Shenstone School

Shenstone School

Name Shenstone School
Ofsted Inspections
This inspection rating relates to a predecessor school. When a school converts to an academy, is taken over or closes and reopens as a new school a formal link is created between the new school and the old school, by the Department for Education. Where the new school has not yet been inspected, we show the inspection history of the predecessor school, as we believe it still has significance.
Address 94 Old Road, Crayford, DA1 4DZ
Phone Number 01322524145
Type Academy (special)
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 161 (76.4% boys 23.6% girls)
Academy Sponsor The Kemnal Academies Trust
Local Authority Bexley
Percentage Free School Meals 34.2%
Percentage English is Not First Language 19.9%
Persistent Absence 25.2%
Pupils with SEN Support 0%
Highlights from Latest Inspection
This inspection rating relates to a predecessor school. When a school converts to an academy, is taken over or closes and reopens as a new school a formal link is created between the new school and the old school, by the Department for Education. Where the new school has not yet been inspected, we show the inspection history of the predecessor school, as we believe it still has significance.

Short inspection of Shenstone School

Following my visit to the school with Her Majesty's Inspector, John Lambern, on 19 November 2015, 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 good in September 2012. This school continues to be good. The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection.

The previous headteacher retired earlier this year. You were appointed in April 2015 at the start of the summer term. You have ensured that capacity within the leadership team remains strong through... restructuring roles and responsibilities.

This has included the internal appointment of two deputy headteachers, who took up their responsibilities at the beginning of this month. Together, you have developed a strong vision for the future of the school based on its motto 'together we engage, thrive and achieve'. Governance has been strengthened since the previous inspection through the recruitment of several new governors with relevant skills and experience.

As the Chair of the Governing Body said so succinctly to me during the inspection, 'We have the right people in the right seats.' For example, the new Chair of the Governing Body has experience in the field of early education. This is especially pertinent as the new early years centre opened in 2014 and resulted in a significant number of younger pupils joining the school.

Leaders have ensured that the areas for development identified at the time of the last inspection have been fully addressed. An online system was introduced in 2014 to support the assessment of pupils' progress. Teachers and support staff note the small steps of progress made by pupils and these are accurately recorded on the system.

Visual symbols used to support communication within the school are now consistent. This means that the same symbol is used throughout the school to represent a particular item or activity. Safeguarding is effective.

Leaders have ensured that their safeguarding practice remains effective. All members of staff receive relevant training at least annually. They recall recent training sessions on changes to legislation and female genital mutilation.

Staff members know who to inform if they have any concerns. Leaders are not complacent and act quickly to provide the staff team with information and guidance as issues occur. For example, they have ensured that members of staff have information about the dangers of radicalisation and extremism.

However, during the transition to the new leadership team updates to policy documentation have not demonstrated the same level of rigour, and reference is made to documents that have now been replaced. Senior leaders have all attended recent training for designated safeguarding leads in schools. They keep careful records of any concerns that arise and refer these to appropriate agencies.

Leaders keep similarly detailed records for those pupils who receive care packages because of their special educational needs. The appropriate leaders and governors have attended training in safer recruitment practices. All the necessary checks are made on the suitability of staff working within the school.

There are effective procedures in place to ensure the safe administration of medicines. Each pupil on roll has an individualised risk assessment completed. This includes details of any issues relating to health, diet, moving and handling and behaviour.

All members of staff are required to read these risk assessments prior to working with a pupil. As a result, the importance of pupil safety is highlighted and staff are well equipped to work effectively with pupils who have a wide range of severe and complex needs. The leadership team has ensured that all safeguarding arrangements are fit for purpose and records are detailed and accurate.

Inspection findings ? Governors, supported by the local authority, have ensured that the transition to a new senior leadership team has been smooth. They have made sure that new leaders receive the support they need in order to keep the school's improvement on track. ? Members of staff can identify improvements that have been put in place and are having a positive impact on pupils.

For example, they say that the introduction of structured activities at lunchtimes and the reduced amount of time spent in free play has improved pupils' attention focus and given individuals more space outside. An inspector observed pupils enjoying one of these enrichment activities taking place. Other pupils used the outdoor space at the same time, laughing as they jumped in puddles on a rainy day.

• Relationships between pupils and members of staff remain a strength of the school. Pupils, who in many cases are unable to verbalise their needs or wishes, clearly place a great deal of trust in those who care for them during the day. They are happy when arriving in school and greet familiar people warmly.

