Gretton School


Name Gretton School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 14 January 2020
Address Manor Farm Road, Girton, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB3 0RX
Phone Number 01223277438
Type Independent (special)
Age Range 5-19
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 105 (91% boys 9% girls)
Local Authority Cambridgeshire
Percentage Free School Meals 0.0%
Pupils with SEN Support 0%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils do well at this school. Leaders ensure that pupils’ academic and personal development is central to the school’s work. For many pupils, this is the first time they have felt settled. At Gretton, pupils have found a school where most are happy and can be themselves.

Pupils have positive relationships with adults. Staff make pupils feel valued from the moment they join the school. Staff carefully plan individual programmes so that pupils receive the help and support outlined in their education, health and care plans (EHC plans). Each morning, pupils receive a personal greeting from staff at the school gate. Adults are kind and skilful when speaking with pupils with complex special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Leaders have high expectations of what pupils can achieve and provide well for their academic achievement. Pupils gain qualifications from key stage 3. Pupils try hard with their learning in lessons. Adults support pupils well when required. Pupils build self-confidence and skills, so they can work with increasing independence. Leaders prepare pupils well for the next stage of their education or employment.

Pupils say that they have experienced bullying elsewhere in the past. The longer they remain at this school, pupils trust that adults will listen and act on any concerns they have. Older pupils understand that adults will not tolerate bullying of any sort. This is a school where pupils’ differences are easily celebrated.

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

Pupils are valued. Leaders understand each individual’s needs and plan each pupil’s start at Gretton School carefully. These plans are regularly reviewed until pupils attend school full time. Often, pupils have not had an easy time previously in the education system. Many have lost years of education and some have significant gaps in their learning. Pupils make rapid gains at this school.

There is appropriate breadth to the curriculum. Pupils have the opportunity to learn well, and leaders offer courses that appeal to pupils’ interests. Pupils gain qualifications as soon as they are ready. Leaders want pupils to be successful and grow in confidence and self-esteem. Leaders prepare older pupils in the sixth form well for moving on to college, university or the workplace.

Teachers have appropriate subject knowledge. They use assessment increasingly well before and during lessons. For younger pupils, teachers adapt the learning in lessons effectively, keeping pupils focused. By the time pupils are in the secondary phase, the need for one-to-one support reduces. Pupils are more confident and skilled to work independently or with their peers.

Leaders have introduced a team that delivers a range of therapeutic approaches into all aspects of learning and daily school life. For example, occupational therapy isprovided in classes. Pupils often have specialist equipment which helps them remain in their class to enjoy learning.

Pupils learn and recall facts well. In English, for example, pupils read well and are taught to read with expression. Leaders are upgrading reading books, so pupils develop a greater love of reading. Leaders have plans to introduce a new programme to teach phonics. This is so that all pupils experience a more consistent approach to learning the knowledge they need to read well.

In some subjects, such as science, leaders have ensured that there is a clear link in the curriculum from the primary phase into Years 7 and 8. The curriculum is planned and delivered effectively. However, the sequence of learning requires further refinement to ensure that all pupils learn well. This is particularly the case in subjects such as personal, social, health and emotional (PSHE) development between key stages 2 and 3.

The school provides a wealth of experience for pupils’ personal and emotional development. Pupils especially enjoy their outdoor learning. Staff are trained and effectively support pupils to take measured risks with their learning. Pupils who become rangers take their responsibilities seriously. These pupils develop skills of leadership that are useful for their own future success.

Similarly, pupils develop leadership skills through their elected roles on the school council. Some pupils work with others from mainstream schools as part of theyoung leaders programme. In sports, pupils compete with pupils from other special schools. They compete to at least county standard in boccia.

Leaders are rightly proud of the residential trips that pupils experience. Older pupils have successfully travelled abroad to places such as Krakow. Younger pupils have opportunities to spend time away from home at an outdoor activity centre.

Pupils generally behave well. Pupils are supervised well at the start of the day and at breaktimes. Staff deal with any problems swiftly to prevent issues escalating. On occasion, adults have to intervene physically. Well-kept records show that the number of interventions is reducing over time. Staff and pupils are routinely offered time to talk about any incidents.

The proprietorial body ensures that leaders consistently meet the independent school standards. Its directors work closely with school leaders to ensure that pupils build knowledge and skills to achieve well. Directors continue to update the facilities for pupils. Currently, building works are well under way for the construction of new science, art, and design and technology specialist classrooms.

The views of parents and carers are very mixed. Many appreciate the work of school leaders and staff. They understand how well their children settle, learn and achieve over time. Yet, a significant minority would like to be more involved in the life of the school. Some parents would like improved communication about how well their childis progressing and what is being taught. A few parents want to be reassured about recent staff changes and how leaders ensure that there is consistency in teaching.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders responsible for safeguarding are appropriately trained. They have ensured that all staff are well trained and know how to identify and report any concerns they may have. School policies are appropriate. Staff use the school’s system effectively.

Key staff know those pupils who are most vulnerable and work carefully with other agencies to provide support. The local authority has recently checked that appropriate systems and safety procedures are in place.

Leaders have good systems in place to check the suitability of staff to work with children.

Staff are trained in first aid and providing appropriately for pupils’ complex medical needs.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and proprietor)

Curriculum leaders have ensured that their subjects are well planned. In some subjects, such as PSHE, pupils experience a different scheme of work when they move into the secondary school. Leaders should ensure that the transition in learning between key stages 2 and 3 is smoother. . Some parents are not clear about the recent changes at the school. They want to understand what their child is learning and to receive more regular information about how well their child achieves academically. Leaders should provide parents with relevant information about the curriculum and pupils’ achievement across the school. . Leaders should continue to develop the teaching of phonics for younger pupils. Leaders need to continue providing more opportunities for more pupils to develop a love of reading for pleasure.