The Parks School


Name The Parks School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 11 February 2020
Address Burley Road, Oakham, Leicestershire, LE15 6GY
Phone Number 01572756747
Type Special
Age Range 2-5
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 10 (80% boys 20% girls)
Local Authority Rutland
Percentage Free School Meals 20%
Pupils with SEN Support 12.5%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Outcome

The Parks School continues to be an outstanding school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Leaders have ensured that The Parks has continued to be a caring school that helps children to be the best they can be. Parents and carers say that their children are eager to go to school. Children like being with the teachers and adults who help them. The adults in school know the children very well. They make sure that the work the children do matches their interests. For example, they link stories, and work in mathematics, to the theme of ‘bears’.

Adults make sure that they intervene quickly, and successfully, if children begin to get upset or frustrated. This means that children’s behaviour is exemplary. There is never any bullying. The school works hard to keep the children safe. Parents have very high levels of trust that this will happen.

Leaders want the children to do well. They want them to have the same opportunities as children have in the adjacent mainstream primary school. Children go on many trips and visits such as a train trip to Melton Mowbray and visit to Whipsnade Park. Children enjoy these opportunities.

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

Leaders have established an ambitious curriculum for the children. The curriculum is planned so that each child has the opportunity to work towards the same early learning goals as children in mainstream schools. The school sets no barriers for the children for what they can learn.

Teachers plan carefully the work that the children will do. They make sure that the work the children are given is of high quality and that it matches the children’s needs. Adults plan learning that follows on from what children have recently learned and prepares them for what they will be learning next.

Teachers make stories and reading time fun. For example, teachers use resources when they read ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ so that the children become engaged and excited. Teachers have very high expectations of what the children can achieve. They use their knowledge of what the children can already do to get the best of out of the reading sessions. They reread books with children so that the children become really familiar with them. Children learn to anticipate what will happen next. Teachers emphasise clearly the sounds they want the children to learn from the stories and the children have fun repeating them.

Teachers use strategies such as pictures, signs and symbols to help children learn to communicate clearly. This is done with precision for each individual child. Typically, parents told us that their child’s ability to communicate has increased dramatically since starting at the school.

Teachers use resources that interest and engage children such as bears, ponies and dinosaurs. This makes learning meaningful for children and helps them to feel safe emotionally.

Staff use every opportunity to encourage learning. During breaktimes and lunchtime, staff take resources outside and use them with the children to build on the learning that has been taking place in the classroom. Staff take every opportunity to maximise the children’s learning, including in their personal and social skills.

Leaders ensure that staff benefit from training that improves their subject knowledge. They have worked with colleagues in local schools. Teachers have improved how well they plan learning for children. They have spent time learning to be experts in the teaching of reading and mathematics in the early years.

Leaders provide exceptional opportunities for children to learn about the wider world. The children go into the adjacent primary school to attend assemblies and to work with mainstream children in their classrooms. Leaders have secured the support of a music therapist who works alongside children to help them manage their feelings and emotions.

Children learn how to make, and keep, friends because the teachers explain clearly to them how to do this. Teachers help children learn how to be happy, sad and funny in appropriate ways.

The school is well led. All staff say that the leadership team is extremely supportive and engages well with them. They all work together as a team to support the often complex and varying needs of all the children. Leaders help the teachers to manage their workloads well. The adults look forward to coming to school as much as the children do.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders make sure that all adults know how to keep children safe. Staff recognise the particular vulnerabilities that young children with SEND might have. Leaders provide staffwith the up-to-date training they need to keep the children safe. Leaders work well with external agencies when this might benefit a child.

Adults in the school have clear procedures to follow if they are worried about a child. They act upon these concerns in a timely, proportionate way. Record-keeping is organised and appropriate.

Background

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 Parks School to be outstanding on 26–27 January 2016.