Greys Education Centre

Name Greys Education Centre
Ofsted Inspection Rating Requires improvement
Inspection Date 11 February 2020
Address Manor Drive, Kempston, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK42 7AB
Phone Number 01234408477
Type Pupil Referral Unit
Age Range 5-16
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 41 (85% boys 15% girls)
Local Authority Bedford
Percentage Free School Meals 46.3%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

What is it like to attend this school?

At Greys Education Centre, pupils say they feel listened to and their attitude to learning is often positive. Adults support pupils appropriately and pupils’ behaviour does improve. Adults expect pupils to try their best in all they do.

Pupils respect staff and develop trusting relationships. Pupils say that they feel safe. They talk about how they are ‘recognised as individuals’ and treated with respect by adults. Bullying is rare. Pupils are that confident staff can help sort any issues out.

Pupils attend well. Many pupils have previously been excluded and some pupils have behaviours that can get them into trouble with those in authority. Pupils are encouraged to build their resilience through taking part in adventurous activities.

In the hospital provision, pupils receive increased hours with qualified teachers. Leaders provide support to other schools to try and stop pupils becoming excluded in the first place. When the pupils go back to regular school placements, leaders ensure that they are supported for a short time.

Pupils who stay longer at the school have a different experience. The curriculum chosen by leaders for these pupils is not broad. It is not ambitious or adapted well enough to meet these pupils’ needs.

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

Leaders want pupils to be well prepared for the next stage of their education. Reading, writing and mathematics are the focus for all pupils, with a few other subjects. Leaders initially designed this curriculum for short-stay pupils who would quickly return to mainstream school places. The school day is shorter, with less time for learning on one day a week. These arrangements are not effective for pupils who stay at the school in the longer term, for example in the Hive class. Furthermore, subject leaders do not have a clear overview of the subject they lead throughout the whole school.

Teachers help pupils develop a love of reading in the primary classes. They choose books that interest pupils. Pupils have the opportunity to read regularly to improve their skills. The school uses a phonics programme. However, adults in the secondary building have not been trained to help pupils who still need to learn to read.

Leaders have chosen a curriculum in Years 10 and 11 that is well planned. Older pupils can take a range of courses, from GCSEs through to construction qualifications. Leaders make sure that most pupils get education, employment or training places when they leave school. Careers information, advice and guidance are informative and inspiring. Employers visit the school regularly.

Staff have developed a range of experiences to build up pupils’ confidence. For example, pupils can go mountain biking or take up boxing within the school day. Younger pupils learn to swim.

When pupils start at the school, some have a limited ability to cope. Leaders modify pupils’ timetables initially to help pupils build their resilience. Pupils quickly move on to full timetables.

Leaders allow pupils to smoke on the school site at breaktimes. Parents and carers have repeatedly shared their serious concerns about this. The local authority that sends pupils to the school was not aware of the leaders’ decision about this. Other local authority advisers have previously requested that this practice stops. A number of pupils were seen smoking and they confirmed that it was a common occurrence.

The school has been through a period of expansion and the range of work has increased. Staff absence has been high. Experienced staff have left and other staff have had to take on new roles. Staff say they enjoy working at Greys. Much of their training is in-house. Some staff could not remember any specialist training they had received.

The local advisory board and trust board recognise the challenges facing all leaders. They did not act quickly enough to support leaders when staffing became an issue. Other issues have not been addressed. This has led to too many roles and responsibilities falling on too few people.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Staff are well trained and have a clear understanding of the local issues facing these vulnerable children. Leaders work well with other agencies, such as social services. Leaders are tenacious in trying to get the support that pupils need.

Child protection records are generally well kept but staff’s recording of concerns could be more rigorous. All the proper employment checks are in place for the adults working across the range of provisions.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

Pupils who are at Greys for the long term have a narrow curriculum. Leaders need to ensure that they provide a well-designed, broad and ambitious curriculum for all pupils. . Leaders have chosen to allow pupils to smoke on the school site at breaktimes. There is a statutory expectation that schools are no-smoking sites. Leaders must comply with the statutory expectations. Leaders must implement more effectivesupport for those pupils who smoke to ensure pupils’ successful reintegration into day-to-day educational life. . The capacity for leadership needs to be further improved. The trust must ensure that it provides timely support for its schools. The trust should respond appropriately to fluctuations in staffing to consistently deliver a high quality of education for all pupils. . Subject leaders do not have a clear overview of their subjects across all key stages. The trust must ensure that more staff are appropriately trained in leadership positions to support the complex needs of all the pupils.