Pupils greet visitors with curiosity and are unconcerned by their presence. This is because pupils feel secure in their surroundings. ? Senior leaders make accurate judgements about the quality of teaching and learning.

As we visited classes together, you were able to pick out the key strengths in practice, as well as those elements that need further development. For example, we saw pupils involved in a shared activity at the start of the day greeting each other, enjoying sensory activities relating to the weather and joining in a welcome song. You recognised that every pupil was included at their own level, skilfully supported by the teacher and support staff.

Likewise, when observing in other group sessions, you recognised that some pupils were waiting too long for their turn and became disengaged, resulting in challenging behaviour such as lying on the floor or leaving the group altogether. ? Leaders use a range of strategies to make sound judgements about the quality of teaching over time. These include observations in lessons, scrutinising information about progress and looking at photographic evidence or completed work.

• Teachers make accurate assessments about pupils' progress and this is regularly recorded through the online system. Leaders can be sure that assessments are accurate because they are checked regularly both internally and externally through work with other schools. The local authority considers your work in this area to be strong.

They support the efforts of Shenstone School to take a leading role locally in the assessment of pupils working within P levels. (P (performance) levels evaluate small increments of progress for children performing below the standard of National Curriculum tests.) ? The improved system for recording the small steps of progress made has enabled teachers to focus their teaching sharply on what the pupil needs to learn next.

As a result, the progress made by pupils is accelerating. Leaders look carefully at the resulting information to make sure that all groups of pupils make similar progress. Those who are eligible for free school meals or who speak English as an additional language make similar progress to their peers.

Girls make similar progress to boys. ? The systems for measuring the progress of those in the early years are very effective. Clear procedures are in place, linking photographic or other evidence of progress to the tracking systems which have been introduced by leaders.

• Leaders understand that effective multi-agency working is crucial if pupils with complex needs are to thrive. Therefore the new leadership team has secured an increase in speech and language therapy support for pupils and commissioned sensory integration specialist occupational therapy. Physiotherapists and healthcare assistants with input from community nurses complete the therapy team.

These professionals work effectively alongside teachers and teaching assistants to make sure that all the needs of pupils are met. Leaders recognise that sometimes targets set by school staff do not align with those set by therapists. For example, a teacher may set a target relating to the development of communication skills that does not complement that set by the speech and language therapist.

As a result, the pupil makes less progress because staff are planning activities based on different criteria. ? Teachers and support staff work hard to make sure that the communication systems they use in school are accessible to pupils. They use a range of systems including speech, symbols, signing and gesture to ensure that pupils' understanding is secure.

Inspectors observed members of staff using clear and uncluttered spoken language, using just a few words that the pupil they were talking to would understand. On a few occasions, however, staff did not adjust their spoken language and used too many words. This meant that pupils did not understand the instruction given.

Likewise, members of staff occasionally spoke over pupils to each other, as if the pupils were not present. ? The use of symbols to reinforce understanding was used effectively in the classrooms we visited. However, there were a few instances of too many visual symbols being used, overwhelming the pupil.

Additionally, some display boards carry information intended for adults but depicted in symbol format, resulting in a confusing array of words and symbols. ? Leaders and governors have rightly prioritised their work to extend the engagement of parents and to elicit the views of pupils. A student council has been set up and will support this work.

The few parents who responded to the online questionnaire were unstintingly positive about their child's experiences in school. However, leaders and governors wish to extend the participation of parents so that they are fully involved in the decision-making process for the next steps in the education and care of their child. Next steps for the school Leaders and governors should ensure that: ? all communication systems in school, whether spoken, visual or signed, take into account the level of understanding of the pupils concerned ? more pupils make accelerated progress by reducing the time they spend waiting during lessons.

Yours sincerely Gaynor Roberts Her Majesty's Inspector Information about the inspection Inspectors observed teaching and learning in most class groups across both of the school sites. Most of these observations were carried out jointly with senior leaders. Inspectors also observed pupils as they arrived at school, during breaks and at lunchtime.

They held meetings with leaders, a group of staff, two members of the governing body and representatives of the local authority. A number of documents were scrutinised, including those relating to arrangements for safeguarding, the school's plans for development and information about pupils' progress. Inspectors looked at records, reports and work relating to a selection of pupils from across the school.