St John’s School

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About St John’s School

Name St John’s School
Ofsted Inspections
Head of School Miss Shannon Poulter
Address Austin Canons, Bedford Road, Bedford, MK42 8AA
Phone Number 01234345565
Phase Academy (special)
Type Academy special converter
Age Range 2-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 179
Local Authority Bedford
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Calm and clear routines help pupils to settle as soon as they arrive at school each morning. Every pupil receives a warm greeting from the adult who knows them best. Pupils form strong and nurturing relationships with staff.

Pupils are safe and secure. They express their enjoyment of school using words such as 'happy' and 'friendly'.

Pupils want to learn.

Everyone shares the same high aspirations to work hard and try their best. This helps to make the school a harmonious place. Pupils have broad smiles and express wonder and delight when they are successful in class.

The school understands that communication is key in helping pupils to share their fe...elings. Positive approaches used by staff help pupils to understand their behaviours. Pupils show care and respect for one another and behave well in and out of class.

At times, some pupils find it difficult to manage their emotions. These times are well managed by staff.

Pupils who attend St.

John's have profound and multiple learning and health difficulties. Staff work closely with therapists to provide excellent care for pupils. Bespoke programmes of therapy support are woven into pupils' daily routines.

This ensures that pupils' range of needs are well met.

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

There has been a renewed focus on the plans for the curriculum. The school's curriculum make use of four pathways.

Each provides an appropriate provision to meet the range of pupils' complex needs. The pathways identify the important information pupils need to build their learning in order. This is through areas of learning or different subjects.

Pupils receive a broad and ambitious curriculum. There is still some work to further refine the curriculum. This is to ensure that it includes and outlines the precise steps of learning so that pupils with complex needs fully secure what they need to know.

The golden thread of 'preparation for the future' is woven through the curriculum. Across all key stages, pupils have opportunities to place learning in real-life contexts. It means pupils successfully achieve their targets drawn from their education, health and care plans.

In the sixth-form, students develop this knowledge through a life skills curriculum. They achieve national qualifications such as functional skills.

Teachers make skilful use of different communication approaches when teaching.

Their subject knowledge is secure. However, not all staff deliver the curriculum equally well. In a few subjects, the strategies teachers use are less effective.

Pupils are not provided enough time to practise and apply their learning, preventing them from learning as well as they should.

Staff have a secure knowledge of what each pupil needs to learn. Adults work well together as teams to share information and make careful checks of pupils' progress.

Teachers use this information effectively when planning pupils' next steps.Learning to read is important at St. John's.

Pupils learn phonics as soon as they are ready. Staff are well trained to deliver the school's chosen programme. All pupils enjoy hearing stories and reading books.

A wide selection of reading materials and weekly visits to the library foster a pleasure of reading.

Pupils behave well. They show tolerance and respect for each other.

Pupils build trusting relationships with adults. They know that there is always someone on hand to help. If they have concerns, pupils know how to use the 'safe circle' to get the support they need.

Pupils enjoy a variety of opportunities to enrich their learning and to prepare them for adulthood. Regular visits to shops, places of worship and the library promotes a better understanding of their community. The school council meets regularly.

They learn to share ideas about how to improve the school.

Work is ongoing to strengthen the careers programme. Increased participation by local providers, as well as on-site work experience is now taking place.

Pupils build their knowledge of work through jobs and roles they perform around the school.

Trustees have taken decisive action to arrest the decline in the school's performance. New leaders at all levels are driving school improvement with renewed vigour.

Staff welcome the changes. They consider there is a greater receptiveness to management of their workload and well-being.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In a few areas of the curriculum, the plans do not provide sufficient detail to support the building of learning for pupils with complex needs. This means that pupils do not make the progress of which they are capable. Leaders should ensure that curriculum plans are more precise and that all teachers know how to use the programmes effectively in order to plan pupils' learning well.

• In a few subjects, teachers do not make appropriate pedagogical choices to teach the curriculum well. This means that pupils needs are not well met, and they do not learn the curriculum as intended. Leaders must ensure that all teachers receive training to teach well so that pupils make the best progress of which they are capable.

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