthermore, there is not an established approach to ensuring that pupils remember what they are taught, as a result some gaps in learning persist over time.

Staff are prioritising teaching pupils to read. All pupils are encouraged to read regularly. Most could talk about a book they have recently enjoyed. However, some pupils are behind in phonics. Current staff have worked hard to identify pupils’ gaps in phonics and provide extra teaching to help pupils catch up. There are signs that this is working, especially for the weakest readers. However, sometimes the books pupils are given to practise reading are too hard for them, which limits their ability to read fluently. New staff all use different methods to teach reading and the new subject leader is still establishing what will become the school’s common approach. A new phonics programme has been purchased, but staff have yet to be trained in it.

The new proprietorial body is in its early stages of establishing processes, policies and procedures for how the school should run. Members of the proprietorial body currently lack the detailed knowledge they need to ensure that these are fit for purpose and meet the requirements of the independent school standards. For example, they did not know that the complaints policy and attendance policy contained inaccuracies. There were serious omissions from some risk assessments intended to keep pupils safe. The interim headteacher and external advisers are supporting those responsible for governance in establishing new systems to enable them to hold the school to account. This includes a useful schedule for meetings and monitoring of the school’s work.

The proprietorial body has acted to ensure that fire safety equipment, that previously had not been checked, is now safe and working. Similarly, work to replace some water systems has been carried out. However, the proprietorial body has not ensured that further necessary, but costly, repairs to these systems have been made in a timely manner. Some work is yet to be completed, although it was booked in during the inspection.


The arrangements for safeguarding are not effective.

Staff are trained in safeguarding. They know the signs that might indicate a pupil is vulnerable and report these to leaders. Leaders act on concerns, including using outside agencies when a pupil needs extra help.

However, records of concerns are kept in several different places, and are not well coordinated. Sometimes concerns are not recorded in a timely manner. There is no systematic review of previous concerns. This limits the school’s ability to recognise when pupils are at risk of harm.

Leaders typically check the suitability of adults working at the school. However, governors are not as alert to potential concerns as they should be. For example, information received in references is not always checked and considered.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and proprietor)

? Members of the proprietorial board and advisory board lack the thorough knowledge and understanding they need of the school’s strengths and weaknesses. They do not effectively monitor and evaluate the school’s work. This prevents them from holding leaders to account. Those responsible for governance need to develop their skills so that they are well informed about school systems and the school’s work to improve. This will enable them to provide effective and robust challenge for school leaders. ? Leaders have not ensured that safeguarding is effective. Safeguarding records are not organised, monitored and analysed in a systematic way. Risk assessments do not consider all the relevant information they should to reduce risk. Health and safety reports on the site have been too slow to be fully actioned. Recruitment checks are not as thorough as they should be. The proprietorial body and other leaders should urgently ensure that all aspects of safeguarding are reviewed and that a secure approach is established to record and analyse incidents and concerns. This will help leaders to identify patterns and causes and increase pupils’ safety. ? The curriculum is not fully established. – Subject leaders have not received training to help them to plan clear and logical sequences of learning in all subjects, including in the early years. – There is not a common approach to checking what pupils know and remember across the whole school. – There is not a systematic approach to teaching phonics and early reading in the school.This means that pupils do not learn or remember subject knowledge as well as they should, including when learning to read. Leaders should ensure that staff are provided with professional development and sufficient resources to help them to plan and deliver the content of each subject curriculum so that pupils can learn more and remember more.