The Castle School

Name The Castle School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 07 October 2014
Address Love Lane, Donnington, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2JG
Phone Number 0163542976
Type Special
Age Range 3-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 167 (73% boys 27% girls)
Local Authority West Berkshire
Percentage Free School Meals 38.6%
Percentage English is Not First Language 9.1%
Persisitent Absence 22.1%
Pupils with SEN Support 0%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this school

The school caters for pupils with a wide range of special educational needs that include severe and profound learning difficulties and those with a diagnosis of autism. All the pupils have a statement of special educational needs. Almost all the pupils are of White British heritage. There are very few pupils from minority ethnic groups and very few pupils speak English as an additional language. About two thirds of pupils are boys. The proportion of pupils eligible for additional government funding, known as the pupil premium is above average. This is funding intended to support eligible pupils who are entitled to free school meals or are who looked after by the local authority. All Year 7 pupils are eligible for additional government ‘Catch-up’ funding to improve their literacy and numeracy. The school does not enter pupils early for public examinations. The school is on three sites. The main school provides for pupils aged 5-16. There is a separate nursery, where pupils attend part time and students in the sixth form are taught in specialist facilities at Newbury College

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is an outstanding school because: Much of the teaching over time has been consistently outstanding and has improved since the previous inspection. The pupils make outstanding progress particularly in communication, reading and number work. Younger children in the Nursery and Reception classes are very well prepared for school life through excellent teaching. Children make outstanding progress in developing their academic and personal skills. The sixth form is outstanding. Pupils make exceptional progress both academically and in preparing for further education at the local college. Teachers know their pupils very well. They carefully check their progress and adapt activities with great skill so that activities are set at the right level. Adults are well trained in the use of additional communication aids. They make excellent use of these to help remove barriers to learning experienced by pupils with complex needs. Pupils’ behaviour is outstanding. Pupils respond well to the interesting and varied activities they experience. They enjoy school and their attendance is above average The extremely high quality of personal care each pupil receives results in them feeling safe and secure. The headteacher has led the development of an outstanding leadership team. Together, they regularly check the quality of teaching and pupils’ progress. They also inspire teachers and other adults to strive to help pupils achieve their best. Governors are well informed about all aspects of the school’s work. As a result, they bring a high level of challenge and support to the school’s leaders.