|Ofsted Inspection Rating||Good|
|Inspection Date||05 November 2019|
|Address||8 Approach Road, Cliftonville, Margate, Kent, CT9 2AN|
|Number of Pupils||7 (100% boys)|
|Catchment Area Information Available||No, we only have catchment area data for schools in England|
|Last Distance Offered Information Available||No|
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils make sure not to miss school. This is no surprise considering the warm, friendly welcome they receive when they arrive. Pupils and staff engage in small talk over breakfast and discuss current affairs while reading the daily papers. The passion and patience shown by leaders and staff helps make a real difference for pupils.
This is a school that really believes in its pupils. Leaders and staff keep their expectations high. They pay close attention to pupils’ troubled previous experiences of education, but only to meet pupils’ current needs better. Staff are determined to help pupils achieve all they can in whatever limited time is available during their placement at the school.
Staff and pupils mean business when it is lesson time. Allowances are made for regular breaks and tailored support, but adults expect pupils to work hard and they do.
Bullying is not a problem. Pupils are polite, respectful and learn to be more mindful of others’ needs. They begin to take note of, and care for, those around them. The recent charity coffee morning and community garden project were both terrific achievements. Pupils and staff are tremendously proud of this work. Rightly so.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
The school has been through an unsettled period. For some time, there was no headteacher in school. Some staff left. With the founding headteacher now back at the helm, the school is much more settled. Staff morale is once again high.
Stated simply by the headteacher, this school is about reengaging pupils in education by ‘finding out their interests and getting them on a positive pathway’. Pupils typically only attend for a short period. There is a strong sense of urgency in making a difference for them in the time available. The turnaround that marks the start of pupils’ positive progress, personally and academically, is often rapid.
Staff employ a careful balance in order to meet pupils’ different needs. The school makes sure that pupils are ready to learn personally and emotionally. But staff do not lose sight of the important contribution that pupils’ academic development can make to their well-being and future lives. Everyone believes in this approach and contributes to it very well.
Leaders seize on all available information about new pupils to plan how best to meet their needs. This includes pupils’ education, health and care (EHC) plan if they have one. Staff waste no time making their own assessments of pupils’ prior learning in English and mathematics. They use all this information effectively to pitch work at the right level. Lesson time is structured, well planned and purposeful.
Staff respond promptly to learning difficulties pupils present. Adults pay close attention to how pupils prefer to work. They avoid things that they know cause pupils’ anxiety or distress. This careful approach means that lessons are not interrupted unduly by behaviour issues. Even so, leaders are not as alert as they could be that pupils’ social, emotional and mental health challenges may amount to an unidentified special educational need and/or disability (SEND).
Teachers adapt what they teach to meet pupils’ interests and needs. For example, pupils compared a variety of English and South African newspaper reports of the Rugby World Cup Final.
Pupils progress well in a wide range of subjects. Teachers help pupils remember what they have learned. They pick up quickly on any confusion and give further examples to help pupils understand. There is a strong emphasis on securing qualifications or accreditations where pupils might have left school with none.
A rich range of activities motivates pupils, including learning outdoors. Pupils make a positive contribution to the community. They learn about the kindness of others through volunteering and organising charity events.
Pupils are encouraged and supported to say what they think and to listen to others’ views. ‘Brexit’ has been a lively topic this term. This positive debate reflects how pupils learn to be respectful. Pupils say that there is no bullying. They are confident that adults would step in if necessary. Staff tackle inappropriate behaviour fairly and consistently.
Personal, social, health, economic (PSHE) education centres on capitalising on, or raising, pupils’ ambitions for their futures. Pupils are encouraged to set their own targets for what they will achieve by the end of their first term, along with a ‘bucket list’ of wider aspirations. Careers guidance is impartial. Leaders have ambitious plans for work experience for current pupils. A recent lesson considered the practicalities of living on the ‘minimum wage’ and the benefits of regular employment.
The proprietor and leaders constantly look for ways to improve the school. They have learned important lessons from the recent challenging period in the school’s short history. The proprietor has tightened arrangements for overseeing the school’s work. This oversight is brought by people with the relevant expertise. All independent school standards are met. However, these checks do not shine as bright a spotlight as they could on the curriculum to support continuity in teaching when there is a change of staff. Some subject plans miss helpful detail about what should be taught when.
The proprietor has a suitable accessibility plan in place. The premises meet requirements. An ambitious programme of refurbishment is under way.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.The designated lead is knowledgeable. She knows the complex risks that pupils face. She is also mindful of potential risks in the local area.
The safeguarding policy meets requirements, is available on request and is implemented well in practice.
Staff know pupils very well. They are vigilant to concerns about pupils’ welfare and safety.
There is strong communication between home and school. A new record-keeping system has greatly enhanced this. It joins together things that may affect pupils’ well-being, such as details of attendance, behaviour and bullying.
Arrangements for checking the suitability of adults are secure.
What does the school need to do to improve?
Information for the school and proprietor
At the time of the inspection, there were temporary arrangements in place for teaching some subjects. Leaders have not narrowed the range of subjects taught. However, non-specialist teachers are not as well supported as they could be by available subject plans. Nor do senior leaders have a tight enough grasp of subject content to provide more support. The proprietor has already taken steps to tighten systems for running the school and overseeing its work. It should ensure that this work includes enough emphasis on the curriculum. This is to secure and sustain the best possible quality of education, including when staffing changes. . Leaders are taking steps to increase in-school expertise in SEND through training and appointing new staff. Through this, they should strengthen the school’s work as advocates for pupils with possible unidentified SEND, particularly social, emotional and mental health needs. This is to support the best possible preparation for pupils’ futures.