Highfield School

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About Highfield School

Name Highfield School
Website http://www.highfield-school.co.uk
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Rebecca Thompson
Address Gawthorpe Lane, Ossett, WF5 9BS
Phone Number 01924264240
Phase Special
Type Foundation special school
Age Range 11-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 191
Local Authority Wakefield
Highlights from Latest Inspection


Highfield School continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Highfield School prepares pupils with a wide range of special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) effectively for adulthood. The curriculum is shaped according to the needs of pupils. It meets their social, behavioural and academic needs well.

By the time pupils and students leave school, the school puts plans in place to help them to thrive in the future. Staff build pupils' life skills by helping them to cook through 'shop-cook-eat' and by developing their financial independence at the school bank.

Leaders plan for pupils' personal development particularly well.

Pupil...s are part of the local community. They dress May Day floats, take part in interfaith week and contribute to national events, such as the Coronation. Staff weave these experiences into the life of the school.

Leaders plan thoughtfully to help pupils to develop their understanding of what it is to be a citizen in Britain today.

Pupils know what it is to be kind to one another. They treat each other well.

Pupils feel happy and safe. Those who struggle to behave are supported to do so, with some receiving additional help from staff in 'the hut'.

Members of staff know their pupils as individuals, understand their specific needs and plan to help them develop their knowledge well at Highfield School.

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

Pupils learn in one of four different curriculum pathways according to their needs. Where pupils' needs are primarily behavioural and social, the curriculum supports pupils' development increasingly well. Where pupils are able to learn different subjects, leaders plan well to meet both their SEND needs and to teach subject knowledge.

In each pathway, leaders have thought carefully about what skills they want pupils to develop. The pathways are ambitious.

For example, in English, pupils' communication and understanding develops well across their time in school.

Staff use a variety of communication tools to help pupils to express themselves. The school puts an effective programme in place for pupils who are developing their phonics awareness to help them to read.

Subject trackers break down the skills pupils need to help teachers plan individual next steps for pupils, for example in spelling, grammar and writing.

This is the case in several subjects. Although the development of skills is addressed well across the curriculum, the precise subject knowledge that teachers want pupils to learn is not clearly identified. On occasion, this lack of precision creates gaps in pupils' knowledge.

The extent to which the curriculum supports pupils' personal development is impressive. The personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum is tailored extremely well to the needs of pupils. Pupils learn how to be kind, how to keep themselves safe and how to make sensible choices.

Outdoor education supports this. All pupils can practise archery and go on bike rides, regardless of physical ability. Pupils develop their social and communication skills by negotiating obstacle courses and tunnels.

Leaders ensure that pupils gain a wide range of experiences, including the theatre, cinema and outdoor visits.

Leaders understand that preparing pupils for adult life is extremely important for the pupils in their care. Where possible, students in the sixth form access qualifications.

Pupils across the school develop a wide range of life skills in 'the flat'. Travel training and financial awareness have a high priority. The school ensures that pupils receive appropriate careers education and guidance.

Pupils and students in the sixth form leave school with clear and ambitious pathways for the future.

Pupils are taught what good behaviour looks like. Pupils strive to meet teachers' expectations in relation to how they behave towards others.

The school is a calm, friendly and focused environment. Pupils attend school regularly and often.

Leaders generally take staff workload into account.

Staff are committed to helping the pupils in their care.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In some areas of the curriculum, the precise knowledge that the school wants pupils to learn is not clearly identified.

This lack of precision can create gaps in pupils' knowledge. The school should ensure that the precise knowledge that pupils are expected to learn is clearly identified across pathways and different subjects.


When we have judged a school to be good, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good.

This is called an ungraded inspection, and it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on an ungraded inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.

This is the first ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be good in May 2018.

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