Rowan Park School

Name Rowan Park School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 10 June 2014
Address Sterrix Lane, Litherland, Liverpool, Merseyside, L21 0DB
Phone Number 01512224894
Type Special
Age Range 3-19
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 185 (70% boys 30% girls)
Local Authority Sefton
Percentage Free School Meals 39.6%
Percentage English is Not First Language 2.2%
Catchment Area Information Available No, we only have catchment area data for schools in England

Information about this school

Most students have severe, profound, multiple and complex learning difficulties. A few have life limiting or deteriorating conditions. Each has a statement of special educational needs. There is a trend for more and more students to be admitted with an increasing complexity of need. Almost a half of pupils have additional difficulties relating to autism. Many students need personal care in all situations. Nearly all students are White British. Boys considerably outnumber girls, as is usually the case in schools such as this. A much higher than average proportion of students is known to be eligible for the pupil premium (additional funding provided by the government for students known to be eligible for free school meals or who are looked after children). There are currently nine looked after children. A long serving headteacher has left since the last inspection. Her replacement has been in post for about three years. Some sixth form students attend Thornton College for up to one and a half days each week. Most of the courses they follow there are aimed at easing students’ transfer into mainstream colleges at a later date. The college is a new form of provision for disabled students up to the age of 25. The school has achieved the Rights Respecting Schools Award. This is an award that recognises achievement in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child at the heart of everything the school does.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is an outstanding school. It maintains its outstanding status because : leaders and managers work highly effectively to make sure that teaching is outstanding and continues to improve to match the changing needs of students, especially the rapidly growing numbers of those with autism. Tasks are very precisely matched to students’ ability and to their most pressing needs. Many of these are personal and social but staff remain highly aware that this is a school and that students come here to learn. From starting points that are always very low, all students make outstanding progress and all leave with qualifications. This outstanding progress is the result of highly skilled teams of staff in each classroom knowing exactly what signs of progress they are looking for. These teams are expertly led and managed by teachers. The sixth form provision is outstanding. Excellent progress is made in helping students to become more independent and to help them to understand what lies ahead when they leave. Behaviour is outstanding. Staff are quick to notice the tiny changes that they recognise as signs that all is not well with a student. In this way they are particularly adept at preventing incidents. Nearly all instances of misbehaviour are closely linked to students’ assessed needs, particularly autism. Students feel very safe and secure in school. Even those with minimal speech were often able to say to the inspector ‘happy’. Parents are almost unanimous in their praise for the school and what it is doing to help them as well as their children. Leadership, management and governance are exceptional. Recent moves to share responsibilities more evenly amongst senior staff have been hugely successful and there is now an excellent group of middle managers. All teachers are set annual targets for improvement and these have clearly helped to raise standards. Occasionally, some of these targets are not worded precisely enough to avoid any possible contention when it comes to checking whether or not they have been met.