Derrymount School

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About Derrymount School

Name Derrymount School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Cathy Clay
Address Churchmoor Lane, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 8HN
Phone Number 01159534015
Phase Special
Type Community special school
Age Range 3-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 93
Local Authority Nottinghamshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Some pupils have poor experiences in school. Sometimes, pupils are detained in a secure 'chill-out' room against their will.

Leaders said this is to protect pupils from themselves and others. Some pupils said that being placed in this room is very distressing.Staff routinely lock classroom doors.

Leaders say this is to protect those inside from other pupils who display challenging behaviours. When pupils struggle with their emotions, staff do not always help them to manage their own behaviour appropriately. Staff are too reliant on short-term methods, such as physical restraint and the chill-out room for some pupils.

These strategies are sometimes harmful to ...some pupils' dignity, safety and emotional well-being.Older pupils often use racist and misogynistic language towards others. They say it is 'just banter' that goes unchallenged by adults.

Girls are frequently subject to sexist and derogatory language from boys. Consequently, girls do not always like being at school.Pupils enjoy taking part in 'adventure schools', work experience and activity afternoons.

They like the choice of clubs on offer, and enjoy cooking and art.Sixth-form students are proud to be treated 'more like adults' and value having 'more freedom around school'. They have ambitious plans for their futures.

Some want to go to college and others want to go to work. They are proud of their work experience and say that the sixth form supports them in preparation for their next stage in life.

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

Leaders and those responsible for governance are not taking effective steps to support pupils to behave well.

Leaders do not monitor the frequency of, and reasons behind, poor behaviour. This means that they are unable to respond to support, with precision, pupils' behavioural needs. Leaders do not routinely review and update pupils' risk assessments each time a pupil is restrained and placed in the chill-out room.

There is little evidence to demonstrate that the use of restraint and the chill-out room is always in pupils' best interests or having a positive effect on pupils' behaviour.The quality of education across subjects and across the two sites, including in the sixth form, is variable.Leaders have prioritised developing pupils' love of reading.

Teachers have developed reading areas in classrooms and in the outdoor 'quad area' to make reading enjoyable. However, leaders have been too slow to address the weaknesses in the teaching of early reading. There is no curriculum in place for this, and teachers have not been well trained.

Teachers are left to decide for themselves how to teach early reading. Teachers do not routinely check what sounds pupils know and can remember. This means that pupils do not read from books which contain the sounds they know.

Most younger pupils cannot yet read fluently.In mathematics, leaders are yet to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of the pupils. Some pupils are unable to solve mathematical word problems because they cannot read well enough to be able to read the question.

This limits pupils' mathematical capabilities. In a range of other subjects, the curriculum does not clearly set out what pupils should know and be able to do. This also applies in the sixth-form provision.

However, in some other subjects, such as personal, social, health and citizenship education (PSHCE) and history, the curriculum is well planned. This supports pupils to build important knowledge over time in these subjects. Some pupils achieve accredited qualifications, such as GCSEs.

Some teachers in some subjects use 'I can' statements to check pupils' knowledge and understanding. However, leaders do not routinely check what pupils know and can remember across all subjects. This means that leaders cannot identify weaknesses to make the necessary improvements to the curriculum.

Leaders do not consider pupils' broader needs well enough. They do not use pupils' education, health and care (EHC) plans to support staff to deliver the curriculum effectively. Staff do not consider some pupils' wider needs, such as communication, sensory needs and fine and gross motor skills, as well as they should.

Staff do not routinely follow the school's behaviour policy. They do not always challenge pupils' poor behaviour or inappropriate language. This can affect the learning, or school experience, of other pupils.

Pupils have opportunities to volunteer in the community, for example at a local café. They enjoy options afternoons, when they can take part in activities such as adventure skills, art, dance and cooking. Pupils receive relationships, sex and health education that is well matched to their specific needs.

Staff speak positively about leaders' approach to supporting their workload. Staff feel supported and teachers are given time to carry out their duties.


The arrangements for safeguarding are not effective.

Leaders and governors do not always fulfil their statutory responsibilities relating to safeguarding. Leaders do not keep a close enough check on the well-being of all pupils while they are in school. They are unable to demonstrate that routinely locking classroom doors, physical restraint and use of the chill-out room are appropriate, effective or proportionate to the needs of the pupils.

Some aspects of safeguarding are effective. Staff are confident in raising concerns about a child. They know the signs to look out for.

Leaders take appropriate action in response to child protection concerns. They involve external agencies as appropriate. Child protection records are detailed and appropriate.

Leaders carry out the necessary employment checks on adults.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Governors have not fulfilled their statutory responsibilities in relation to safeguarding. They have not ensured that pupils' well-being is always promoted at the school.

They do not hold leaders to account for their actions. Governors should ensure that they are vigilant in carrying out their safeguarding responsibilities. ? Leaders do not support staff adequately to manage pupils' behaviour.

Leaders do not have oversight of the use of strategies such as physical intervention, the chill-out room or the locked classrooms. Leaders have not ensured that these strategies are always used appropriately or proportionately. As a result, pupils are routinely deprived of their liberty and dignity.

Pupils do not learn to manage their emotions and behaviour. Leaders should ensure that they establish a positive environment and high expectations for pupils' behaviour, and that these are applied consistently and fairly. ? Leaders have been too slow in tackling the weaknesses in the teaching of reading.

They have not ensured that all staff have the knowledge and skills that they need to teach reading effectively. Pupils are given books that do not match the sounds they know and they cannot read with fluency. Leaders should ensure that all staff teach reading well and that pupils get the support that they need to become confident, fluent readers.

• In some subjects, and across both sites, the curriculum is not always well planned and sequenced. Pupils do not build up an accumulation of knowledge and skills over time. Leaders need to ensure that the curriculum is well sequenced and sets out the key knowledge that pupils need to know and remember.

• Leaders and staff do not routinely check that the curriculum is being learned. This means that they are unable to recognise the weaknesses in the curriculum to inform them of the changes that need to be made. Leaders need to regularly check that pupils have learned the curriculum and adapt the curriculum according to what pupils need next.

• Leaders do not use pupils' EHC plans to support staff in the delivery of the curriculum. Some pupils' needs are overlooked. Leaders should ensure that staff know and understand pupils' wider needs beyond behaviour.

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