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|Kestrel House School
|Ms Lorna Bailey
|104 Crouch Hill, Crouch End, London, N8 9EA
|Other independent special school
|Number of Pupils
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils enjoy coming to this delightful school. It is clear to see from their happy faces as pupils arrive in the morning and throughout the school day that they feel safe. Leaders have created an inviting and well-organised place for pupils to learn. Their vision for excellence is very clear and is shared by staff.
Pupils’ behaviour is exemplary. Because of their special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), pupils need extra help with their behaviour. This is provided in an expert way so that pupils return to learning as quickly as possible. As they progress through the school, pupils learn how to manage their own behaviour with growing independence.
Parents and carers notice and appreciate how much staff smile at their children and celebrate the unique qualities of every pupil. There is lots of positive communication between home and school. Parents come into the school for training and support from the school team and to meet and talk with other parents.
Leaders and staff have high expectations for every pupil, and they ensure that pupils achieve their best. Staff go the extra mile. They care about the pupils and are proud of all their accomplishments.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders have established an inclusive and welcoming environment where each pupil is understood and celebrated. Staff are experts in the particular needs of the pupils who attend the school, and they continually update and extend their skills and knowledge through regular training.
The curriculum that leaders have put together is well thought out and constructed. It is underpinned by sound thinking about what helps pupils with complex autism learn and remember. There is a strong focus on communication so that pupils gain the skills they need to be as independent as possible in the future. The curriculum also helps them make sense of the world around them and to interact with other people. Leaders have put in place a system to assess pupils’ progression through the curriculum. This system checks that pupils learn skills and knowledge in a logical way so that teaching builds on what pupils already know and can remember.
Leaders have made sure that there is an approach to early reading that is appropriate to the needs of pupils. Some pupils are ready to learn how to decode text using phonics, and this is done in a structured and systematic way. Other pupils are working on the skills that will get them ready for phonics. For example, they learn to recognise different sounds and that objects, images and symbols can be used to represent words, ideas and sounds. All pupils access literacy and enjoy stories and books in a way that is appropriate to their needs and level of understanding.
Leaders have been relentless in establishing an approach to behaviour which is rooted in respect for pupils and a deep understanding of what pupils are communicating through their behaviour. Lessons are structured carefully, building in movement breaks and other activities that help pupils stay engaged.
The provision for pupils’ personal development is exemplary. Leaders have ensured that a rich programme is in place that builds on pupils’ strengths and interests. The programme develops pupils’ resilience and helps to support their mental health and well-being. Pupils go on trips and visits that support their learning, for example to the London Eye and local community gardens and parks. They learn to travel on public transport and to shop for the ingredients that they will use in cooking lessons. Pupils have opportunities to learn about the world of work and to develop the important life skills they will need for the future, including healthy relationships and safe behaviour in the community.
Activities to develop pupils’ social and cultural education are meticulously planned and include a wide variety of events such as charity coffee mornings, events to mark Black History Month, different religious festivals and celebrations, Pride Month and Autism Awareness month. These occasions help pupils build their understanding of tolerance and respect for others.
Staff are proud to work at the school. They say that it is a busy job, but they appreciate the opportunities they get to take on extra responsibilities and develop their careers. They feel valued by leaders and say that leaders listen to their ideas about reducing workload. Leaders also consider the mental health and well-being of staff.
The proprietor has ensured that there are effective arrangements in place to check that the school meets all statutory obligations. This includes ensuring that pupils have appropriate relationships and sex education.
The school complies with schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders have ensured that systems to check the suitability of staff before they start working at the school are rigorous. Safeguarding policies and practice follow all statutory guidelines and are detailed.
Leaders make sure that staff know and understand their responsibilities. Staff are well trained and have an in-depth knowledge of the additional safeguarding risks to the pupils at the school as a result of their SEND.
If leaders feel that a pupil needs extra help from safeguarding partners, they take quick action. Leaders work well with these other agencies, taking an active role to promote pupils’ best interests.