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|The Sallygate School
|Mr Alistair Hammond
|Channels & Choices, Kearsney Manor, Temple Ewell, CT16 3EQ
|Other independent special school
|Number of Pupils
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils are proud to belong to The Sallygate School. Staff greet them warmly every morning. Pupils feel at home and are happy to be in their safe and nurturing learning environment.
Pupils learn strategies very well to overcome their social and emotional difficulties. For some it is the first time they feel truly understood by adults. Consequently, trust is built between pupils and adults alike, and pupils settle down to learn quickly.
Staff have very high expectations for what pupils can achieve. Pupils make much progress across the curriculum and are prepared well for their next stage of education or training.
Pupils behave very well given their special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). They learn to be kind to each other and celebrate differences. Pupils say that bullying is unusual, but on the very rare occasion it might occur, it is dealt with swiftly and effectively by school staff.
Pupils make exceptional progress in their personal development. School leaders, teaching staff and therapists provide pupils with ways to overcome barriers caused by their SEND. The vast majority of parents and carers say that Sallygate School has transformed their children’s lives.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders have developed a broad curriculum where individual pupils’ needs are placed at its heart. They have an ambitious vision to ensure that pupils gain skills to help them with their future lives.
Pupils have typically experienced disjointed education in the past. Staff get to know pupils very well when they join the school. They identify any gaps in learning, keeping a close eye on how well pupils are settling in. Pupils achieve well and a typical comment from a parent was, ‘My child is thriving in all areas’.
Leaders have established a well-planned core curriculum of English, mathematics and personal, social and health education (PSHE). Leaders include a wide range of subjects in the rest of the curriculum. Pupils over recent years have achieved an increasing number of accredited outcomes.
Most of the curriculum is developed well so there is a steady building of pupils’ knowledge over time. However, in a small minority of subjects, this is not the case. Leaders recognise this and have been refining the curriculum in these areas. While this work is well underway, it is not yet fully embedded.
Teaching supports the aims of the curriculum well. Teachers make use of the rich and stimulating environment to inspire pupils. Teachers and learning mentors devise interesting activities that hook pupils’ attention and help them concentrate.
Pupils enjoy reading. Leaders make sure that weak readers have extra help with learning phonics. Staff support pupils well to make secure steps towards becoming fluent readers. Pupils practise reading with books that match their ability so that they experience success. Staff encourage pupils to read widely. Pupils of all ages speak with enthusiasm about the books they read.
A wide range of therapists work alongside staff to develop exactly the right strategies to support pupils. All staff promote and extend pupils’ personal skills at every opportunity. They build pupils’ confidence, resilience and independence extremely well. Because pupils’ needs are consistently met, they behave exceptionally well. Should a pupil become unsettled, staff help them to calm down quickly and return to learning.
Pupils are encouraged to develop their public speaking skills, presenting to the class on areas of talent or expertise. Staff watch for pupils’ special interests and talents, and make sure they do everything possible to extend them. An expertly designed PSHE programme enables pupils to gain knowledge about living in modern Britain. A key feature of the programme includes well-planned and age-appropriate relationships and sex education.
Leaders provide pupils with high-quality careers advice. Pupils explore their possible next steps through discussion with an independent careers adviser. Pupils are prepared well for transition to post-16 placements.
Leaders at all levels make a strong and successful team. Leaders make sure that staff receive highly effective training. Staff feel valued and say that leaders provide high levels of support for their well-being. Leaders do all they can to alleviate any concerns about staff workload. Consequently, leaders have made sure that there is a highly collegiate atmosphere in the school.
Members of the highly skilled management committee ensure that leaders have a clear strategic plan for improvement. They provide effective challenge and support to school leaders. The management committee checks that all independent school standards and other statutory requirements, such as equality duties, are consistently met.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
A suitable safeguarding policy is published on the school website that takes into account latest government requirements.
All staff are vigilant and report any safeguarding concerns they have about pupils. Designated safeguarding leaders act quickly to investigate concerns, liaising with outside agencies in a timely manner. They keep accurate records of their actions and follow through any recommendations or actions.
Leaders make sure that staff have up-to-date safeguarding training. They ensure that they carry out all required checks when employing staff and keep records of these checks meticulously. The management committee monitors safeguarding diligently.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and proprietor)
? Leaders recognise that parts of the wider curriculum, such as science, do not yet have clearly identified small, sequential steps of knowledge. In addition, it is not clear what pupils will learn and when. This means that pupils’ long-term memory may have gaps. Leaders should embed the work already started to make sure all the curriculum builds on what has been learned before. This is so that pupils learn more and remember more over time.