The Harbour School

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About The Harbour School

Name The Harbour School
Ofsted Inspections
Mrs Lise Sugden
Address Station Road, Wilburton, Ely, CB6 3RR
Phone Number 01353740229
Phase Academy (special)
Type Academy special sponsor led
Age Range 5-16
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Boys
Number of Pupils 103
Local Authority Cambridgeshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

The Harbour School is a place where pupils are well looked after. Adults take the time to understand pupils' often complex prior experiences. Pupils access appropriate emotional and well-being support to help them get their lives back on track.

If pupils have a bad day, staff kindly and sensitively deal with any tricky situation. Pupils feel that staff have their best interests at heart.

Pupils access a raft of fun and engaging activities.

Regular trips out build pupils' confidence and support them to interact positively with others. The list of '99 things to do before you are 15¾' is carefully tracked. All pupils, regardless of background, can do things that... are different.

For instance, they enjoy fish and chips at the beach or visit a museum.

Pupils make friends and get on well with staff. Staff deal with issues, such as bullying, well.

Staff help pupils to understand the importance of respecting others and themselves. The personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) curriculum teaches pupils well about important topics such as risk, county lines drug trafficking and consent.

While the school is improving, there is more work to do to improve the curriculum so that pupils achieve their best.

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

The school has been on a positive journey since joining the new trust. The school has addressed many issues, including site safety and pupils' behaviour. The current focus is on redesigning the curriculum.

Leaders are working systematically to do this. They are ensuring that the changes made cater effectively for pupils' special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

However, redeveloping the curriculum and corresponding assessment approaches is still under way.

Consequently, there remain subjects where the important knowledge pupils should learn is still being specified and sequenced. As the curriculum is in a state of change, staff are having to work harder to make it work. While many staff adapt their lessons around pupils' needs or what pupils know, some do not.

These staff need clarity around what exactly to check pupils know, to inform their future teaching. Consequently, there are pupils who find learning tricky and are not making the progress they should.

There is a rigorous reading curriculum in place.

Staff access frequent high-quality training and guidance to capably support pupils with learning to read. When pupils join the school, staff quickly check their reading knowledge. An effective phonics curriculum supports staff to plug gaps in pupils' reading.

Staff read to pupils regularly, and many pupils enjoy reading. Many pupils are becoming confident and fluent readers.

Staff get detailed information about pupils with SEND.

This information is regularly reviewed with pupils and their families. The curriculum, on the whole, is adapted well around pupils' varied social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) needs. The school works together with a range of external agencies.

This ensures that pupils get the help and support they need.

The school's approach to behaviour is working for most. Many pupils have positive attitudes to school life and learning.

Suspensions and the use of physical intervention have reduced. While some pupils do find managing their behaviour hard, most staff give pupils the guidance to get them back on track. There are occasions when staff do not support behaviour as best they could.

When this occurs, it takes longer for pupils to regain their focus.

Before joining the school, many pupils had exceptionally poor attendance. There is a different picture here, where pupils' attendance is much higher.

Staff work closely with pupils and their families to remove any barriers to attending school.

The PSHE curriculum teaches pupils well about how others are different from themselves. Well-considered extra-curricular experiences build pupils' resilience and sense of self-worth.

Pupils value the support for their mental health and well-being. The careers programme gives pupils appropriate advice and guidance about their next steps. Nearly all pupils move on to further study or the workplace.

Staff care about doing what is best for pupils. Well-qualified trustees and academy councillors challenge and monitor the school effectively so that it improves for pupils and their families.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Some curriculum plans are not ordered in a logical sequence. This makes it harder for pupils to build their knowledge step by step. The school should continue to improve the remaining curriculum plans so that the key knowledge is ordered sequentially and ensure that staff are well equipped to deliver the plans effectively.

• The school's current assessment system does not match the new curriculum. This makes it harder for staff to spot how well pupils are progressing. The school should ensure that all assessment matches the knowledge taught and helps staff to support pupils to make progress.

• A small number of staff do not always use the school's chosen behaviour approach consistently well. This means that some pupils are not supported with their behaviour as effectively as they could be. Leaders should ensure all staff have the necessary training, guidance and support to help pupils to improve their behaviour.

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