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|Name||Cressex Lodge School|
|Headmistress||Ms Sarah Snape|
|Address||Cressex Lodge, Terrace Road South, Reading, RG42 4DE|
|Type||Other independent special school|
|Number of Pupils||21 (100% boys)|
|Local Authority||Bracknell Forest|
What is it like to attend this school?
One pupil described Cressex Lodge as, ‘The most inclusive place you will ever visit’. Staff, pupils, parents and carers agree. Pupils live up to staff’s high expectations. Relationships are warm and respectful. The atmosphere around the school is harmonious. Pupils are extremely thoughtful and considerate of others, and lessons are rarely disrupted. Pupils feel safe and happy. They talk knowledgably about different faiths, cultures and religions. Pupils told inspectors that there is no place for bullying, harassment or discrimination.
Pupils love taking part in the number of activities on offer. They particularly look forward to the sports, gardening, guitar, keyboard and ukulele clubs. Trips to art galleries, museums, concerts, theatres and places of worship broaden pupils’ horizons. Pupils organise litter picks in the community and volunteer in a local care home. Several pupils told inspectors that the school had simply transformed their lives.
Leaders make sure that all pupils learn that they have control over their futures. Staff want pupils to be independent, build trusting relationships and succeed. Pupils have a voice in making decisions about school life. They worked successfully with leaders to design and develop the forest school, the meditation area and the popular ‘Safari Lodge’.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders, the proprietor and staff are determined that each pupil at Cressex Lodge will learn and gain from a high-quality education. Leaders have created a purposeful and effective culture for learning. They make sure that pupils study a broad range of subjects. The curriculum is well sequenced in all subjects. New work builds on previous knowledge to help pupils make links in their learning. Leaders make sure that teachers have clear guidance on the important knowledge that pupils should learn and remember well. Occasionally, teachers do not check how well pupils understand the information taught and introduce new ideas too quickly. This means that some pupils may have gaps in their knowledge or understanding.
Leaders are passionate for all pupils to read fluently and confidently. Often, pupils have fallen behind in their reading before joining the school. Teachers provide pupils with a diverse and interesting selection of books to reignite their love of reading. Staff identify gaps in pupils’ phonics knowledge and help them to catch up quickly. Teachers are very well trained in teaching early reading. The books that pupils read help them to practise their phonics knowledge. Leaders have identified that some pupils do not read as widely or as often as they could.
Staff skilfully and sensitively help pupils develop trusting relationships and engage in learning activities. Staff identify pupils’ additional needs and make curriculum adjustments accordingly. Pupils learn about the importance of looking after their emotional health. When pupils find it hard to maintain focus, they know to take ‘time out’ and talk to an adult. This means that classrooms are calm and happy hubs of learning. There is rarely any disruption in lessons.
The school’s curriculum helps pupils learn about wider opportunities open to them in the future. Leaders go to great lengths to make sure that work experience opportunities are of a high quality. They make sure that pupils learn about different jobs and careers. Pupils work with professionals from different industries, for example film producers, make-up artists, police officers and magistrates. Activities such as voting on decisions that affect school routines, supporting staff interviews and learning to cook in the forest school help to build pupils’ self-confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. The school has appropriate plans in place to comply with Department of Education statutory guidance on relationships and sex education and health education.
Pupils are encouraged to adopt healthy lifestyle habits, for example they enjoy attending sports and physical education lessons at a specialist facility. They work with highly trained staff and sports coaches.
Pupils understanding of different religions, faiths and communities is exceptional. Pupils have a deep and, at times, profound respect and appreciation of the views, choices and beliefs of others. One pupil said, ‘No one would be treated differently whether they had a different skin colour, are gay or believe in a different God’. The school complies with schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010.
The proprietor has a robust oversight of the school’s work. The proprietor works effectively with leaders to make sure that all independent school standards are met. The proprietor knows what needs to improve further in the quality of education.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders and staff take swift and appropriate action in relation to safeguarding concerns. Staff receive regular and comprehensive training and are highly vigilant. Staff are quick to recognise the signs and symptoms of a variety of concerns, for example self-harm. They notice, record and act promptly on matters relating to pupils’ well-being and safety. Leaders ensure that all staff are checked appropriately and are eligible to work with children and young people. This includes an additional rigorous interview on safeguarding.
Pupils have a strong understanding of how to keep safe when using online devices.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and proprietor)
? Teachers do not always check what pupils know and understand before introducing new information. When this happens, pupils struggle to make links in their learning. Leaders need to ensure that teachers consistently assess pupils’ knowledge accurately in order to make good decisions about what to teach next. This will ensure that all pupils achieve as well as they should in the curriculum. ? Leaders should continue to prioritise reading, ensuring that pupils have maximum opportunity to read widely and often. This will support pupils’ learning across the curriculum, and help them to find pleasure in reading.