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Following my visit to the school on 8 February 2018 with Mark Burgess, Ofsted Inspector, I write on behalf of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills to report the inspection findings. The visit was the first short inspection carried out since the school was judged to be outstanding in December 2012. This school continues to be outstanding.
The leadership team has maintained the outstanding quality of education in the school since the last inspection. You and your deputy headteacher demonstrate a deep understanding of special educational provision. Your passionate leadership and commitment to the promotion of excellence provides a cle...ar direction for the school, which you have effectively shared with staff and governors.
You and your staff demonstrate unquestionable commitment and an immense pride in ensuring that pupils receive the best education while they attend your school. The school is a caring and aspirational learning community where pupils thrive and benefit from specialist expertise and a high-quality learning environment. Your well-considered development of the school grounds provides pupils with an excellent range of easily accessible physical and sensory learning opportunities.
Your development of additional specialist facilities within the school for pupils who have multisensory impairment and/or autistic spectrum disorders ensure that these pupils receive high-quality education that promotes their learning extremely well. Parents overwhelmingly support the school and recognise the impact of the high-quality teaching that your leadership has ensured. This is typified by a comment received through Parent View, Ofsted's online questionnaire, where a parent stated, 'This school houses angels that work miracles.
The work ethic and quality of teaching glows as living proof in the children that attend.' Governors and staff share your high expectations and together you have addressed the area for improvement identified at the last inspection. This related to enhancing the achievements of some pupils, particularly those who are most able.
Well-considered training has heightened teachers and teaching assistants' knowledge and skills of subjects and strategies that they can use to promote learning. This includes strengthening adults' effective use of questioning and raising further their expectations of what pupils can do. Monitoring by senior leaders and those leaders responsible for subjects ensures that staff receive frequent, accurate and constructive guidance on how they can enhance further their high-quality practices.
As a result, teachers provide carefully matched personalised learning experiences that are highly effective in developing pupils' skills and understanding. This means that pupils, including the most able, are challenged to make the best possible progress academically, socially and in developing their independence. The governing body has undergone some considerable changes since the last inspection and some governors are new to their roles.
Many governors have professional skills which they use effectively to hold you and other leaders to account for the impact of actions to enhance the school. Governors frequently visit the school to see pupils and teachers at work. As a result, they have established strong, positive relationships with staff and have a clear and accurate picture of how well the school is performing.
However, governors recognise the importance of further refining and sharpening the focus of their visits and their analysis of pupil progress information. This is in order to improve their evaluations of the impact of leaders' actions. Governors recognise the need to ensure that the information published on the school's website regarding the curriculum reflects the detail available in school.
Safeguarding is effective. Leaders and governors have ensured that safeguarding arrangements are fit for purpose and are followed closely. Documentation relating to safeguarding and the welfare of pupils is kept meticulously.
The suitability of staff to work with children is carefully checked and statutory checks completed. Appropriate training ensures that staff have up-to-date knowledge of safeguarding and are vigilant about the risks pupils may face. Leaders make sure that staff are well trained to support the medical needs of pupils in their care.
Leaders share information with parents and appropriate authorities effectively to ensure pupils' safety and well-being. They challenge authorities and tenaciously follow up those who do not respond swiftly enough to any concerns that they raise. Leaders follow up any absences diligently to ensure that families receive the support they need to help their children's learning.
Inspection findings ? You and your senior leadership team have a detailed understanding of the strengths and areas for improvement in school because of the depth and rigour of your monitoring and analysis. You frequently analyse pupils' attainment and track their progress against detailed personalised learning plans. Your highly effective use of this information ensures that you have a deep understanding of the progress that pupils make over time.
This allows you to keep parents and other interested professionals very well informed about how pupils are developing. ? Governors share leaders' high expectations. Governors have a detailed understanding of the school because of the high quality of information that they receive from you, your staff and other educational professionals.
