St John’s School

Name St John’s School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 17 September 2014
Address Austin Canons, Bedford Road, Kempston, Bedford, Bedfordshire, MK42 8AA
Phone Number 01234345565
Type Academy (special)
Age Range 2-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 165 (72% boys 28% girls)
Academy Sponsor Bedford Inclusive Learning And Training Trust
Local Authority Bedford
Percentage Free School Meals 33.8%
Percentage English is Not First Language 24.2%
Persisitent Absence 28%
Pupils with SEN Support 0.6%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this school

St John’s Special School and College converted to become an academy on 1 September 2011. When its predecessor school, St John’s School, was last inspected by Ofsted, it was judged to be outstanding. This is a school for pupils with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties. A high proportion of the pupils have complex needs and an increasing proportion have autistic spectrum disorders. All pupils have a statement of special educational needs or an education, health and care plan. Some of the students at Key Stage 4 and most in the sixth form are based at the school’s annexe at Biddenham International School and Sports College. Some students in the sixth form spend much of their time at Stewart House, which is a sixth form study centre shared with Biddenham. The proportion of pupils eligible for the pupil premium is a little above average. (This is government funding for pupils known to be eligible for free school meals or who are looked after by the local authority.) The long-serving headteacher who retired in July 2014 is continuing to lead the strategic development of St John’s in the role of executive principal. An interim headteacher, who was previously an assistant headteacher at the school, took over day-to-day leadership at the beginning of this term. The school intends to appoint a permanent headteacher later this year though the executive principal will remain in post.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is an outstanding school. Leaders, managers and governors are highly ambitious for the school and have a clear vision for its future development. Senior leaders’ high expectations, combined with excellent opportunities for staff training, promote outstanding teaching and achievement. The school gathers a great deal of information about pupils’ needs and progress. Teachers use this very well in planning lessons that match the next steps in pupils’ development. Achievement is outstanding because a high proportion of students make more progress than expected. Pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties and those with autistic spectrum disorders do exceptionally well. Pupils enjoy school a great deal and have excellent attitudes to learning. Their behaviour and safety are outstanding. Pupils are valued as individuals and the school does much to raise their self-esteem. It promotes their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development outstandingly well. The curriculum closely reflects the learning needs of the pupils and prepares them extremely well for taking the fullest possible role in society. The sixth form is outstanding. It is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the school’s work. There is an excellent match between learning opportunities provided and students’ individual hopes for the future. The Early Years Foundation Stage is good. New early years accommodation is currently being built.