Firwood High School

Name Firwood High School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
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 28 November 2012
Address Stitch MI Lane, Bolton, Lancashire, BL2 4HU
Phone Number 01204333044
Type Academy (special)
Age Range 11-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Academy Sponsor Woodbridge Trust
Local Authority Bolton
Percentage Free School Meals 42.3%
Percentage English is Not First Language 31.8%
Persisitent Absence 38.1%
Pupils with SEN Support 1.5%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this school

The school provides for students with complex learning difficulties. A high proportion has challenging behaviour. The main categories of need are severe learning difficulty, profound and multiple learning difficulty and autistic spectrum condition. Many students have additional medical and special education needs. The school moved to new, purpose-built accommodation in April 2012. It shares its site with Bolton St Catherine’s Academy. The school shares several facilities, such as Reception and the restaurant. The headteacher and Chair of the Governing Body of the academy are members of the school’s governing body. Students enter Firwood High from a number of local authority special and mainstream schools. The local authority is responsible for placing students at the school. Most students are boys and are of White British heritage. The proportion of students known to be eligible for free school meals is higher than average and five students are in the care of the local authority. The school receives the additional government funding known as the pupil premium for these students. The school has achieved many awards and accreditations including, most recently, the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust Quality Standard awards for parental engagement (gold), cultural diversity (gold), and its Research Charter Mark.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school. It sets the standard for the inclusion and integration of severely disabled young people. From low and often very low starting points students make good progress in learning. Parents are delighted with the progress their children make and in their happiness at school. The sixth form is outstanding. It prepares the young people exceptionally well for life beyond school, including moving into paid employment. A relatively high proportion of students have very challenging behaviour. The school is exceptionally effective in supporting these students. Teaching is good. Some is outstanding. Teamwork between teachers, teaching assistants and welfare staff is exceptional. The commitment to students is of the highest order. Students feel safe, and their personal development is outstanding. The move to a new building that is fully integrated with a mainstream school was a bold step. It has gone well. Teachers are developing their practice to make the most of the state-of-the-art facilities now available to them. Leadership is exceptional. Governance is good. Leaders are clear-sighted, determined and effective in their pursuit of what is best for the students. Very effective leadership is also demonstrated by the assistant headteachers. The school is outward looking and makes a significant positive contribution to understanding disability well beyond the school boundary. The school is in an excellent position to improve further and become an outstanding school. It is not yet an outstanding school because : Teachers have not yet fully adapted to new ways of teaching made possible within the new building, making best use of its new facilities in art, science, technology, music and physical education.