Governors frequently check the accuracy of the information they receive by asking incisive questions at meetings and by visiting the school to talk with leaders, staff and pupils. However, their visits sometimes do not have a sharply focused purpose and, as a result, the information they gather has more limited impact on their analysis and evaluation of the impact of leaders' actions. ? The quality of teaching is a strength of the school.
Well-considered training builds upon the high level of expertise of teachers and ensures that they have up-to-date skills and knowledge of a variety of strategies to help pupils who have complex needs develop and learn. Teachers' excellent management of the high numbers of teaching assistants employed in their classes ensures that pupils receive personalised support that meets their individual needs extremely well. Committed and well-trained teaching assistants make learning enjoyable and fun.
Activities are accessible and fun and, as a result, pupils are eager participants. Teachers have consistently high expectations for all pupils from early years to Year 6. For example, in classes for older pupils they were encouraged to make predictions and communicate their finding of a science experiment to investigate electrical circuits.
Teachers use their assessments exceedingly well to evaluate the progress that pupils make and to inform their planning, even though this can be in extremely small steps. As a result of the excellent teaching they receive, pupils make considerable progress from their starting points. ? Teaching in the early years is excellent.
The teacher ensures that all pupils, irrespective of their needs, have access to all activities, including the extremely high-quality outdoor provision. The teacher and teaching assistants have consistently high expectations and provide children with engaging and fun learning activities that are appropriate to their stage of development. Well-established and carefully planned routines strongly nurture pupils' social skills and develop their abilities to communicate.
Consequently, children love to learn, and make excellent progress from their starting points in their well-organised, bright and stimulating environment. ? Transition arrangements for pupils moving between classes are extremely strong. Teachers' records are detailed and staff work closely to share information about pupils' needs, interests and any issues or concerns.
Transition for pupils moving to the next stages of their education are very well managed and of extremely high quality. Strong and highly effective links with a secondary special school ensure the transition from Year 6 to high school is highly effective. Extensive and carefully planned activities, including frequent visits to the new school, ensure pupils' academic, medical, and social needs are well met.
• You have a high expectation for pupils' attendance at school that is rooted in the school's ethos. You monitor pupils' attendance meticulously. As a result, you are aware that pupils' attendance is below that of average mainstream schools nationally.
However, pupils typically attend as often as they can. Nearly all absences are for good reasons, often linked to their medical needs, special needs, and/or disabilities. When pupils are unable to attend for any extended period, and where it is appropriate, they continue to receive access to high-quality education because you provide high-quality support and guidance from teachers and teaching assistants.
Additionally, the hosting of some specialist medical surgeries in school allow many pupils to receive the care they need without the need for them to be absent. On rare occasions, some parents condone their children's absence without having a good reason, for example by taking holidays during term time. Here you take swift and proportionate actions to educate parents about the importance of ensuring that their children attend school.
Where necessary, you work effectively with other appropriate authorities to pursue the matter. As a result, the rates of unauthorised absence are falling quickly. Next steps for the school Leaders and those responsible for governance should ensure they: ? consider how governors can refine the focus of their visits to school and their analysis of pupils' progress to augment the information they use to evaluate the impact of leaders' actions.
I am copying this letter to the chair of the governing body, the regional schools commissioner and the director of children's services for Lancashire. This letter will be published on the Ofsted website. Yours sincerely John Nixon Her Majesty's Inspector Information about the inspection During the inspection, inspectors met with you, your senior leadership team, teachers and support staff.
I also met with governors, including the chair and vice chair of the governing body. I had a telephone conversation with the local authority adviser who works with the school. Inspectors spoke with some pupils during lessons and around the school.
We took account of the information contained within the responses to the online questionnaires for parents, Parent View, and staff. There were no responses to the pupils' questionnaire. Inspectors visited classrooms to observe pupils' learning, looked at their work in their books and profiles.
We reviewed information about pupils' progress, attainment and attendance. We scrutinised the school's self-evaluation document, action plans and other policies. We looked at safeguarding, including evaluating the impact of the school's procedures and policies to keep children safe, recruitment checks and record keeping.
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