Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children

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Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children

Name Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 25 June 2012
Address 4 Wollstonecraft Street, Kings Cross, London, N1C 4BT
Phone Number 02073917040
Type Special
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 34 (40% boys 60% girls)
Local Authority Camden
Percentage Free School Meals 43.8%
Percentage English is Not First Language 100%
Persisitent Absence 19.4%
Pupils with SEN Support 5.9%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about the school

Frank Barnes Primary School is a smaller than average special school. It caters for profoundly deaf children in the London Borough of Camden as well as taking children from many other London boroughs. Nearly all pupils travel to and from the school by local authority transport. About three quarters of pupils are from ethnic minority backgrounds and many come from families where English is their second language. All teaching is through the medium of British Sign Language. All pupils have a statement of special educational needs for hearing impairment or are being assessed for one. Over two thirds have additional needs, mainly associated with multi-sensory disabilities, learning difficulties and/or emotional and behavioural difficulties. The school moved to a new temporary site a year ago while awaiting the completion of a new school on a shared campus with a new primary school. The school holds the Investor in People and Healthy School Awards. There is provision for children from the age of two in the Early Years Foundation Stage class.

Key findings

Frank Barnes School is outstanding. It provides exceptional opportunities for deaf pupils, enabling them to take a full and active part in all that the school offers. The school has maintained its strengths and has improved the assessment system and the curriculum since the last inspection. The vast majority of pupils, including those with additional special needs, achieve outstandingly well. They make excellent progress in developing their communication skills, many of them using British Sign Language fluently and accurately. Progress in reading, writing and mathematics is excellent, from often low or very low starting points. Reading skills have improved recently because of the sharp focus on the teaching of visual phonics (matching letters and sounds through pictures, photographs and lip shapes). Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage also make excellent progress. Teaching is outstanding. The very high quality of attention paid to the teaching of British Sign Language extends pupils’ language skills very well and ensures that they have equal access to a rich and exciting range of learning opportunities that fully meet their needs and abilities. Assessment procedures are rigorous and pupils know their targets very well. Behaviour is outstanding because pupils have highly positive attitudes to learning. Pupils are very well cared for and they and their parents and carers overwhelmingly, and rightly, say that the school is safe and secure. They are confident that behaviour is excellent. Attendance has improved and is now above average. The headteacher has successfully led the school through the move to the current temporary site. Together with other leaders and the governing body, she has created an exceptionally supportive ethos in which all groups of pupils flourish. Leadership of teaching and management of teaching are excellent. The rich new curriculum supports pupils’ excellent spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, although the application of some key skills, particularly in numeracy, is not yet embedded across subjects. Leaders know the school’s strengths and weaknesses and recognise the issue identified for improvement in this report.