Lakeside School

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About Lakeside School

Name Lakeside School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Lynnette Johnson
Address Lemsford Lane, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6YN
Phone Number 01707327410
Phase Special
Type Community special school
Age Range 2-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 92
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection


Lakeside School continues to be an outstanding school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Every day is a special day for pupils who attend Lakeside School. Pupils thrive because of the individual care and attention they receive.

Adults have a deep understanding of the needs of each pupil. At the start of each day, pupils are active and busy. Laughter and shrills of excitement are clear signs of pupils enjoying their time at school.

The school's motto, 'Learning for Life', is evident in the high expectations staff have of pupils. Pupils achieve well because of the high-quality guidance and support staff provide. Leaders ensure that there are high aspirations for pupils....

They help to promote pupils' independence through learning to interact with those around them.

Pupils enjoy warm and trusting relationships with adults. Staff are quick to spot any signs of pupils becoming anxious.

They are highly effective in helping pupils to manage their behaviour. This means that pupils are always focused on their learning. The nurturing environment ensures that pupils are safe.

Pupils make regular use of the community to help them to experience real-life situations. They relish the opportunities to work alongside pupils of local mainstream schools. Their visits to shops and cafes provide opportunities to build life skills.

Pupils look forward to the rewards they receive as a result of these activities.

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

Learning to communicate and interact is at the core of leaders' curriculum programmes. It is a key driver in the activities planned for pupils.

A very well-thought-out curriculum is closely matched to the needs of each pupil. Leaders have considered what pupils need to know and the order in which staff need to teach the content of the curriculum. Pupils experience a rich curriculum that builds and deepens their understanding over time.

Pupils have time to consolidate and repeat learning to help embed important knowledge and skills. This is because pupils' individual targets thread through every learning activity they carry out. Staff review pupils' progress regularly.

This ensures that targets from education, health and care (EHC) plans remain relevant to pupils' development and learning.

Subject leaders are knowledgeable about their areas of responsibility. They share their expertise with staff.

They make regular checks of how their plans are working. This support makes a highly effective contribution to teachers' understanding of how they deliver the curriculum.

Teachers know the pupils well.

They make skilful changes to their plans when they see pupils make progress, no matter how small the step. Activities focus on motivating pupils to take an active role in their learning. Adults plan activities based on pupils' interests.

For example, pupils' enjoyment of sensory play was successfully used to develop their mathematical counting skills. As a result, pupils are highly engaged and achieve exceptionally well.

Leaders' priority is for all pupils to learn how to communicate.

They do this very well. From the beginning of their time at Lakeside, pupils learn to use communication techniques such as pictures and symbols. Others make use of eye-gazing strategies.

For some, it is the first time that they have found a 'voice'. This allows pupils to interact and respond. Adults make skilled use of signing strategies while engaging with pupils in class.

Pupils learn to read once they have built their understanding of phonics. Bespoke sessions build pupils' phonics knowledge step by step. Pupils enjoy using sensory materials to bring stories to life.

They particularly enjoy reading books they have made about themselves.

Pupils benefit from a social skills development programme. They learn and use different methods to help manage their own behaviours.

This helps them to be calm when feeling dysregulated. Pupils build life skills through activities in the community. They learn how to select, order and shop in cafes and supermarkets.

Each stage is carefully considered so that their knowledge and confidence is supported incrementally. They express views through the school council and have recently named the new school dog 'Coco'.

Pupils receive careers education through their experiences of different workplaces.

The visits often tie in with their interests, such as to a car manufacturer. Pupils, including sixth-form students, develop their independence and self-awareness. They understand how to follow instructions and learn about keeping themselves safe.

They are well prepared for their next steps beyond leaving the school.

Leaders have created a cohesive and supportive staff team. Staff feel valued and welcome how leaders support and manage their well-being.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders understand the importance of maintaining a strong culture of safeguarding. It is deeply embedded in all aspects of the school's work.

All staff know the pupils and their families well. They use their training to be alert to any small changes in pupils' behaviour that may be a sign of concern. Leaders are relentless in their advocacy of the needs of families and pupils.

They work effectively with a range of external agencies, as well as using their own family support arrangements.

The pre-employment checks carried out on staff are thorough, and records are well maintained.


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

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 outstanding in October 2013.

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