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They like and understand the calm routines staff set up for them to follow. Leaders make sure pupils can make choices and have opportunities to try things which help build their confidence and independence.
Leaders expect pupils, all of whom have special educational needs and/or disabilities, to achieve well and work hard.
Staff adapt lessons well so that pupils can understand what to do and recognise what they have learned.
Leaders are rightly proud of the wide range of ambitious activities and events pupils can enjoy here. For example, older pupils recently went on a residential visit to Spain and others have performed for the ...public at a local theatre.
Teachers use the personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) curriculum effectively to help pupils understand their feelings. They are ambitious to help pupils look beyond their immediate surroundings and realise 'they are part of something bigger'.
Staff identify, record and follow up on rare instances of bullying.
Pupils behave considerately towards one another and feel secure because they know staff understand their needs.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders have continued to provide a good quality of education while successfully tackling the serious safeguarding weaknesses identified at the last inspection.
The curriculum is typically designed to support pupils to achieve well.
This is because, in most areas, leaders are clear about what pupils need to learn. It has been sequenced so that important ideas are revisited, practised and embedded. For example, in language and communication, pupils succeed in moving from using gestures to saying words to express meaning and communicate.
Pupils are given a wide choice of ways to communicate so they can select what suits them best. Staff find ways of making books accessible to pupils so they can enjoy stories together. There is a phonics programme in place for pupils who are ready to read written text.
However, there are a few areas of the curriculum which are less well designed. In these instances, the important concepts pupils need to learn are not as clearly identified or sequenced. In addition, teachers' confidence in the use of materials aimed at checking how well pupils have learned subject skills and knowledge is variable.
Leaders are working on ways to better communicate the sequence and content of the curriculum in these subject areas.
Subject leaders know what is working well and what to improve. Teachers work as an effective team with support staff and therapists to find out pupils' starting points and use resources to set up interesting lessons.
Leaders place an emphasis on ensuring that pupils learn what will be most useful in helping them lead enjoyable and independent lives in the future.Teachers have secure subject knowledge and select appropriate resources to make learning enjoyable and accessible for pupils. For example, pupils in Year 4 learn to identify shapes by using different foods.
Teachers make sure lessons build up pupils' learning in small steps. For example, students in the sixth form use and apply mathematical skills they have previously learned to become more confident in managing money. Pupils are helped to understand how their learning progresses by using objects or picture cues to know what is coming next.
Leaders ensure there is a well-planned programme of activities aimed at promoting pupils' personal development. For example, pupils learn about democracy by voting for school councillors in imaginative ways adapted to their needs. Students in the sixth form benefit from carefully developed work experience and careers guidance.
Some pupils run a café in school, serving snacks and operating a contactless payment system. Pupils learn about different cultures and artistic traditions by going on lots of visits to museums, galleries and theatrical performances.
Pupils behave well in lessons.
Staff persuade them to refocus on learning if they become uncomfortable or distracted. Teachers help pupils to become increasingly independent in using strategies to regulate their behaviour.
Most staff like the clarity with which leaders set expectations and think leaders are mindful of their well-being.
They appreciate it when leaders are flexible with deadlines when staff sometimes need to change their priorities in the best interests of pupils.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Staff know how to raise and record concerns.
They receive training on safeguarding, and leaders provide updates to help everyone remember key messages.
Leaders have established a suitable process which is consistently carried out to make sure staff new to the school understand the school's safeguarding policy.
Governors check that what is meant to happen to keep pupils safe is actually taking place.
Pupils are kept safe and learn how to stay safe in ways adapted to their needs. For example, because teachers have revisited important content many times with pupils, they understand the reasons why they should not make friends with people online.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• In a few subjects, it is not clear precisely what leaders have decided pupils should learn and in which order.
There are variations in how well teachers check what pupils have understood. Leaders should ensure that the key ideas pupils need to learn and remember are clearly identified. They also need to continue to develop teachers' skills and confidence in using assessment to establish how well pupils have developed their understanding in different subjects.
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