Fox Hollies School and Performing Arts College

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About Fox Hollies School and Performing Arts College

Name Fox Hollies School and Performing Arts College
Ofsted Inspections
Address Highbury Community Campus, Queensbridge Road, Birmingham, B13 8QB
Phone Number 01214646566
Type Special
Age Range 11-19
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 108 (73.1% boys 26.9% girls)
Local Authority Birmingham
Percentage Free School Meals 58.8%
Percentage English is Not First Language 36.1%
Persistent Absence 23.4%
Pupils with SEN Support 0%
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Fox Hollies is a school focused on helping pupils find 'their place in the community'. All staff are dedicated to supporting young people to overcome barriers to learning.

Encouraging pupils to be independent is a top priority. Relationships lie at the heart of this very special school and there is a warm and caring environment. Consequently, learning is calm and purposeful.

Pupils are welcoming to visitors and eager to share what they have learned.

Every moment matters. A brand-new garden, new independent living skills flat and a new playground provide exciting learning areas.

A new library has re-established the foundations for a love of reading an...d books. Visiting poets, artists and circus skills workshops enrich and inspire the opportunities provided for the pupils.

Helping all pupils to be able to communicate with the world around them is a top priority.

All staff are dedicated to supporting young people to overcome their barriers to learning. Consequently, behaviour is positive across the school.

Leaders and staff closely monitor how the pupils interact together so that any perceived cases of bullying can be dealt with quickly.

Consequently, bullying is very rare.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

Since her appointment, the new headteacher, supported by a strong leadership team, has put in place a new curriculum and made a number of other positive changes. Staff and parents and carers are united in their praise for the developments that have taken place.

A new curriculum and 'pathway model' of learning have enthused all. There is a strong, shared focus on meeting pupils' special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) well and preparing them for the world around them. Leaders know that things still need to improve in some respects, but they are well on the way.

Staff quickly assess pupils' needs and put the provision in place to meet needs, focusing on overcoming any barriers to learning. For example, staff work hard to ensure that the pupils have suitable communication systems. The use of alternative and augmentative communication systems and signing ensure that pupils learn to, and can, make themselves understood.

Most staff patiently wait to find out what pupils want to say and respond when needed. There are, however, a few cases where staff overload pupils with too much language and do not give them enough time to understand what has been said to them.

Leaders have constructed a new curriculum that aims to build on what pupils know, understand and have experienced.

This curriculum is focused on building pupils' knowledge and understanding of the world around them. For example, the 'global learning' lessons start with their understanding of what they have experienced in Kings Heath to build up their knowledge about Birmingham as a city. However, some lesson content does not build precisely enough on what pupils know or have remembered from previous lessons.

This means that some pupils will struggle to understand because they do not have the prior knowledge that will help them understand that more complex knowledge.

Some pupils are part-way through learning to read when they start at Fox Hollies. Carefully chosen phonics programmes fill the gaps in what pupils have remembered from previous schools.

Symbols above text in books support some pupils to read fluently and confidently while still developing the ability to decode and read words. Staff also make sure that all pupils, whether they can read independently or not, are able to experience the pleasure of hearing a range of books being read aloud. For those pupils with the most profound and complex needs, sensory stories enthuse a love of texts and stories.

Subjects such as mathematics and personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) continue the focus on functional everyday living skills. For example, in the sixth form, leaders have developed a curriculum that promotes independent living skills such as cooking, cleaning and independent travel skills, and have also therefore developed a catch-up curriculum that prioritises these skills. However, on some occasions, staff do not always allow pupils to practise and test out their new-found knowledge because they intervene too quickly to support them.

Leaders make sure that the reasons for different behaviours are understood and the right plan is implemented where needed, so that pupils' needs are properly met. For example, personal profiles clearly identify what a pupil needs to be a calm, purposeful and successful learner.

Staff work hard to make sure that pupils are ready for the world around them.

Pupils experience weekly trips into the community. Pupils are currently preparing an exhibition that will be displayed in the Midlands Arts Centre as part of a Commonwealth Games youth project about building common ground between people with SEND and mainstream audiences. From Year 9, careers information, education, advice and guidance are provided for all pupils.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Through regular training, high expectations and strong communication systems, leaders have created a culture where children are safe. Weekly safeguarding team meetings involving all teachers raise the profile of those pupils who might be at risk.

Consequently, even minor concerns are flagged up quickly and acted on. Staff keep secure and detailed records relating to child protection. Leaders and governors make sure that all required pre-employment checks are in place.

Leaders are now working on making sure that their written policies for safeguarding match the strong practice across the school.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The school's curriculum is not yet sufficiently well sequenced in some subjects. However, it is clear from leaders' actions that they are in the process of bringing this about.

Leaders need to complete the process of reviewing the curriculum in all subjects within their identified timescale. For this reason, the transitional arrangements have been applied. ? The curriculum content for some subjects is not always clearly chosen to build on the prior knowledge and experience of the pupils.

This means that sometimes, more complicated concepts are introduced without pupils having the secure previous knowledge that they need in order to understand a more complicated concept. This means that learning is sometimes confusing for these pupils. Leaders should continue developing their curriculum to make sure that the chosen content builds on what pupils know, understand and remember.

• Not all teaching staff take the pupils' speech, language and developmental communication stage into account when presenting new information. While some staff regularly use signing, not all do. Some adapt their language to take into account the words and phrases that pupils understand, but not all do this.

Leaders should ensure that all interactions between staff and pupils are precisely matched to pupils' speech, language and communication knowledge. ? At times, staff provide too much support for pupils rather than helping them to develop their independence and their ability to solve problems, or to find out what they have learned, know and remember. Leaders should ensure that the promotion of learning behaviours is used to ensure that pupils can develop essential life skills and independent skills.