Horton Lodge Community Special School

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About Horton Lodge Community Special School

Name Horton Lodge Community Special School
Website http://www.hortonlodge.staffs.sch.uk
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Lucy Bloor
Address Rudyard, Leek, ST13 8RB
Phone Number 01538306214
Phase Special
Type Community special school
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 57
Local Authority Staffordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection


Horton Lodge Community Special School continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are happy at Horton Lodge Community Special School. They arrive at school smiling and excited.

Pupils' individual needs are well understood. They are well cared for by experienced staff.

The school's motto of 'working hand in hand to achieve potential' is realised here.

Staff work closely with parents, carers and agencies. Together, they have created a strong community of support around each pupil. As a result, each pupil thrives at this school.

Leaders have high expectations for pupils' behaviour. Staff see behaviour as a form of communicati...on. They take time to understand what pupils are communicating and, when necessary, provide quick and effective support.

This helps pupils to stay calm and settled in lessons and around school.

Strengthening independence and communication skills is central to pupils' learning. The school's approach of conductive education supports this.

Daily activities focus on targeted physical movement as part of the specialist curriculum for pupils.

Pupils experience a range of trips and activities. The school ensures that pupils with physical disabilities are able to access these opportunities.

For example, older pupils take part in adventurous activities during residential trips. They also visit the theatre. All this helps to promote pupils' independence further.

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

Since the last inspection, the school has made many positive changes. A new leadership team has focused on creating a curriculum that carefully meets the different needs of pupils. This curriculum is aspirational and has clear end points.

Improvements have been made in many subject areas, particularly mathematics. The curriculum is designed to promote pupils' communication, independence and movement successfully, including in the early years. However, in some areas of the curriculum, the school has not explicitly defined the knowledge, skills and vocabulary it wants pupils to learn to reach the ambitious end points of the curriculum.

In these areas of the curriculum, it is not clear in what order pupils will learn essential knowledge. This means that the knowledge of some pupils does not build over time in a logical way.

Most staff are highly skilled and specialised in planning lessons for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

All pupils have an education, health and care (EHC) plan to support their physical disabilities and other associated learning difficulties. Staff also support areas associated with communication, sensory, social and emotional needs. Leaders carefully and quickly establish the most appropriate communication strategies for each individual child.

They set out these strategies in individual specialist plans for pupils. Teachers use their expertise to deliver well-structured lessons in line with pupils' individual specialist plans. Staff use a range of communication systems and strategies in lessons and throughout the school day.

All of this means that staff accurately meet the specific needs of pupils with SEND very well.

The school has a sharp focus on improving reading across the school. All classrooms have a wide range of books for pupils to enjoy and take home.

Pupils love stories, reading and being read to. Their faces become animated when adults talk about books. Leaders are ambitious for pupils.

They believe that all pupils have the potential to become readers. This focus on reading starts from the very beginning when pupils join the school. Pupils at the pre-reading stage are supported to identify environmental and instrumental sounds.

Some pupils in the early years are beginning to identify letter names and phonemes. However, there is some variability in how the structured phonics programme is delivered to some pupils. This slows the learning of some pupils.

Relationships between staff and pupils are positive and respectful. Staff know individual pupils and their families very well. Staff use this knowledge positively to support pupils in lessons and at breaktimes and lunchtimes.

Many pupils use additional, specialist equipment to support their mobility. Pupils form trusting relationships with the adults who look after them. For example, pupils have great confidence in the adults who help them to use additional specialist equipment to support their mobility.

Pupils experience a wide range of activities beyond the curriculum. Staff meticulously plan these activities so that pupils have the best experiences possible. These opportunities include residential trips away from home.

Pupils greatly value these opportunities and talk about them with a great sense of achievement and enthusiasm. In addition, leaders ensure that pupils learn about how to keep themselves safe. For instance, pupils learn about how to keep themselves safe when online.

All of this means that pupils are well prepared for their futures.

Staff feel well supported by the leadership team. Governors understand their roles well, and they fulfil their statutory duties.

They support and challenge leaders effectively. Many parents are very happy with the care given to their children. Information sharing between the school and other agencies is highly effective.

This includes the residential provision at the same site as the school. All this supports pupils' learning and ensures that they are always safe.


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 school has not explicitly defined the knowledge, skills and vocabulary it wants pupils to learn. It is also not clear in what order pupils will learn essential knowledge. This limits the progress of some pupils.

The school should ensure that the curriculum clearly defines, in a logical sequence, the knowledge pupils will gain over time. ? There is some variability in the implementation of the structured phonics programme. This is not always implemented in a clear, systematic way.

This slows the progress in reading for some pupils. The school should provide staff with the knowledge and skills to deliver the phonics scheme effectively.


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 second ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be good in February 2013.

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