Learn 4 Life School

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About Learn 4 Life School

Name Learn 4 Life School
Website http://www.careafloat.co.uk
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr James McAlpine
Address 64a Rectory Road, Ashton in Makerfield, Skelmersdale, WN4 0QD
Phone Number 01942466318
Phase Independent (special)
Type Other independent special school
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 3 (50% boys 50% girls)
Local Authority St. Helens

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils told inspectors that their experience of education improves once they are part of Learn 4 Life School. They understand that leaders want them to work hard, to learn as much as they can and to be successful. Pupils do their best to meet these expectations. Many pupils gain knowledge and skills that prepare them well for the future.

Pupils are in no doubt that staff help them to stay safe. Pupils are confident that staff regard pupils’ well-being as important. This helps pupils to enjoy school.

Pupils understand staff’s expectations for their behaviour. Sometimes, pupils’ needs result in behaviour that stops them from getting involved in their learning as fully as possible. They value what teachers do to help them to overcome these difficulties and to engage successfully in learning again. Pupils also feel that staff deal with bullying quickly and effectively if it happens.

Pupils benefit from appropriate opportunities to experience various activities outside the classroom. For example, they broaden their experience by visiting a farm or a local glass factory. Teachers use these activities to help pupils to learn how to behave respectfully and responsibly in the community.

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

Leaders have designed a curriculum that contains a broad range of subjects. It is shaped to meet the needs and interests of pupils, taking account of any gaps in their prior learning. Leaders have made it clear what pupils need to learn and in what order they will learn it. The curriculum is better organised now than it was at the previous standard inspection.

Leaders and teachers identify the learning needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) well. Expert staff, in areas such as mental health, support other staff to identify pupils’ additional needs. Leaders use this information to make helpful changes to the way in which they teach the curriculum, such as presenting subject content in different ways or revisiting previous knowledge until pupils have remembered it. Teachers use various assessment techniques effectively to check what pupils understand and whether they remember what they have been taught.

Teachers mostly have the knowledge or support that they need to teach the range of subjects. Most teachers clearly explain what pupils are learning. However, some teachers’ subject knowledge is not as strong as it could be. This sometimes prevents pupils from learning as well in some subjects as they do elsewhere. Leaders are in the process of strengthening this aspect of the delivery of the curriculum.

Pupils’ attitudes to learning improve after they join the school. This helps them to make the most of what is on offer and supports their good achievement. Leaders ensure that most pupils have the qualifications that they need to take them to the next stage of their education, employment or training.

Leaders assess how well pupils can read when they start at the school. However, the assessments that are used to pinpoint any specific barriers to reading do not enable leaders and teachers to identify the specific gaps in pupils’ phonics and reading knowledge. This means that, at times, the individual support that staff provide for pupils is not always as effective as it should be. Leaders have begun to address this issue. Typically, pupils read accurately and are able to access the curriculum well.

Parents and carers and pupils are involved in designing the support for pupils who need it. This helps leaders to meet pupils’ needs effectively and to enable pupils with SEND to achieve as well as possible.

Leaders have ensured that staff have the knowledge and skills to manage pupils’ behaviour effectively. Pupils benefit from a clear sense of calm and order in the school environment.

Leaders provide a range of opportunities to support pupils’ development beyond the academic subjects that they study. Pupils can take part in a variety of activities that match their interests, such as badminton or cooking. They find out about and discuss fundamental British values. Pupils also receive detailed careers information that is tailored to their needs and interests. Leaders ensure that pupils enjoy relevant careers experiences to help them to make decisions about their future.

Leaders are considerate of teachers’ well-being. Leaders do as much as they can to keep staff’s workload manageable. Staff said that leaders are supportive and approachable.

The proprietor body has ensured that the school meets all the independent school standards. The chair of the proprietor body has a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities involved. The proprietor body checks thoroughly on the work of school leaders and holds these leaders to account effectively.

Leaders have all relevant policies in place. For example, there are suitable policies in place for health and safety, fire safety and first aid. Leaders implement these policies effectively.

Leaders have drawn up a detailed policy about relationships and sex education. There is a well-designed programme of learning that takes into account pupils’ needs and experiences. It teaches pupils effectively about a range of topics, including consent and healthy relationships.

The school premises are well maintained and meet pupils’ needs. For example, there are suitable toilets and washing facilities for pupils. There is also a suitable room to look after pupils if they are sick or injured. Leaders provide for physical education using a local sports venue. They have made careful risk assessments of this provision to ensure the safety of pupils.Leaders have ensured that the school complies with schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010. Leaders carefully consider and review the needs of pupils, parents and visitors. Leaders have an appropriate action plan to support pupils with disabilities who may attend the school.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders have robust systems in place to report and record concerns about pupils’ safety. This represents a significant improvement since the previous standard inspection. Staff are well trained in how to spot signs of abuse or neglect. Leaders promptly provide the help that pupils need, involving outside agencies such as social care when necessary.

There is a comprehensive and up-to-date safeguarding policy. This policy takes account of the government’s current requirements. Leaders make this available to parents on request, as there is no school website.

Leaders ensure that pupils learn about how to keep safe in different circumstances. For example, pupils know about the risks involved in using the internet and understand how to avoid harm.

Leaders have a clear understanding of the procedures for responding to allegations against members of staff, if any were to occur.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and proprietor)

? The systems that leaders use to assess pupils’ reading abilities are not as precise as they should be. This means that staff do not have a clear enough picture of the gaps in pupils’ reading knowledge. Pupils do not get the support that they need to overcome some of these gaps. Leaders should continue with their work to introduce better focused reading assessment systems to enable them to target support more effectively for pupils who have difficulties with reading. ? Some members of staff do not have secure enough knowledge of some of the subjects that they teach. This hampers their delivery of these subjects. Pupils do not make the gains in knowledge that they do elsewhere. Leaders should carry on with their work to provide training to staff to strengthen their subject knowledge across the curriculum.

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