First Base Bury St Edmunds

Name First Base Bury St Edmunds
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
This inspection rating relates to a predecessor school. When a school, converts to an academy, is taken over or closes and reopens as a new school a formal link is created between the new school and the old school, by the Department for Education. Where the new school has not yet been inspected, we show the inspection history of the predecessor school, as we believe it still has significance.
Inspection Date 10 December 2014
Address Airfield Road, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP32 7PJ
Phone Number 01284762453
Type Academy
Age Range 3-8
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Local Authority Suffolk
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this school

Since the last inspection, the unit has moved to new purpose-built accommodation in Bury St Edmunds. The unit caters for up to 12 pupils between the ages of three and eight years who have significant behavioural, emotional and social needs. Occasionally, a Year 2 pupil who has been attending during the summer term and still needs extra support in the autumn term even though they are by then in Year 3, continues to attend the unit. However, no pupils are taken on if they are already in Year 3. At the time of the inspection, all pupils on the unit’s roll were in Reception, Year 1 or Year 2. It is rare for the unit to have a child of Nursery age. Pupils are usually dual registered with a primary school in West Suffolk. Pupils attend the unit for two days a week, spending the other three days in their mainstream school. The 12 pupils are taught in two groups of six, with a maximum of six in the unit at any one time. The unit’s main and significant aim is to reintegrate pupils back to their mainstream schools on a full-time basis. On average, pupils are in the unit for about two terms. Inclusion workers support pupils in their mainstream primary school and also work with staff in their schools, especially their class teachers, and parents. Typically, most pupils come from White British backgrounds. There are far more boys than girls in the unit. All pupils have special educational needs. None currently has an education, health and care plan. Many pupils have speech and language difficulties and some have autism spectrum disorders, though not all needs have been diagnosed when pupils begin. 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 number of pupils known to be eligible for a free school meal and/or to be in the care of the local authority varies. At the time of the inspection, the proportion, at about a third, was above average. 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’s main full-time teacher left at the end of last half-term. Temporary arrangements have been in place since the start of November 2014. The unit is in the process of recruiting a full-time, permanent teacher to begin in January 2015. Longer-term plans are in the process of being developed to create a partnership with other local schools and pupil referral units.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is an outstanding school. The headteacher provides exceptional leadership. She sets very high standards but also provides highly effective support to all staff to help them to meet her very high expectations for pupils’ learning, progress and behaviour. The quality of the unit’s work has improved even more since the last inspection. Marking and feedback to pupils are even sharper and more precise. The management committee works in very close partnership with the unit and its staff to ensure that pupils receive the best provision possible. Teaching is outstanding not least because : teachers and inclusion staff work as a closely knit team to provide a finely balanced mix of support for behaviour and support for learning. Work is carefully tailored so that it is pitched at just the right level for each individual pupil in the unit. Hence, pupils achieve outstandingly well. The provision for early years is outstanding. Activities are skilfully put together to help children get the most out of them. Children in the early years make considerable strides forward in developing early literacy and numeracy skills due to the high quality provision. Staff are highly effective in assessing pupils’ ongoing progress and breaking tasks down into small steps that pupils can work on successfully. Pupils make significant improvements in their behaviour and learn to manage it themselves. Consequently, they are able to go back to their mainstream schools on a full-time basis. The strong focus on improving behaviour goes hand-in-hand with improving pupils’ learning and achievement. Pupils’ success in learning gives them confidence and a sense of achievement. This instils a desire to do even better. The high level of success in reintegrating pupils back into their primary schools is also down to the exceptional work staff do with parents and the pupils’ home schools. As a result, pupils experience the same, consistent demands on them in relation to their behaviour, as well as expectations of their learning, at home, in the unit and in their mainstream schools. The unit gives a very high priority to pupils’ safety. They are exceptionally well cared for and looked after. Pupils learn how to be kind to one another.