Farney Close School

Name Farney Close School
Website http://www.farneyclose.co.uk
Ofsted Inspection Rating Requires improvement
Inspection Date 03 December 2018
Address Bolney Court, Bolney, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH17 5RD
Phone Number 01444881811
Type Independent (special)
Age Range 9-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Local Authority West Sussex
Percentage Free School Meals 0.0%
Pupils with SEN Support 0%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this school

Farney Close School is smaller than the average independent residential special school. It is registered for up to 72 pupils aged from nine to 18. In March 2018, the registration was extended to include pupils aged nine and 10, but the school has not yet taken any pupils in this age range. There are currently 46 pupils on roll aged from 11 to 18. In September 2017, a new headteacher took over leadership of the school following the retirement of the previous, long-serving incumbent. He resigned after a year in post. In September 2018, the head of care stepped up to take on the role of acting headteacher. At the time of inspection, there were a number of staff fulfilling temporary leadership positions due to this situation and the absence, for health reasons, of the acting head of care. The governing body has also experienced turbulence. Several new members have joined recently. The chair of the governing body took up post in October 2018. All pupils have an education, health and care plan for their severe social, emotional and mental health needs. For many, this exhibits as behavioural difficulties. Almost all of the pupils board from Monday to Friday in the residential accommodation on site. The school’s aims are that, ‘all children and young people should have the opportunity to receive an education that supports each of them to become the best version of themselves.’ Pupils complete a ‘trial term’ at the school to check that Farney Close is the correct provision for them. For the vast majority of pupils, this is successful. The school works with the placing local authority, pupils and parents to secure appropriate alternative provision if the school turns out not to be the best fit for a pupil. A small number of pupils who are currently unable to attend school receive individual tuition off site. Students at the sixth form attend Crawley College to study from a wide range of accredited academic and/or vocational courses and to continue their English and mathematics studies, if required. Farney Close provides careers and life skills learning to support this. The last integrated inspection of the school and residential provision was carried out in November 2015.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a school that requires improvement Leaders have not systematically monitored the quality of provision across the school and so have not prevented its decline. They have been pulled into operational activities and have not fulfilled strategic leadership requirements. Leaders’ evaluation of the school’s effectiveness is weak. Consequently, their plans for school improvement are not effective. Pupils’ attendance has declined. Governors do not have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the school. They have not held leaders to account or ensured that they fulfil their strategic roles. Governors have not ensured that leaders meet the independent school standards consistently. Many were addressed during the inspection. Leaders do not undertake routine evaluation of risk assessments. The school has the following strengths Pupils are happy here. Many feel that their lives are improved due to the good care and support they receive from the dedicated staff. Staff know pupils well. They provide good personalised care and learning for pupils. Good-quality teaching means that pupils learn well and make good progress, both with their academic learning and personal development. Leaders have ensured that the curriculum is carefully matched to each pupil’s needs. It supports pupils’ learning and development well. Personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education supports pupils well and helps to develop their self-esteem and self-confidence. Sixth-form students benefit from personalised provision. They make good progress overall. Compliance with regulatory requirements and national minimum standards for residential special schools The school must take action to meet the requirements of the schedule to the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 and associated requirements. The details are listed in the full report.