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Pupils enjoy an abundance of rich and exciting opportunities at this school. The school includes and values every pupil. There is a 'can-do' culture where staff ensure that pupils, no matter what their special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are, take a full and active part in school life.
Pupils excel at Elms Bank due to the school's high expectations of them. Staff harness pupils' interests and talents, and nurture these over time. When pupils move into the sixth form, they can undertake vocational courses.
For example, some students use their hairdressing skills to help the Year 11 pupils look their best for the school prom. Students are exceptionally ...well prepared for their next steps when they leave the school.
Pupils are very proud of the school choir.
The choir has performed at various venues, including music festivals and theatres, and has also appeared on television. The whole school takes part in an annual school production. Some pupils make props or costumes, others act, sing or dance.
All pupils have the opportunity to take part in challenging and exciting activities, such as rock climbing and kayaking on their residential trips.
The school and the trust have ensured that pupils' and staff's well-being lie at the heart of all that they do. Pupils learn to manage their emotions and behaviour.
They know how to be good friends, how to say sorry and how to work and play well together. Pupils love their school, and their big smiles show how happy, safe and settled they are.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
The curriculum is ambitious, and extremely well designed to meet pupils' wide range of needs.
Teachers and staff adapt the curriculum to ensure that all pupils engage in learning and achieve highly. Teachers use assessment information well to inform and shape future teaching. They are innovative and creative in their choice of activities, which inspire pupils' curiosity and a love of learning.
Reading is a priority in this school. All pupils enjoy daily reading. Pupils are immersed in a language-rich environment.
Staff use their phonic knowledge well to support pupils at the early stage of reading. Pupils gain the knowledge that they need to read for pleasure and to enjoy a wide range of literature.
The school is a calm and happy place.
There is a strong focus on rewards and praise. Pupils feel proud of the merits they earn, for example by using good manners, being kind and working well. The weekly assembly celebrates each class and their individual achievements.
Pupils behave exceptionally well.
Pupils in the school have a wide range of complex SEND. The school ensures that all staff gain the knowledge and skills they need to understand and support the needs of all pupils with dignity, care and respect.
Education, health and care (EHC) plans are an integral part of pupils' learning. There is a seamless connection between the EHC plans and the school curriculum. This helps pupils to achieve and often exceed their personal EHC plan goals.
The school goes above and beyond to promote and encourage the personal development of pupils. Pupils learn about physical as well as mental health. They know how to stay safe online and understand what factors contribute to a positive relationship.
The school consulted widely with the local community, including with all faith sectors, to inform and develop the relationships and sex education curriculum. This has ensured that pupils receive the right information at the right time that they need to keep themselves safe.
The school has a robust and highly effective careers programme that links seamlessly with the work to prepare pupils for adulthood.
In the sixth form, there is a strong focus on students developing independence and life skills. Students undertake vocational courses in catering, hair and barbering, horticulture and sport. They also take part in work experience placements in a variety of professions.
The internship programme based in a local hospital is well established and successful. Students have secured paid employment or voluntary work in a number of roles within the hospital and the community, including in retail work, catering and administration.
Trustees have ensured that there is challenge and accountability at all levels of management.
A board of governors holds leaders to account effectively. The trust has developed an outreach team to work with local schools outside of the trust to share expertise around SEND.
The school makes sure that it considers the workload and well-being of staff when it makes decisions or introduces change.
Staff feel valued and well supported to carry out their roles effectively.
The school has developed strong partnerships with parents and carers to ensure that pupils attend school regularly and achieve the best possible outcomes.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
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