Greenbank School

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About Greenbank School

Name Greenbank School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Michael McCann
Address Greenbank Lane, Hartford, Northwich, CW8 1LD
Phone Number 01606663820
Phase Special
Type Community special school
Age Range 11-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 116
Local Authority Cheshire West and Chester
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are happy and safe at Greenbank School. They told inspectors that staff support them well.

This helps pupils to believe in themselves.

Pupils described the many 'fun' activities that they experience at school or in the residential provision after school, such as learning to shop or cook for themselves. Pupils benefit from these, and other, carefully selected opportunities.

They grow in confidence and independence.

The school is a calm and harmonious place. Pupils get on well with each other.

They learn how to respect each other's differences and points of view. Leaders quickly identify any incidents of bullying and deal with them well....

Leaders have high expectations for pupils' behaviour and attitudes to school.

Pupils are polite and respectful. They embrace the welcoming and supportive culture that leaders have established. Pupils can be trusted to move around the school independently and safely.

Leaders' expectations of what some older pupils, and students in the sixth form, can and should achieve are not high enough. Pupils, including students in the sixth form, do not achieve as well as they should.

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

All pupils in this school have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Many pupils begin the school in Year 7 with gaps in their knowledge. Many pupils also lack confidence in their ability to learn. Leaders and other staff get to know pupils well.

Over time, they accurately identify and address any newly emerging SEND. Staff provide effective strategies to help pupils to manage the anxieties that they experience because of their SEND.

Leaders provide a broad and suitably ambitious key stage 3 curriculum.

The curriculum in Year 7 helps pupils to re-engage with their learning. For example, pupils develop and strengthen their reading and mathematical knowledge. This provides pupils with a strong foundation from which to access the wider curriculum.

Across key stage 3, pupils develop their knowledge sufficiently well in many subjects.

The curriculum for pupils in key stage 4 and the sixth form lacks ambition. Leaders have not thought enough about the essential knowledge that pupils should learn as they progress from key stage 3.

Leaders do not take sufficient account of what pupils already know and can do. They do not ensure that pupils and students build on what they have already learned. Leaders focus primarily on preparing these pupils for nationally recognised qualifications.

However, this narrow focus does not help pupils to develop the deep body of subject knowledge required to achieve well across the curriculum or for future study.

In key stage 4 and the sixth form, leaders do not ensure that staff use assessment systems as effectively as they should to identify pupils' misconceptions. This is because teachers are not clear about the knowledge that pupils should learn and when this should be taught.

This hinders teachers' ability to design learning that addresses these misconceptions.

Teachers are adept at identifying and addressing gaps in pupils' reading knowledge. Pupils across key stage 3 benefit from the school's consistently well delivered phonics programme.

Teachers skilfully support pupils in key stage 4 who continue to find reading more difficult for as long as they need it. As a result, pupils are able to work out what unfamiliar words say. This prepares them well for learning new vocabulary.

Leaders provide a well-thought-out programme to support pupils' wider personal development. The range of opportunities that leaders provide helps pupils to build up their resilience. Pupils learn to overcome some of the difficulties that they experience because of their SEND.

For example, pupils develop useful independent living skills, including strong social and communication skills. They benefit from well-organised careers information, advice and guidance. Older pupils take part in work experience linked to their interests and talents.

This helps pupils to prepare well for adulthood.

Leaders ensure that pupils learn how to self-regulate their behaviour and manage their anxieties. Staff provide clear guidance to support pupils to develop positive attitudes about their own ability.

This helps pupils to be ready to learn and means that lessons are undisturbed.

Most pupils attend school regularly. Leaders have put in place effective support for the small numbers of pupils who do not attend school as regularly as they should.

Leaders work closely with staff, and parents and carers, to ensure that pupils are supported well. Parents value the support that they receive from leaders. Staff appreciate actions that leaders consistently take to help them to manage their workload and to promote their well-being.

Leaders and governors lack sufficient oversight of the quality of education that pupils receive. For example, they do not have an accurate enough picture of how well pupils across the school are building up their knowledge. Governors do not provide robust challenge to leaders, to ensure that pupils achieve as well as they could.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders ensure that pupils are kept safe. Staff know how to identify when a pupil is at risk of potential harm.

Staff record safeguarding incidents and concerns about pupils on the school's agreed system. However, sometimes staff do not ensure that these records are sufficiently detailed. This means that, on occasion, some pupils do not receive the support that they need quickly enough.

Added to this, leaders do not have an accurate oversight of the pattern of emerging safeguarding concerns or some pupils' unsafe behaviour. This sometimes prevents staff from putting in place appropriate preventative measures in response.

Leaders make sure that pupils learn about safe and unsafe relationships.

Pupils know what they should do if someone else's behaviour makes them feel uncomfortable.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Leaders' and governors' records of some safeguarding incidents hamper their ability to identify and address emerging safeguarding issues. This also means that on occasion, important information is not passed on quickly enough to relevant members of staff or to parents.

Leaders should ensure that staff are well equipped to record sufficient detail about their concerns about pupils. ? The curriculum in key stage 4 and in the sixth form is not suitably ambitious. Leaders have not thought carefully enough about what they want pupils to learn.

As a result, older pupils do not build on prior knowledge as well as they should. Leaders should ensure that teachers in key stage 4 and the sixth form are clear about the knowledge that pupils should learn and when this content should be taught. This is so that pupils can develop a deep and rich body of subject knowledge.

• Governors do not have sufficient oversight of the quality of education that pupils receive. As a result, they do not provide sufficient challenge and support to leaders. Governors should ensure that they strengthen their knowledge of how to hold leaders to account more effectively.

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