The Edith Borthwick School

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About The Edith Borthwick School

Name The Edith Borthwick School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Maggie Loveday
Address Enterprise Drive, Braintree, CM7 2YN
Phone Number 01376529300
Phase Special
Type Community special school
Age Range 3-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 244
Local Authority Essex
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

The Edith Borthwick School is a happy place to learn. Pupils' emotional health and well-being are very well supported. Pupils learn, over time, about how to regulate their own behaviour.

The atmosphere in school is calm and orderly.

Children settle in quickly when they join in the early years. As pupils get older, they continue to gain confidence and independence as they move through the school.

They learn important life skills, such as how to cook, apply their mathematics to real life situations and work as a team. Pupils develop their social, communication, speech and language skills from the early years through to the sixth form.

Pupils told inspe...ctors that they get on with each other.

They say that bullying is rare and that they feel safe. Their confidence in school staff to support them if they have any problems is very clear.

Pupils enjoy opportunities to learn away from school, including swimming, visits out in the community, shopping and forest school.

Older pupils take part in work-related learning, tailored to their interests, and supported by school staff. Sixth-form students are well prepared to take the next step in learning when they leave school.

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

Leaders have ensured that there is a curriculum that is well planned over time, which allows pupils to develop essential knowledge and skills, increases their independence and access to appropriate qualifications and work-related learning.

The planning and sequencing of essential curriculum content in reading, English, mathematics and physical education and development is well developed and taught in the school. This allows pupils to be well prepared for the next steps in their lives. For many, this means training, employment, further education and/or independent living.

However, planning is not as effective in some subjects in helping pupils to remember more of what they have learned. In these subjects, the detail of what pupils will learn under 'I can' statements is not always clear.

Leaders have prioritised the development of early reading and communication for all pupils, in every year group, including in the early years.

Staff have had recent training in the teaching of early reading, and more is planned. Most are confident and effective in helping pupils to learn how to read. Staff are also adept at using a range of different communication approaches to support pupils' learning.

This means that pupils can enjoy either reading themselves or being read to. They are excited about the work underway on the new school library.

Staff use a range of methods to support those pupils with the most complex needs to enjoy different experiences, for example using sensory methods involving sounds, taste, touch and smell.

This helps pupils to be independent and skilled, and to communicate their views with staff and their peers.There are opportunities within the curriculum for older pupils and students to gain other important life skills, including through food technology, shopping, budgeting, community visits and residentials. Some take on ambassador roles, working with pupils from other schools.

Effective in-school careers advice ensures that pupils and students are well advised and supported to make plans for their future. Staff work with pupils, parents and external agencies, including social services, colleges and work-related training providers to manage students' transition beyond school. Many students go on to further studies in local colleges.

Leaders and all school staff want the best for children, pupils and students. The therapy and education teams work together so that learning and the curriculum are well-matched to pupils' needs. Plans are precisely dovetailed to pupils' education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Regular reviews allow new learning to build on what pupils already know. As a result, staff know individuals exceptionally well, and pupils can access and make effective progress in the curriculum.

Staff know pupils well, so they spot any signs of anxiety.

They are skilful in defusing potentially difficult situations and supporting pupils to understand how to regulate their own behaviour. Any disruption to learning is rare and very well managed. Pupils are polite, helpful and welcoming.

They are proud of their school.

In the early years, children are well supported to settle in. They learn about expectations of behaviour through play and social interaction.

Routines to support learning are established quickly. Staff work closely with families to ensure that all pupils attend school regularly.

Pupils' personal development is promoted through a range of opportunities.

They gain confidence through these opportunities, which include serving in the school café, enterprise projects such as 'save the bee', the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and much more. From the early years onwards, pupils understand the importance of physical development, exercise and staying healthy.

Staff say leaders are supportive and take account of their workload.

Leaders have worked closely with staff to improve morale since the previous inspection. Staff told inspectors that they 'have a voice now and are heard'. Training and the ongoing professional development of staff are a high priority.

Governors are appropriately trained and well-practised in holding leaders to account for the school's performance. Most parents are highly positive about the provision and support offered.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders and governors have ensured that safeguarding pupils is a high priority. Statutory requirements are met, including the required checks that staff are suitable to work with children. Staff are vigilant.

They are kept up to date through regular training. They know what to do if they suspect a pupil is at risk of harm. Close working with external agencies, including social services and health professionals, helps them to protect vulnerable pupils and get them the support that they need.

Leaders are persistent in following up on concerns. Safeguarding records are appropriately maintained and regularly reviewed. Pupils are taught effectively about safety and healthy relationships, and to respect individual differences.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The school's curriculum is not yet sufficiently well planned and sequenced in some subjects. However, it is clear that leaders have already taken action to plan and to train staff in how to deliver it. For this reason, the transition arrangements have been applied.

• Some curriculum plans are not fully developed. The precise detail of content to be taught, and in what order, is not always laid out, so that some pupils do not always remember what they have learned. Leaders should ensure that all subjects set out precisely subject content, which point it will be taught, and when it will be revisited in order to help pupils to remember more and apply what they already know to new learning.

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