The Harbour School

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About The Harbour School

Name The Harbour School
Ofsted Inspections
Head of School Mr Nick Morley
Address Tipner Lane, Tipner, Portsmouth, PO2 8RA
Phone Number 02392665664
Phase Academy (special)
Type Academy special converter
Age Range 5-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 106
Local Authority Portsmouth
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Many pupils enjoy coming to this school.

Others do not. The behaviour of some pupils is exceptional. The behaviour and attitudes to learning of others are not.

Unsurprisingly, pupils have mixed views about their school because their experiences vary so widely across the different campuses. One pupil said that staff are 'here for me, when my mind is not clear'. Other pupils voiced that the school is a safe place for them and that they would not change much about any aspect.

However, variations in the quality of provision and inconsistent expectations of staff across the different sites of the school mean that it is difficult to identify or describe an ethos or culture as things presently stand at The Harbour School.

On a more encouraging note, suspensions are falling, though the staff survey confirmed that pupils' conduct can be challenging at times. Senior leaders aspire to make the positive changes required, but more needs to be done to realise their ambitions.

This is exemplified by some pupils enjoying regular residential trips or their work with The Prince's Trust, helping them to develop the crucial life skills they will need in the future. Sadly, not all pupils benefit from such opportunities yet.

Responses to the Ofsted Parent View survey were few.

Those parents that left comments mirrored what the inspection team found. Namely, the experiences of pupils at the different sites of this school are too varied. More needs to be done by leaders, staff, parents and pupils alike, to make this a consistently good school at each campus.

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

Leaders have a vision for the school which has not yet been realised. There are some very positive aspects about the provision, but a number of factors are impacting negatively on leaders' aspirations. Significant in the numerous complexities of the school is the fact that it is spread over five different sites.

This means that there are multiple and very intricate challenges for leaders to manage. Not least of these is the poor quality of accommodation at the Tipner and Vanguard campuses, which are damaged, disrespected, and not fit for purpose.

The school's curriculum fully meets the needs of some pupils but not all.

Leaders know that the model of teaching pupils who are dual registered (attending the school as an alternative provision while also on the roll of another school) and pupils with more complex needs (who are solely registered at this school) is not working well enough. Discussions with the local authority, who commission all the places at the school, have already taken place. Immediate action is now needed to address this inherited, intricate problem.

Curriculum leaders and newly appointed special educational needs coordinators (SENCos) are having a positive impact on the quality of education the school provides. The priorities they have identified for improvement make sense. SENCos are working hard to share the good practice evident in the school further.

Subject leaders are working to improve the consistency in the way subjects are planned and delivered across all phases of the school.

Despite the drawbacks with the way some of the curriculum is delivered to dual- and single-registered pupils, there are some successes worth celebrating. The school's reintegration programme, which is delivered mostly online, works well.

Many pupils achieve meaningful qualifications through this programme, including at GCSE. This is also the case for pupils following other pathways, some with a vocational element, enabling them to access college and apprenticeships. Additionally, the school's very bespoke provision at Stamshaw and The Bridge is also successful in supporting pupils with more complex special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Effective careers education is in place. The school is rebuilding its work experience offer in light of the pandemic. Bespoke pieces of work are making positive inroads in developing pupils' awareness of the dangers of knife crime, gang culture and substance abuse.

Leaders have identified actions needed to strengthen the school's provision for pupils' personal development. The school is currently revising its personal, social and health education (PSHE) programme to ensure that it is delivered consistently and with fidelity across all phases of the school. This includes teaching pupils about different religions and cultures so that they are better prepared for life in modern Britain.

Staff vacancies on both the Tipner and Vanguard sites are high. Supply agency staff are valued by leaders. However, consistency in approach and relationships between pupils and staff are inevitably impacted by these arrangements.

Leadership of these campuses is also in a transitional stage. This is not helping pupils to understand the expectations, boundaries or routines that leaders and staff set and expect. The headteacher fully understands the challenges that the school faces.

He has ensured that work has started to address them. Despite this, much more needs to be done by all stakeholders, including the trust and local authority, to make sure that the pupils who attend this school get the first-class education that they are entitled to.


The arrangements for safeguarding are not effective.

Suitable recruitment checks and safeguarding training are in place. However, the school's safeguarding policy is not followed by all staff. Inconsistencies in safeguarding records mean that there is potential for important information, including repeated safeguarding concerns, to be missed.

Additionally, actions taken by the school, including contact with parents, are sometimes omitted from the records.

Weaknesses in the school's procedures for recording concerns hinder leaders' attempts to identify and address any worrying patterns. For example, sometimes important safeguarding information is recorded in different places by different people.

This frustrates leaders' ability to locate key information when needed.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Leadership of safeguarding is not strong enough. The school's record-keeping system linked to safeguarding is fragmented.

Key information is not recorded or acted on in a consistent way. Leaders need to rationalise and simplify the system they use to identify and help pupils at risk of harm. This will enable them to manage all aspects of the safeguarding of pupils in a more effective and timely manner.

• The fabric of some of the school's accommodation is shabby, poorly maintained and not fit for purpose. The poor quality of some of the school's premises is directly impacting on pupils' behaviour and attitudes, exacerbated by many pupils' complex SEND. Poor behaviour is in turn affecting the quality of education the school can provide.

Leaders, including those from the multi-academy trust, have been aware of this situation for some time. Now is the time to act urgently and decisively. ? The school's curriculum is not meeting the needs of all pupils.

The model for delivering it to pupils who are enrolled on a short- or long- term basis is not working well enough for either group. Leaders should act to review and rationalise the way the curriculum is implemented in classrooms, so that pupils' pathways are more suited to their end points and future aspirations. ? Pupils do not behave well enough across all campuses of the school, despite the recent introduction of a new behaviour policy.

Expectations of what is acceptable and what is not are inconsistent. High staff turnover and poor premises and accommodation on some sites do not help. Leaders need to act to stabilise the workforce, including in positions of leadership.

Further work to supplement the recent useful training on establishing more positive relationships between staff and pupils is also needed. ? The school's offer to support pupils' personal development is not implemented in a consistent way across all campuses. Some gains have been made since January 2022.

More needs to be done to ensure that there is a better match between what leaders intend and the reality. This should include ensuring that pupils learn about different faiths and cultures in a more coherent way on all sites of the school. It will mean that pupils have a better understanding of the world around them and are better equipped for life after leaving this school.

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