Springwater School

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About Springwater School

Name Springwater School
Website http://www.springwater.n-yorks.sch.uk/
Ofsted Inspections
Head Teacher Mrs Sarah Edwards
Address High Street, Starbeck, Harrogate, HG2 7LW
Phone Number 01423883214
Phase Special
Type Community special school
Age Range 2-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 110
Local Authority North Yorkshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Leaders have very high expectations of how well staff look after the pupils in their care. Pupils are given highly personalised support by a team of very caring staff. Staff ensure that pupils are fully included in all aspects of school life.

The learning atmosphere in school is positive. Pupils, and students in the sixth form, try hard when in class. They are keen to join in and eager to learn new things.

Pupils demonstrate how much they appreciate learning by laughing and smiling. Pupils, including students in the sixth form, react positively when staff interact with them. They follow routines and respond well to instructions and guidance from staff.

Staff ...work closely with pupils to help them find ways to share their feelings and ideas.

Pupils interact with their peers in positive ways, showing interest and consideration. Staff ensure that pupils are well supported.

They take appropriate steps to ensure pupils are kept safe. Pupils are able to focus on their learning.

Pupils benefit from the trips and residentials that the school run.

For example, pupils go on an outdoor residential where they participate in a range of activities, including participation in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

Senior leaders have successfully worked alongside subject leaders to develop the curriculum. They rightly evaluate that, although the quality of education has improved, it is not as exceptional as other aspects of the school.

For instance, approaches to assessment need refining so that they better identify small gaps in pupils' learning and understanding.

The curriculum enables pupils with diverse needs to gain knowledge and skills across broad areas of learning. These areas include creative arts, literacy, numeracy and understanding of the world.

For example, over time, pupils develop their knowledge about where the school is located. However, the curriculum does not enable pupils to connect this broader knowledge with subject-specific geographical knowledge, such as compass points. The curriculum also enables pupils to develop their physical and emotional skills.

For instance, pupils work with external dance teachers and football coaches.

Senior leaders have very high ambitions for how well all pupils communicate, including those with profound and multiple learning needs. Teaching staff work closely with expert speech and language therapists.

As a result, they are highly skilled at initiating techniques that enable pupils to communicate and extending the range of ways in which pupils communicate. For example, they support pupils with profound and complex needs to use switches to indicate choices. Teachers and assistants seamlessly weave targets from pupils' education, health, and care plans into the content they teach.

Leaders have introduced a new programme for teaching phonics. They ensure that staff receive training so that they can implement the programme well. Pupils successfully learn the sounds that are linked to letters.

They also gain confidence in how to blend sounds together to read words. Leaders have rightly identified that pupils' reading books need to match pupils' phonics ability more closely. They have already set about rectifying this.

Provision in the sixth form is excellent. The vast majority of students join from other schools. Strong transition arrangements help new students make a flying start.

The sixth-form curriculum is very well planned. It prepares students for adulthood very effectively. The curriculum includes life skills such as shopping and cooking, as well as important knowledge about how society works.

Students also take courses that lead to accreditation. Students in the sixth form are incredibly positive about their experiences of school.

Staff and leaders have a holistic approach to managing behaviour, which is extremely effective.

It includes working closely with pupils on how they communicate and manage their emotions. Staff are highly skilled at picking up signs that a pupil feels anxious or unsettled. This means that they can often prevent pupils from going into crisis.

Personal development is exceptionally strong, including spiritual, moral, social, and cultural learning. Leaders have identified the essential knowledge that pupils need for their well-being and safety. For example, pupils learn about how their bodies change as they grow up, as well as how to travel safely.

Pupils remember this knowledge because the curriculum is carefully sequenced and revisited at the start of every new term. Pupils also take part in a wide range of lunchtime clubs. The work experience programme prepares pupils well for their next steps in employment.

Governors provide excellent support and challenge. They place the well-being of pupils front and centre when overseeing the school's work. Governors carefully check that agreed improvements uphold this core value.

They keep a close eye on staff workload and well-being.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. The designated safeguarding leader (DSL) ensures that all safeguarding concerns are followed up.

Records of safeguarding issues and incidents are recorded appropriately. The DSL monitors the local authority's follow-up actions when he refers pupils to the authority's social care services.

Safeguarding training for staff considers the additional vulnerabilities of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

The DSL has identified communication as a major barrier to keeping pupils with SEND safe. To mitigate this, staff have worked closely with pupils who struggle to communicate to create an individualised safeguarding plan. This plan outlines the ways in which the pupil will communicate to adults that they are feeling unsafe.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Assessment does not enable teachers to identify any gaps that pupils may have in their knowledge and skills sufficiently well. Senior leaders and curriculum leaders should work together to improve assessment methods so that they enable teachers to clearly identify what pupils can and cannot do. Teachers should use information from assessments to decide what knowledge and skills they need to revisit.

• The curriculum does not currently enable pupils to build up their knowledge in specific subjects. Senior leaders and subject leaders should refine the curriculum for pupils so that it includes carefully chosen subject-specific content. Leaders should ensure that teachers use their expertise when introducing this content, so pupils are able to make meaningful links with their prior knowledge.

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