Laleham Gap School

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About Laleham Gap School

Name Laleham Gap School
Ofsted Inspections
Mr Les Milton
Address Ozengell Place, Ramsgate, CT12 6FH
Phone Number 01843570598
Phase Special
Type Foundation special school
Age Range 4-18
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 219
Local Authority Kent
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Laleham Gap School provides an exceptional quality of education. Pupils thrive here and are very well prepared for their next steps after leaving the school. The school's motto, 'learn, grow, succeed', is built into the fabric of the school.

The strong pastoral care helps pupils to feel safe and happy here. The relationships staff develop with pupils are very special. Staff take time to get to know pupils on an individual level.

They find out about pupils' likes and dislikes, and what they are good at. As a result, pupils feel understood, well cared for and well supported. One pupil said to the lead inspector, 'I love the teachers here.'

The school... day gets off to a positive start because of the well-established routines that give pupils predictability. This helps to reduce pupils' anxieties. Pupils know exactly what to expect when they arrive at school.

Importantly, the morning 'check in' gives staff an indication of any problems they need to resolve to ensure a smooth day for pupils. Staff have high expectations of pupils' behaviour. They are experts in understanding the challenges that pupils with autism face.

Staff use restorative approaches well to support pupils so that their learning is as effective as it can be.

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

While Laleham Gap is a relatively large special school, it has a 'family feel' that helps pupils to feel secure. Many pupils have had negative educational experiences before coming here.

This school offers them a fresh start. Highly trained staff develop a detailed understanding of pupils' individual needs, talents, interests and academic strengths. As a result, they personalise the curriculum to meet pupils' different needs exceptionally well.

Pupils talk with great enthusiasm about learning. This is because staff create learning opportunities that are fun and engaging, and that capture pupils' attention and interest. Staff teach pupils how to understand and talk about their emotions.

Leaders and staff understand that for pupils to learn well they need to be in the right place socially and emotionally.

Getting pupils ready for later life starts in the early years. Children settle in quickly and get to know the very clear expectations in place.

Staff model the social communication and interaction they want pupils to develop. They regularly reinforce what they expect of children. For example, 'good looking', 'good listening', 'good sitting' and 'good thinking' are common prompts staff use to recognise pupils' positive behaviours.

Staff make the most of every opportunity to show children how to interact with each other. Consequently, children play happily together and learn to take turns and share.

Staff place great importance on reading.

The teaching of phonics is very strong. Pupils learn the sounds they need to be able to blend them together and read well. The books they read match the sounds they learn.

This helps them to feel a sense of success and to read fluently. Pupils develop confidence in reading as they move through the school. A love of reading pervades the school.

Pupils regularly read for pleasure, and staff often read to pupils.

Pupils enjoy learning about a range of topics and subjects from primary through to sixth form. Leaders have thought very carefully about the key knowledge and skills they want pupils to learn as they move through the school.

They regularly check that pupils have grasped this important content before moving on. Where pupils need additional help and support, they receive it quickly. This careful approach ensures that pupils' knowledge and skills build as they move through the school.

As a result, pupils achieve very well, and many pupils achieve a range of GCSE qualifications.

In the sixth form, the curriculum is highly personalised. Students experience the world of work and learn about important topics such as managing money.

All students focus on English, mathematics, independence and life skills, travel training and transition. Crucially, what students learn is precisely matched to what they need to be prepared for further education, training or employment.

The personal development of pupils is exceptional.

Pupils are supported extremely well by a wide range of therapies and interventions which leaders carefully monitor. Pupils benefit from many opportunities. There is an abundance of clubs and trips for them get involved in.

Pupils talk fondly of various drama and music events. A well-thought-out careers programme ensures that pupils have suitable advice about the different future options available. The learning for life curriculum is successful in teaching pupils about important topics such as religion, equality, diversity and relationships.

Governors have a wealth of experience. They have a strong understanding of the school and understand what it does well and what could be even better. Governors work closely with leaders and ensure that they are held to account effectively.

They do this by scrutinising the school's work and asking useful questions that make sure everyone is working towards the same goal.

Leaders work very well with the other special schools in the local area. They share best practice and are keen to learn from others.

In addition, Laleham Gap provides a wealth of support and professional development to other schools, particularly mainstream schools in Thanet.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders have developed a very strong culture of safeguarding across the school.

Rigorous recruitment processes ensure that leaders recruit suitable staff. Leaders and staff are trained well in safeguarding. This helps them to know how to spot behaviours that may indicate a concern about a pupil.

Effective systems are in place that help staff to report concerns quickly. Safeguarding leaders take swift, appropriate actions as required. Staff teach pupils how to keep themselves safe, including online.

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