Lotus School

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About Lotus School

Name Lotus School
Website http://www.lotusschool.co.uk
Ofsted Inspections
Ms Melissa Barker
Address Langdale Road, Blackpool, FY4 4RR
Phone Number 01253531415
Phase Academy (special)
Type Free schools special
Age Range 10-16
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 50
Local Authority Blackpool
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are not safe in this school.

They are unhappy. Some staff and parents and carers share this view.

Pupils' behaviour is poor in lessons and at social times.

At times, pupils' behaviour can be dangerous and intimidating. Leaders and staff do not routinely demonstrate high expectations for pupils' conduct. Leaders have not ensured that staff have the skills that they need to improve pupils' complex behaviours.

Pupils experience bullying and derogatory language often. Some pupils reported that leaders act quickly and effectively to stop this reoccurring. Yet other pupils, including those with learning difficulties, continue to experience serious b...ullying.

Staff do not deal with these issues successfully.

Leaders want pupils to succeed, but they have not ensured that pupils achieve well across many subjects, including reading. The curriculum does not provide pupils with suitable opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills that they need.

Staff do not adapt their teaching to meet pupils' special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Some pupils enjoy using the on-site gym and raising money for local charities. They told inspectors about baking cakes to sell for charity.

They benefit from activities such as music workshops and visits. However, most pupils receive a limited offer beyond the academic curriculum. Pupils do not receive a curriculum that prepares them well for life in modern Britain.

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

All pupils at this school have SEND. Many are disadvantaged and vulnerable. Often, pupils have experienced significant disruption to their education.

The standard of education that pupils receive does not meet their needs well. Pupils' education has been further affected by recruitment difficulties, resulting in a lack of stable staffing.

Leaders have established a broad curriculum.

Pupils can work towards qualifications in some subjects. However, because leaders have not considered pupils' individual needs well enough, the curriculum does not enable them to achieve well. Leaders' ambition for pupils' success is not realised.

Leaders and teachers do not identify pupils' starting points well enough. This results in teachers and staff delivering the same curriculum content to all pupils, regardless of their varying needs and prior experiences. Pupils, therefore, experience a curriculum that is not fit for purpose.

Pupils do not revisit their prior learning, nor do they have the opportunity to relearn missed or forgotten knowledge. This means that they cannot build new knowledge securely. Pupils do not develop a deep understanding of the knowledge that they need for their future learning.

For some pupils, the struggle to access the curriculum leads to frustration and a decline in their conduct.

Leaders have not prioritised the teaching of reading. Some pupils can read with confidence and fluency.

Many cannot. Pupils at an early stage of reading do not benefit from a systematic approach to the teaching of phonics. Staff have not received suitable training to support pupils who find reading difficult.

Pupils do not receive regular, specific and useful guidance to develop their reading skills and knowledge. This makes it even more difficult for them to access their learning in other subjects.

Leaders engage with specialists to provide additional support for pupils.

Leaders challenge agencies when the necessary support is not forthcoming. However, pupils do not receive the provision identified in specialist reports or in their education, health and care (EHC) plans. Leaders have not established an agreed approach to the delivery of this support.

This means that too much is left to chance. Therefore, some pupils receive adequate support, but many do not. Leaders do not check the impact of the support that pupils receive.

Leaders cannot celebrate successes or identify pupils' possible emerging or changing SEND accurately.

Routines are lax. At times, staff do not supervise pupils well enough.

As a result, pupils move around school in a disruptive and threatening way. They bang on doors, run down corridors and stairwells, and kick walls and windows. This causes risk of injury and damage to equipment and the school building.

Leaders allow pupils to be disrespectful to adults and other pupils. Some staff have been injured by pupils. This impacts negatively on pupils' and staff's well-being.

Serious and disruptive behaviour regularly spoils the learning of those pupils who try hard to concentrate in class. Leaders do not ensure that staff apply the behaviour policy and strategies as they should. Leaders do not provide effective support to help pupils improve their conduct.

Pupils in Year 7 respond well to structured routines when they are in class. This environment is calm and well organised. However, the behaviour of older pupils regularly upsets these younger pupils.

Pupils do not receive their entitlement to personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education or religious education (RE). Leaders have not fulfilled their statutory duty to consult with parents about the content of the proposed RSE and health curriculum. Some pupils receive aspects of PSHE and RE.

For example, some pupils could recall information about world religions. However, pupils' knowledge of different faiths, fundamental British values, such as tolerance and democracy, and important topics, such as consent, is not as developed as it should be. Pupils are ill-prepared for adulthood.

