The Grove Special School

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About The Grove Special School

Name The Grove Special School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Penelope Derries
Address Grove Gardens, Tweedmouth, Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 2EN
Phone Number 01289306390
Phase Special
Type Community special school
Age Range 2-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 49
Local Authority Northumberland
Highlights from Latest Inspection


The Grove Special School continues to be an outstanding school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils' development, well-being and happiness are at the centre of everything that happens at The Grove Special School. Teachers know the needs of each individual pupil.

They know what each pupil can do. They aim high for each pupil, no matter how significant their needs might be.

Each pupil has an individual timetable that supports them with their specific needs.

For example, some pupils with physical disabilities spend time in the hydrotherapy pool. Others spend time learning about the world around them through light therapy. Others are taught to read, write an...d count if they are able to.

Teachers are experts at matching what happens in classrooms to the needs of individuals.

Staff listen intently to pupils. They learn how individual pupils communicate so that they can hear their opinions and feelings.

Staff are tender and patient. They find ways to understand pupils. They unlock pupils' potential.

Pupils feel safe at school. Teachers help them to make friends with each other. There is no bullying or unkind behaviour.

The school is one big family that is based on respect. Staff work hard with parents and outside agencies to make sure that pupils have plans for when they leave school. One parent's comment echoed the views of many, when they said that 'the school has prepared my son for an independence I never thought possible'.

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

One of the keys to the success of this school is the way in which teachers set targets for pupils. Teachers make sure that they fully understand the information that is in pupils' education, health and care (EHC) plans. They then write targets for pupils based on their needs and their abilities.

Teachers use all of this information to plan activities in lessons that help pupils to build on their skills and knowledge. The system works well. Teachers' planning ensures that pupils' individual needs are met.

There are two separate systems for setting targets. Targets for pupils with the most complex special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are written by teaching staff and health professionals. For example, for some pupils an occupational therapist or physiotherapist will make sure that pupils' physical development has a clear focus.

In this way, targets meet the specific needs that pupils have. Some pupils with moderate or severe SEND study different subjects similar to those in the national curriculum. Teachers' planning is equally effective for these pupils.

Teachers know that pupils need to repeat activities again and again before their understanding develops. They know that many pupils make tiny steps in their learning. Teachers make sure that the basics are covered before they move on.

Developing pupils' ability to communicate is at the heart of the curriculum. Leaders use specialist boards and computers to help pupils to express their feelings and to make choices. One teacher works with a class of pupils with specific speech and language difficulties.

Here, the atmosphere is especially supportive. Pupils often begin to communicate verbally, supported by staff and other prompts. All members of staff are trained to communicate with pupils in different ways.

They use Makaton, picture prompts or technology, for example.

Reading has a high priority. Pupils with complex needs focus on what a book is for and what a story is.

Nursery rhymes are used to help pupils to listen to rhythms of speech. This is successful. Pupils who are able learn to read.

Teachers make sure that they develop their knowledge and understanding of sounds and letters well.

Staff at school know how to help pupils with a wide range of additional needs. They help the special educational needs coordinator to identify any additional needs that pupils develop.

Staff then help pupils to overcome these. This includes children in early years. Here, staff work well with families and health professionals to help children as they start school.

They make sure that their additional needs are identified and met.

There is a focus on personal, social and health education (PSHE) at school. Pupils learn about how to stay healthy and how to be as independent as possible.

This includes, where appropriate, travel training, money management and how to cook for themselves. Staff plan well for pupils' next steps after school. This includes students in the sixth form.

Students, families and other professionals are involved in the process. Some students move to college. Others move to social care settings.

For many years now, all pupils and sixth-form students have moved on successfully from school.

Leaders make sure that pupils have valuable life experiences at school. Pupils often go into the local community and visit parks and beaches.

Pupils do their bit in helping to protect the environment. They enjoy cultural visits and sports, including boccia. Leaders make sure that pupils' additional needs are not barriers to enjoying the world around them.

For example, a specially adapted chair was used for pupils so that they could be pulled through the sea by a pony, splashing as they went. Pupils are given the opportunity to enjoy their childhood.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Respect and care run throughout the school like a rod of iron. There is a clear culture of safeguarding. Staff are well trained in this area and receive regular updates to keep them well informed.

They know what to do if they have any concerns about individual pupils.

Staff are aware of the additional physical and emotional needs of pupils. Staff are sensitive when it comes to intimate needs, such as toileting.

They help pupils to move safely around the building. Governors play an active role in making sure that policies and procedures are effective.


When we have judged a special school, pupil referral unit or maintained nursery school to be outstanding we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains outstanding.

This is called a section 8 inspection of a good school or non-exempt outstanding school. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find some evidence that the school could now be better than good or that standards may be declining, then the next inspection will be a section 5 inspection.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the section 8 inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will convert the section 8 inspection to a section 5 inspection immediately.

This is the first section 8 inspection since we judged the school to be outstanding on 14–15 July 2015.

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