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They learn a curriculum that equips them with important life skills. Pupils enjoy their studies. Most focus hard on each activity, even when it demands a lot of them.
From early years through to the sixth form, pupils grow in confidence and become more assured communicators.
Adults care for pupils with dignity and respect. Staff are tuned into pupils' capabilities and needs.
Pupils get support to become more independent in their decision-making. They learn to socialise and enjoy each other's company. Pupils celebrate each other's successes.
All pupils have special educational needs and/or disabilities. Pu...pils learn to manage their emotions due to the help from skilled staff. As a result, pupils increasingly make positive decisions about their feelings, behaviour and movement.
Pupils and staff contribute to the school's happy, productive atmosphere.
Pupils are safe. They indicate that they feel safe, including from bullying.
Pupils say that, if they were anxious or worried, they would turn to staff for help.
Pupils gain important experience of life beyond the school gates. They like to represent their school.
They enjoy the 'special jobs' they have to do, such as recycling, shopping or helping out on the local allotments.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders want pupils to be the best, fullest version of themselves. Leaders have made bold changes so that this vision becomes reality.
Three years ago, leaders carried out a root-and-branch review of the curriculum. They plotted a course of action to place 'learners at the centre of learning'. Leaders have designed a curriculum matched to pupils' needs and capabilities.
This helps many pupils to achieve well.
All pupils have an education, health and care (EHC) plan. Leaders identify and assess pupils' needs in considerable detail.
Leaders work alongside external professionals so that pupils get the support that they require. Leaders support teachers to adapt the curriculum to meet these needs.
Leaders view communication as key to pupils' preparation for adulthood.
Many pupils have little or no verbal communication when they join the school. Staff have strong knowledge of different forms of communication. They apply this effectively to adapt their teaching to pupils' communication needs.
Leaders have put in place a new phonics programme. Teachers teach this increasingly well. Pupils learn important knowledge that helps them to become better readers.
Leaders recognise the impact of skilful storytelling. From the start of early years, teachers read and sing enthusiastically to children. Pupils like this.
They become interested in, and learn to handle, books. Pupils are keen to follow storylines.
Leaders have identified that aspects of the communication learning pathway could be better.
For example, some pupils need more precise support once they have become more accomplished readers.
Across the rest of the curriculum, pupils, including students in the sixth form, follow learning pathways that are carefully crafted to meet their needs. Teachers design learning activities that interest pupils.
Teachers break learning down into manageable pieces. Support staff play their part in helping pupils learn. Staff know pupils well.
Adults spot the steps of progress that pupils make, no matter how small. Pupils' achievements are enthusiastically celebrated.
Leaders' work to develop the curriculum is ongoing.
For example, they continue to develop aspects of the physical/sensory learning pathway so that pupils receive a more structured physical education (PE) offer.
From the start of early years, children learn to follow routines. This structured approach gives pupils a sense of security.
They learn to behave well. Their behaviour improves over time. Staff know the signs that indicate that a pupil may need additional support, such as a sensory break.
Pupils respond well to this support. They often return to learning quickly. Many pupils engage fully with their learning.
At times, staff are slow to spot when some pupils are not focused on the activity in hand. This means that some pupils are not refocused as swiftly as they could be.
Leaders provide ample opportunities for pupils' personal development.
Pupils learn the importance of routines, rules and consideration for others. Staff give pupils plenty of chances to make their own choices too. Pupils learn important messages about relationships, personal hygiene and making safe choices.
Pupils, including students in the sixth form, get suitable careers advice. This helps them to set realistic personal goals in preparation for the next steps in their lives. Sixth-form students gain useful experience of the world of work.
The trust and local governing body provide leaders with appropriate scrutiny. They, like school leaders, know the importance of having motivated, well-trained staff. Leaders ensure that staff have the training they need to provide well for pupils.
Staff enjoy their work and consider that leaders are considerate of their well-being.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders have established a robust safeguarding culture.
The trust and governors are diligent in making sure that this is the case.
Leaders make sure that staff receive appropriate training. They understand the importance of being on the lookout for signs that a pupil may be at risk of harm.
Staff use school processes to report any concerns about a pupil they have. Leaders take appropriate steps to ensure that pupils get the help that they need.
Pupils are taught appropriate knowledge and strategies to keep themselves safe, including when online.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Leaders have made considerable alterations to the curriculum that pupils learn. Leaders' work is bearing fruit in many areas. Leaders need to continue this work so that more accomplished readers get the precise support they need to make stronger progress in reading, and pupils who are ready to develop their PE skills and knowledge further access a more structured PE curriculum.
• Occasionally, staff are too slow to notice when some pupils lose focus on their learning. This leads to some pupils not engaging in their learning for too long in some classes. Leaders need to make sure that staff are swift to spot this and take appropriate steps when a pupil's attention drifts away from learning.
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