Leaders have not established an effective programme of careers education, information, advice and guidance. Some pupils receive work experience opportunities that are linked to their aspirations. For example, some pupils benefit from working in the sports or hospitality sectors.

However, pupils do not receive any formal careers education. Consequently, they lack the skills and understanding required to move successfully to their next stages in education, employment or training.

Some staff reported concerns about their workload and well-being.

However, most staff believe that leaders are approachable and consider their workload carefully.Trustees and governors have not ensured that pupils benefit from a safe and secure environment where they experience a high-quality education. Consequently, those responsible for governance do not meet several statutory duties.

Leaders, governors and trustees recognise that pupils deserve better. They have started to address some of the considerable shortcomings at the school. However, they have not acted with enough urgency or focused on the right priorities.

The impact of leaders' work on improving pupils' education and welfare is limited. Parents' views of the school are mixed. Some appreciate the support, advice and guidance that their child receives.

Others are troubled about their child's education and welfare.


The arrangements for safeguarding are not effective.

Leaders and those responsible for governance have not established a strong culture of safeguarding.

Many pupils experience intimidation because of the actions of other pupils. This means that they do not feel safe in school.

Pupils wander around school when they should be in lessons.

They frequently try to leave the school site. Some succeed. Leaders have a suitable policy for when this occurs.

However, staff do not follow this policy as intended. This puts pupils further at risk of harm.

Some pupils have learned about online safety and the dangers of drugs.

However, there is no systematic teaching of PSHE or RSE and health education. This means that pupils, many who are vulnerable, do not develop a suitable knowledge of the dangers that they may face in society.

Some pupils are not protected well enough from bullying.

Some pupils target pupils with learning difficulties and use derogatory language towards them. As a result, these pupils suffer in school. They are unhappy and victimised.

Leaders have not ensured that the designated safeguarding leads are suitably qualified. This limits their ability to help pupils stay safe.

Leaders have a suitable knowledge of safer recruitment procedures.

They carry out the checks that they should on adults working at the school. Leaders check that alternative provision is safe before pupils attend with a member of staff.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Leaders have not ensured that there is a positive culture of safeguarding in the school.

Some pupils abscond. Some pupils are victims of discriminatory bullying. Many pupils feel unsafe due to the intimidating behaviour of other pupils.

Leaders must act urgently to ensure that a strong culture of safeguarding is established and that pupils are safe and feel safe in school. ? Leaders have not established a curriculum that meets pupils' SEND. Staff do not routinely adapt their teaching well enough so that pupils access the curriculum well.

Leaders do not provide suitable provision, such as that outlined in pupils' EHC plans or specialist reports. As a result, pupils receive an inappropriate curriculum and they do not achieve as well as they should. Leaders should ensure that the curriculum is well designed to meet pupils' SEND and that teachers adapt their teaching so that pupils can access the curriculum effectively.

• Leaders have no strategic approach to the teaching of early reading. Staff have not received suitable training to support pupils at the early stages of reading. This means that pupils do not catch up as quickly as they should.

Leaders should ensure that a systematic programme for the teaching of early reading is introduced and that staff deliver this programme competently. ? Leaders have not established high expectations for pupils' behaviour and conduct. Leaders and staff do not implement strategies to improve behaviour consistently well.

Staff do not have the skills and knowledge that they need to improve pupils' behaviour. Consequently, serious and challenging behaviour puts pupils at risk of harm and regularly disrupts the learning of others. Leaders should ensure that all staff develop the competence and confidence to deliver an effective behaviour policy.

• Leaders have not ensured that pupils receive suitable careers education, information, advice and guidance, PSHE or RE. Leaders have not adopted or consulted parents on a suitable RSE and health education policy and curriculum. This means that pupils do not develop the rich knowledge that they need for life beyond school.

Leaders should ensure that pupils receive effective PSHE, RSE and health education, RE and careers education, information, advice and guidance that includes all statutory requirements so that pupils are well prepared for life in modern Britain. ? Governors and trustees have not held leaders to account well enough. This has resulted in statutory responsibilities not being fulfilled.

These include safeguarding being ineffective and pupils with SEND, including many who are disadvantaged, not receiving their entitlement to a high-quality education. Governors and trustees should ensure that they hold leaders to account more effectively to urgently improve the quality of education and welfare that pupils receive.Having considered the evidence, we strongly recommend that leaders and those responsible for governance do not seek to appoint early careers teachers.

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