First Base


Name First Base
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 08 October 2014
Address 34 Ashley Downs, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR32 4EX
Phone Number 01502512963
Type Pupil Referral Unit
Age Range 3-8
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1 (100% boys)
Local Authority Suffolk
Percentage Free School Meals 100%

Information about this school

The unit caters for up to 12 pupils, between the ages of four and eight, who have significant social, emotional and behavioural needs. At the time of the inspection, there were no children in the Early Years Foundation Stage. Pupils attend the unit for two days a week, spending the other three days in their mainstream school. The unit has a responsibility to reintegrate pupils back into their mainstream schools on a full-time basis. Most pupils are in the unit for between two to three terms. Some require longer and, occasionally, some are able to return to school sooner on a full-time basis. The behaviour support staff assist pupils when they are in their mainstream school, as well as providing support to other pupils in primary schools who have behavioural needs but do not attend the unit. Typically all, or nearly all, pupils come from White British backgrounds. There are far more boys than girls in the unit. All pupils are supported at school action plus, have a statement of special educational needs or education, health and care plans. Many pupils have autism spectrum disorders, though not all have been diagnosed when they begin. Some have speech and language difficulties or attention deficit disorders. The unit does not currently receive any pupil premium funding, which is additional government funding for children in the care of the local authority and pupils known to be eligible for free school meals. The numbers of pupils known to be eligible for a free school meal and/or to be in the care of the local authority are very high. The unit also does not receive any primary school physical education and sport funding. This is government funding to encourage primary-aged pupils to become active and healthy. The unit has an acting headteacher, who has been in post for over two years. The unit became part of the North Suffolk Pupil Referral Partnership on the 1st September 2014. An executive headteacher took up post at the same time. The Federation is in the process of appointing a head of school who will take up post in January 2015 when the acting headteacher retires. There has been some instability in the teaching staff over the last six months.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school. The unit’s leadership team sets high standards for its work and ensures that provision and outcomes are improving continuously. Pupils work hard in lessons and achieve well over time. This is because there is good support for pupils’ social, behavioural and emotional development. This helps pupils to become ready for, and actively engage with, their learning. Good teaching and highly effective support for pupils’ personal development contribute to the good progress pupils make in English, especially reading, and mathematics. Staff have a very good understanding of the pupils’ individual educational needs. They are skilled in providing the right kind of support for different categories of special need. Pupils gain a huge sense of personal achievement when they succeed in their learning. They enjoy successes enormously and their sense of pride in themselves is very evident. Pupils are happy and feel very safe in the unit, and parents agree. This reflects the exceptionally good care provided by staff in the unit. During their time at the unit pupils learn to understand more about their own behaviour and how to manage it better. Provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage is good. Children have good access to practical activities both inside and outdoors. The acting headteacher has managed recent changes to staffing well. Good standards of teaching have not only been maintained but are being improved upon. The acting headteacher has established excellent relationships with parents and local primary schools. The management committee has a good understanding of the unit’s work. It has played an active role in the development of a recent federation with two other local pupil referral units. It is not yet an outstanding school because : Teaching is not outstanding yet because : occasionally pupils are kept waiting for work and more-able pupils are not challenged enough. When work is marked, it is not always clear what pupils need to do to improve. Staff do not take every opportunity to promote pupils’ use of literacy. Members of the management committee are not quite as secure in interpreting progress data as they are other information about the unit’s performance.