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|Mr Gary Corbett
|22 Euston Road, Great Yarmouth, NR30 1EA
|Other independent special school
|Number of Pupils
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils who attend Novaturient receive all the support they need to get back into education. Many have significant gaps in their schooling. In the past, many have been reluctant to be in classrooms. Leaders work closely with individual families to overcome the challenges they encounter. For many, this is the first time their child is back in class and learning.
Pupils develop the resilience and confidence to succeed in modern Britain. They enjoy the many trips out of school, interacting with others. They take part in specialist off-site workshops, such as spray paint art. Pupils use local leisure facilities for their physical education. This helps build up pupils’ confidence in dealing with unfamiliar situations. Pre-pandemic, all Year 11 pupils took part in an overseas trip and are busily planning their visit to Rome this year.
Pupils generally behave well and work hard. They are proud of their written work to evidence achievements towards various qualifications. There is little bullying, but where pupils do show behaviour that can be considered bullying or prejudicial, leaders work with all pupils concerned to halt this.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders create a bespoke curriculum to meet the needs of each pupil. Leaders use education, health and care (EHC) plans and other assessments of pupils’ social and emotional needs to produce ‘individual living and learning plans’ (ILLPs). These ILLPs are regularly reviewed, and each pupil’s ILLP contains specific academic, social and emotional and ‘enrichment’ targets. These targets are used by teachers to ensure that teaching is highly focused on what pupils need to learn next.
Schemes of work are written around various qualifications. These are matched to the academic ability of pupils and lead to a range of qualifications across the curriculum. Pupils come from a wide range of educational backgrounds. Teachers check that pupils have not covered the topics before, so they are new, appropriate and interesting. However, this planning is short term and does not consider the journey that pupils will take through the school if they attend for several years.
Many teachers are newer to their roles and have not yet had the opportunity to access subject training. Teachers are highly effective at engaging pupils in learning. However, sometimes, the activities chosen in lessons are too focused on the activity, not the learning. This does not help pupils to precisely practise skills and embed their knowledge.
Teachers check regularly on pupils’ learning. They provide guidance for how pupils can improve. Teachers use their checks to plan next steps and revisit previous learning.
Pupils have access to appropriate careers education, guidance and information. The school supports them to find the right post-16 education or other placements.
Leaders know that the teaching of reading for weaker readers was not strong in the past. They have now trained all staff in how to help pupils practise reading across the curriculum. This is in the early stages of implementation. Pupils are enthusiastic about developing their skills, both in the classroom and in settings such as the kitchen. They practise their reading and writing in all subjects. Leaders have made sure that the library has a wide range of books that interest pupils.
Leaders are passionate about making a difference for pupils. The ‘enrichment’ programme re-engages pupils in personalised projects. This also gives them many opportunities just to talk and build positive relationships. The school offers a range of talk and play therapies. All staff also have access to reflective talking time. Staff feel well supported by leaders, including around workload, and work closely with colleagues at the sister school.
The school is compliant with the independent school standards and schedule 10 of the Equality Act. The proprietor has appointed an advisory governing body to provide further external scrutiny and challenge to school leaders. They have made sure that the school’s duty to implement statutory guidance on relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) is met.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Staff know the pupils extremely well. They are highly aware of signs that show any pupil is at risk of harm.
Leaders work closely with families and professionals to support pupils. They seek external support where required.
All appropriate checks are made on adults who work in the school. Staff are well trained. Any concerns about members of staff are dealt with correctly. The school has appropriate safeguarding policies, meeting all government requirements.
The RSHE curriculum is flexible to meet individuals’ needs. Pupils know a great deal about issues such as consent and appropriate relationships.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and proprietor)
? The subject planning is not well thought out for the long term. It is not clear in all subjects how pupils who will spend several years in the school will gain their knowledge gradually and securely. Pupils currently make progress by tackling different qualifications, at different value levels, but this is not guaranteed to build precisely on what has come before. Leaders need to formulate a more precise long-term plan for all subjects. ? The activities that teachers choose are not always as focused on the precise subject learning as they should be. This means that pupils do not develop their understanding and skills as well as they might. Leaders need to ensure that teachers have further training and professional development so learning activities are closely matched to what teachers want pupils to learn. ? The new reading catch-up scheme is at a very early stage of implementation. It has not yet produced stronger readers. Leaders need to make sure that their reading strategy is well embedded and effective.