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|Name||Fountain House Education Suite|
|Mr Matthew Palmer|
|Address||Fountain House, 157 Beeston Road, Leeds, LS11 6AW|
|Type||Other independent special school|
|Number of Pupils||4 (75% boys 25% girls)|
What is it like to attend this school?
The school’s values of respect, adaptability, integrity, support and excellence spread through all that the school offers. Staff subscribe wholeheartedly to these values in all that they do, building exceptional relationships with the pupils in their care. Pupils receive strong therapeutic and pastoral support. They enjoy school and feel safe in this nurturing setting.
Leaders in this school have high expectations of the pupils in their care, and pupils achieve well. Before joining the school, all pupils have spent a significant amount of time either attending other schools on a part-time basis or rarely attending school at all. When they join the school, staff check pupils’ academic starting points and provide a tailored curriculum that meets their needs.
Bullying is rare. Pupils feel confident to talk to a member of staff if they have any worries or concerns. Pupils’ attendance is excellent. Staff have high expectations of pupils’ behaviour. Pupils’ behaviour improves significantly when they join the school. Although behaviour incidents still occur, they significantly reduce over time when compared with pupils’ starting points.
Opportunities for pupils to develop their talents and interests are exceptional. The impressive range of enrichment activities helps to develop pupils’ character and self-esteem well.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders have developed a broad and ambitious curriculum for all pupils. Staff check that pupils understand what they have been taught. Pupils respond well to the feedback that they receive from their teachers. Most pupils are taught on a one-to-one basis. This means that most of the time, pupils’ misconceptions or gaps in knowledge are picked up swiftly. However, sometimes pupils’ misunderstandings are not addressed. This is because, in some cases, teachers lack the subject knowledge they need to support pupils as well as they could. In some subjects, the essential knowledge that pupils must learn in detail is not clearly identified.
There is a strong focus on improving pupils’ spelling and handwriting skills when they join the school. Pupils receive additional intervention and support to improve their handwriting skills. Teachers use a range of effective resources to support pupils’ learning, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. For instance, during the inspection, a teacher used a virtual reality headset to help a pupil to understand the purpose of a church altar when a visit to a church was not possible at that time.
Leaders have prioritised the teaching of reading. Most pupils enjoy reading and they read regularly. When pupils show an interest in a book, teachers adapt lessons to include themes from this book across the curriculum. When pupils join the school, their reading needs are quickly diagnosed. Those pupils who cannot read fluently are taught phonics every day. However, staff are not trained in the school’s new phonics programme. Pupils who are learning to read are not always supported as well as they should be. The books that pupils are given to practise reading are not consistently matched to the sounds that they know.
There are demonstrable improvements in pupils’ behaviour when they join the school. Staff are caring and calm when pupils’ behaviour escalates. Pupils take pride in their work and the presentation of their work. They are enthused by the school’s reward systems. Inspectors observed teachers using the school’s reward systems consistently. Pupils told inspectors that when they misbehave or have a difficult day, they can start again. Pupils know that each day is a fresh start. Pupils said that staff ‘come back and love us every day.’
When pupils join the school, their attendance significantly improves. Pupils enjoy attending school. They told inspectors that teachers make learning fun and do everything they can to support them. Inspectors agree that this is the case.
Pupils actively participate in the myriad of enrichment activities on offer. These are based on pupils’ individual interests and talents. For instance, pupils enjoy learning about planting, tending to crops and animals, and foraging when they attend a farm with staff as part of their curriculum. The school goes beyond the expected so that pupils have a rich range of experiences. Pupils gain accreditation in a variety of enrichment activities, such as communicating in Spanish, fundraising for charity, reading for pleasure, using athletic skills, computer coding and taking part in a musical production. Pupils enjoy receiving certificates for their enrichment activities. They are excited to build up a portfolio of their achievements that they can take with them when they leave the school.
At the time of the inspection, there were no secondary-age pupils on the school’s roll. The proprietors have the capacity to meet the needs of secondary-age pupils by providing impartial careers advice and guidance should the need arise.
Pupils learn about public institutions in England, such as the police service, fire brigade and Parliament. They have a growing understanding of the importance of fundamental British values. Pupils told inspectors that they enjoy learning about different religions and cultures. For instance, they enjoy World Day for Cultural Diversity, when they learn about cultures that are different from their own. Pupils feel confident to share their opinions through weekly student council meetings. Pupils enjoy contributing to their local community, undertaking activities such as litter-picking in the community.
Leaders have ensured that there is an accessibility plan. The school meets the requirements of the Equality Act 2010. The proprietor ensures that the necessary health and safety checks are completed on the building.
The proprietors have high expectations of staff. All staff are proud to work at the school. The headteacher and the proprietors ensure that staff workload and well-being are carefully considered. Staff feel well supported in managing pupils’ behaviour. All staff attend regular training and weekly meetings with the relevant clinicians to inform them about individual pupils’ needs and how they are best able to support them.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
All staff complete a wide range of safeguarding training. They understand the school’s safeguarding reporting systems well. They are aware of the local safeguarding risks to pupils in their care, as well as any further identified risks. Pupils are taught about online safety and how to stay safe when offline. A clinician supports the social and emotional needs of pupils.
The school’s safeguarding policy is available on the school’s website. It is in line with current government guidance. Leaders ensure that necessary checks are carried out on staff before they join the school.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and proprietor)
? In some subjects, there are broad learning objectives in place but the small pieces of essential knowledge that pupils need to know have not been identified clearly. This means that sometimes, pupils are not able to use what they know when they are learning something new. Leaders must ensure that the school’s curriculum clearly identifies the essential knowledge in each subject that pupils need to know and in what order. ? Staff do not have the subject-specific knowledge they need to deliver all aspects of the school’s curriculum. This may prevent pupils from achieving as well as they could. Leaders must ensure that all staff are able to access appropriate subject-specific training so they have the knowledge to teach the school’s new curriculum well, and pupils’ learning is supported effectively. ? Staff have not received training in the school’s new phonics programme. This means that pupils who are not fluent readers do not catch up as quickly as they could. The books that pupils read do not consistently match the sounds that they know. Leaders should ensure that all staff are trained in the school’s phonics programme and books are well matched to the sounds that pupils know so that all pupils are consistently supported to read well.