Danecourt Community School

Name Danecourt Community School
Website http://www.danecourtschool.com
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Address Hotel Road, Watling Street, Gillingham, ME8 6AA
Phone Number 01634232589
Type Special
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Not applicable
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 149
Local Authority Medway
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No
Highlights from Latest Full Inspection
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Information about this school

Originally designated as a school for pupils with moderate learning difficulties, Danecourt is now increasingly catering for pupils with severe learning difficulties and more complex needs, including speech, language and communication needs. It also has a designated unit for pupils with severe autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) with two classes in Key Stage 2 and one class in Key Stage 1. In addition, it has a commissioned ‘hub’ class, based in a mainstream primary school for pupils who do not need full time specialist provision. The school also operates an outreach service, through which its staff provides advice and support for pupils identified as having special educational needs in mainstream schools within the local authority. The Rainbow Court training centre, also based at the school, provides an extensive programme of professional development across the local authority and beyond. Currently, the large majority of pupils are boys and most pupils are of White British background. All have a statement of special educational needs. A few pupils are looked after by a range of local authorities and the proportion known to be eligible for the pupil premium (extra money provided to schools by the government) is well above the national average.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is an outstanding school. Pupils make outstanding progress, particularly in the key skills of literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology (ICT). Those with speech, language and communication needs make significant progress in developing their communication skills, both through the use of picture symbol cards and use of new technologies. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage make excellent progress, which enables them to proceed successfully to the next stage of their education and, in some instances, reintegrate into mainstream education. As a result of a rigorous and sustained focus on improvement by the headteacher and his deputy, the quality of teaching is now outstanding; this is a significant improvement since the previous inspection. Because of highly effective class management by staff, pupils’ attitudes to learning and behaviour are excellent. Learning is rarely affected by disruptive behaviour. In the school’s end of year questionnaires, the very large majority of pupils say they are well looked after. The headteacher provides highly effective leadership of the school, ensuring it meets fully its core aim of providing a safe and caring environment in which to develop pupils as individuals and maximise their learning. Fellow professionals speak highly of the impact of the school’s outreach service and the continuing professional development opportunities provided by the school’s Rainbow Court training centre. The governing body is outstanding in its role as a supportive and critical friend of the school.