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Millwood Primary Special School continues to be an outstanding school.
What is it like to attend this school?
Millwood Primary Special School is a highly inclusive and inspiring place to be. Pupils are greeted by staff with open arms and in return respond with beaming smiles.
Pupils have a strong sense of belonging and thrive.
Pupils, and children in the early years, feel very safe. They benefit from strong, caring relationships with staff who know them extremely well.
Leaders have the highest expectations of what pupils can achieve in their learning and behaviour. The school's curriculum places no ceiling on pupils' success. It prepares children and pupils except...ionally well for their next steps in education and life in modern Britain.
Behaviour is exemplary. The school is calm and orderly for everyone. Staff are highly attuned to the feelings and anxieties of pupils and are successful at minimising them.
Staff skilfully help pupils to learn to manage their behaviour and their emotions. If bullying should happen, adults deal with any issues immediately and sensitively.
Opening the world up to pupils is a top priority.
Pupils benefit from a memorable range of activities to promote their wider personal development. This includes involvement in many local community projects and access to a wide range of clubs, such as football, singing and signing, junk modelling, transport club and wellie walking.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders have designed a highly effective and ambitious curriculum.
It reflects leaders' determination that every pupil should benefit from a rich and engaging learning experience. Leaders have expertly created clear learning pathways that exactly pinpoint the knowledge, skills and understanding that pupils must learn in order to achieve future success. This well-thought-out and well-designed curriculum helps pupils' achievement to be exceptional.
Assessment is used expertly to ensure that all staff know exactly where pupils are in their learning. Learning goals in pupils' education, health and care (EHC) plans are seamlessly interwoven into all aspects of the curriculum and each pupil's personalised targets. Teachers are experts at using the information that they have about each pupil to break down learning into even smaller, manageable steps.
Staff and therapists work together to help pupils achieve these small but important steps. Adults are highly attuned to how pupils are feeling and responding in lessons. They expertly use this knowledge to maximise moments of engagement or to give pupils a break from learning.
At the heart of the school's work is leaders' determination that all pupils will have a voice. The school's systematic approach to developing communication begins the day children arrive in early years. Adults carefully consider the best way to use the wide range of strategies available to help pupils communicate.
They use visual signing and picture-based communication systems to help pupils build their attention, listening skills and engage in activities. They also encourage pupils to make choices, express their views and assert their rights.
Reading and enjoying books and stories has a high profile in school.
Those pupils who are not at a developmental stage that enables them to learn phonics enjoy spoken and sensory stories. For example, stories about the beach or the planets can bring experiences and knowledge to life for pupils by stimulating their senses.
Many pupils successfully learn to read sentences, recognise words or symbols at a level that is appropriate to them.
There is a resolve that all pupils that can, will read by the time they leave school at the end of key stage 2. This includes pupils that are non-verbal. This determination means that many pupils learn to read and also progress in their speech.
Pupils behave exceptionally well. The nature of many pupils' needs means that behaviour might occasionally disturb lessons. The skill with which adults support pupils when this is the case means that any disruption is kept to a minimum.
Pupils enjoy a harmonious environment that supports their effective learning.
The school's relationships and health education programme provides an exceptional basis for pupils' personal development. This is at the heart of all that the school does.
Pupils celebrate difference and show pride in themselves and all they do. There is an endless range of opportunities and experiences offered to pupils. For example, all pupils are involved in collecting 'Millwood Milestones'.
This is a long list of activities and experiences that they will take part in while they are pupils at the school.
The outstanding school leadership team is supported by a highly effective and experienced governing body. Staff are well supported with their workload and well-being.
They are proud to work at the school.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
The strong safeguarding culture is integral to all that the school does.
Leaders and staff are well trained and the procedures in place to identify and report concerns are well understood by staff. Staff are tenacious advocates for all pupils. They are vigilant in looking for indications that pupils could be at risk of harm, especially as most pupils are unable to communicate easily.
When safeguarding needs are identified, leaders engage very well with external agencies to get timely support for pupils and their families.
Safety runs visibly through the taught curriculum. Pupils learn about asking someone to 'stop' if they are not happy with a situation.
They are given a strong voice in their own care and safeguarding. For example, pupils are very aware and vocal about their right to privacy when adults provide their intimate care.
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 February 2013.
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