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Many parents and carers who live out of the area travel extra miles to get their children into this school. The good reputation that leaders have earned over the years is well known and shared. A high proportion of parents choose this school because their children have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
Leaders in this school have expert skills to meet the needs of these pupils.
There are other pupils who have been excluded, or on the verge of exclusion, from other schools. Leaders warmly welcome these pupils to Cliffe Hill.
This is a school that gives those pupils who need it a second chance.
This parent's comment is typical of ma...ny: 'This school is amazing. Staff go the extra mile and are really inclusive.
I am continually amazed at how they continue to go above and beyond my expectations.'
Relationships between all staff and pupils are nurturing. Staff expect the best of pupils.
Pupils feel safe and happy. When bullying does happen, leaders sort it out quickly. Pupils say that sometimes it happens again.
Leaders know that they need to double check this carefully.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders plan learning that captures children's interest in early years. Teachers trust children to learn about the world around them using hand tools.
Children know that they need to wear safety goggles when they are sawing wood with little hacksaws. In 2019, children in Reception Year achieved results that were above the national average.
Leaders prioritise reading.
Children are learning to read as well as they should for their age. Some adults are good at talking to children when children are busy playing. They know that extending children's speaking skills is a high priority.
This is not always the case with all staff.
Leaders identified that phonics teaching was not good enough. They asked specialist teachers from the English hub to help them review the early reading curriculum.
Since September 2019, teachers have made sure that all children learn the new sounds that are introduced in Year 1. Leaders made sure that they provide enough of the right reading books for each pupil to practise their reading. Since leaders made these changes, Year 1 pupils have been keeping up with the phonics programme.
Leaders check to make sure that any pupil who falls behind catches up quickly.
Leaders have been reviewing other subjects. They put teachers into teams so that teachers can do this work together.
Teachers say that they like this because it helps them with their workload. It also means that teachers can take the lead in some teams and rely on the expertise of others when they feel less confident.
Leaders designed a sensible plan to tackle this task, taking a few subjects at a time.
In some subjects, teachers are already using the new plans in lessons. This is already making a difference. Teachers make sure that they remind pupils of the most important knowledge.
Pupils can remember what they have learned. Leaders have achieved consistency in the methods that teachers use. Teachers introduce more demanding content when pupils are ready.
The most able pupils are rising to this challenge. Overall, pupils enjoy their work and behave well in lessons.
The curriculum is equally ambitious for pupils with SEND.
The special educational needs coordinator (SENCo) has expert skills. Leaders give him the time he needs to do his job well. Pupils with SEND are making good progress from their individual starting points.
Some pupils no longer need education, health and care (EHC) plans because they have made such good progress. Pupils thrive in yoga classes, peer massage and the 'calm club'. At lunchtime, pupils with SEND can play in the courtyard.
This quiet, shaded space helps pupils avoid the crowded playground and more boisterous play.
The curriculum for pupils' personal development is outstanding. Leaders ensure that all pupils have a breadth of experiences that extend their interests, skills and talents.
All pupils in key stage 2 go camping together every year. They can practise the den-making skills they learned in 'live wild' in Bradley Wood.
There have been 12 after-school clubs since September and 95 pupils have attended at least one of them.
Options include 'pet club'. The mixed-age dance troupe has won the regional heat of a national dance competition for the last five years. They were runners-up in the national final in 2019.
Pupils performed their winning dance routine during this inspection. They included gymnastic manoeuvres and leaps to a medley of 'Queen' songs. The quality of their performance was exceptional.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
The governing body includes governors who have a background in children's social care. One governor is a qualified social worker.
This helps governors challenge leaders effectively. Governors challenge leaders about the risks to pupils' safety when they are considering excluding pupils.
Leaders make all the necessary recruitment and premises checks.
Leaders train all staff well. Staff are alert to the signs of domestic violence. Leaders act quickly when concerns are raised to make sure that pupils are kept safe.
Leaders teach pupils about staying safe. For example, the police came and talked to Year 6 pupils about the impact of knife crime.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
Some staff in early years do not develop children's vocabulary and language skills as well as they should.
Adults do not help children to use language to clarify their thinking or introduce narrative into their play consistently. Leaders should ensure that the best practice in the setting is shared, so that all teachers and other adults are equally skilful in extending children's communication and language skills across the seven areas of learning. .
Leaders have not reviewed the curriculum in several subjects, although this work is planned. Leaders should check that the curriculum matches the national curriculum programmes of study for each subject to make sure that there is progression in key concepts and skills. They should check that the curriculum is helping pupils embed and use their prior knowledge to access new and demanding content.
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