Fox Wood Special School

Name Fox Wood Special School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 14 May 2014
Address Holes Lane, Woolston, Warrington, Cheshire, WA1 4LS
Phone Number 01925811534
Type Special
Age Range 4-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Local Authority Warrington
Percentage Free School Meals 41.3%
Pupils with SEN Support 0%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this school

The school provides education and care for disabled pupils and for pupils with a wide range of special educational needs, the vast majority of whom have a statement of special educational need. Many pupils who attend have complex needs. Approximately 40 per cent of pupils who attend have autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) approximately a quarter profound and multiple learning difficulties and a further third have severe learning difficulties. Many also have a range of medical difficulties and all have communication difficulties. The vast majority of pupils who attend the school come from families of White British heritage, with a small number from minority ethnic groups. A larger than average proportion of pupils is eligible for support through the pupil premium, which provides additional funding for pupils known to be eligible for free school meals and those in the care of the local authority. The school has a range of awards and accreditations including the National Autistic Society Accreditation, Specialist School status for Communication and Interaction, Basic Skills Quality Mark, and Primary and Secondary Arts Award. The school is in the process of moving to a new location which they will share with students from another special school. Currently, sixth-form students already attend school at the new site. Since the last inspection, the school has been subject to an unusually high level of staff absence due to accident and illness. At the time of the inspection, the deputy headteacher had taken on the role of acting headteacher and the assistant headteacher was acting as her deputy. Four out of 13 permanent members of teaching staff were also absent.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school. Pupils across the school, including those who start in the Early Years Foundation Stage, achieve well whatever their starting points. Staff are highly skilled at understanding pupils’ often very complex needs. They ensure activities set enable pupils to make as much progress as possible both academically, and socially and emotionally. The sixth form is good. Students who attend make good progress and achieve well because of good teaching. The quality of teaching is nearly always good with examples of outstanding practice. As a result, pupils arrive at school eager to start another day’s learning. Staff use well any information on individual pupils’ previous learning to plan future learning and this maximises pupils’ progress. Pupils clearly enjoy coming to school as evidenced by their happy smiles as they greet staff on their arrival. Despite their very high level of needs, their behaviour is excellent and learning is almost never disrupted by incidents of difficult behaviour. Pupils spoken to were very keen to tell inspectors how safe and secure they felt in school. Comments included, ‘School is really, really good. It makes me happy because it’s like home.’ Leadership and management are good. Senior leaders, in partnership with governors, are focused on continually improving the school. They have through, for example, the introduction of a more accurate system for measuring pupils’ progress, increased pupils’ achievement levels since the previous inspection. It is not yet an outstanding school because : The most able pupils make less progress in mathematics than in English because work set is not always sufficiently challenging. Marking and feedback do not consistently give pupils sufficient guidance on how to identify the next steps needed to improve their work. Senior leaders do not always carry out checks on the quality of teaching sufficiently often. As a result, they are not always as aware as they should be of the quality of teaching in individual classrooms.