The Shires at Oakham

Name The Shires at Oakham
Ofsted Inspections
Address 3 Uppingham Road, Oakham, Should be blank, LE15 6JB
Phone Number 01572758913
Type Independent (special)
Age Range 11-19
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 8 (100% boys)
Local Authority Rutland
Percentage Free School Meals 0.0%
Pupils with SEN Support 0%%

What is it like to attend this school?

Staff provide a warm welcome to pupils when they arrive at this school. Well-established routines help pupils feel safe. Relationships between pupils and staff are secure and trusting. Pupils appreciate that staff know them well and care about them. Staff are attentive to meeting pupils’ needs. Their support ensures that pupils’ attitudes to learning are mostly positive.

The school’s atmosphere is calm and purposeful. Pupils make the most of the well-designed outdoor space. They cooperate well with others. Pupils know that their views matter. They say that bullying does not happen. They know that staff will listen to them if they have any worries. Parents and carers are positive about the school. Typically, one parent praised the ‘support, understanding, compassion and encouragement’ that staff provide.

Pupils enjoy activities such as visiting the local museum, shopping in the outdoor market and learning to swim. They know what they need to do to be successful. One pupil reflected the views of others by saying, ‘I have never had such a good experience at school.’

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

Pupils are supported very well when they join the school. Leaders check pupils’ communication and sensory needs carefully. Staff use this information to make sure that each pupil can access an ambitious curriculum. Teachers pay close attention to pupils’ education, health and care (EHC) plans when designing the curriculum. They provide pupils with plenty of opportunities to meet their specific targets. Pupils settle quickly into school life and begin to flourish.

Staff are skilled at using different approaches to communicate with pupils. There is a structured approach to teaching phonics. Teachers frequently revisit the letters and sounds that pupils know. Pupils following the semi-formal curriculum pathway enjoy reading daily. They recall stories they have read by choosing appropriate words to describe the characters. However, reading is not prioritised across the school. Pupils following the formal curriculum pathway do not have consistent opportunities to read for enjoyment. Some of them lack confidence when reading and do not read as well as they should.

Each curriculum pathway is logical and well structured. In mathematics, teachers present new subject knowledge clearly and check pupils’ understanding systematically. They help pupils remember new information. For example, pupils accurately identified the differences between median, mode and range using a rhyme. Staff make learning relevant to the real world, such as budgeting for food shopping. Pupils carry out mathematical operations with increasing accuracy and independence.

Pupils learn about important themes such as fair trade, the Second World War and the local environment. However, teachers are not always clear about what they want pupils to learn when studying these topics.

On the whole, pupils are well prepared for adulthood. They know how to keep themselves safe, including when online. They learn about healthy relationships and how their bodies change as they get older. Pupils regularly engage with people who work in a wide range of occupations. They benefit from personalised careers advice and work-experience placements as part of their preparation for adulthood. There is a rich variety of extra-curricular activities for pupils to enjoy. However, there are too few opportunities for pupils to learn about different faiths and cultures, and what it means to live in modern Britain.

Most pupils attend school well. Regular therapy sessions help them to understand their emotions and the triggers that make them unsettled. Staff encourage pupils to reflect when things go wrong so that they can make better decisions in the future. Pupils learn to manage their behaviour more effectively.

Staff are very positive about working at the school. Leaders support them to manage their workload and promote their well-being. Staff value opportunities to engage with training to develop their careers.

The proprietorial board is well informed about all aspects of the school. It carries out regular monitoring to ensure that the independent school standards are met securely. The board ensures that the school is suitably resourced. Routine health and safety checks help maintain the premises to a good standard. The school complies with schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010. Leaders have consulted with parents about the school’s policy on relationships and sex education and health education. Other policies are up to date and reflect the latest statutory guidance. The safeguarding policy is available on the website. Some risk assessments do not pay close enough attention to the guidance in the policy.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders are knowledgeable about safeguarding. They act quickly when a pupil is at risk of harm and take swift action. Leaders frequently liaise with external agencies to secure the right support for pupils. They ensure that appropriate recruitment checks are completed before adults begin to work at the school.

Staff are vigilant. They update their training regularly to stay well informed. Staff know the procedures they must follow to raise a safeguarding concern. They understand their responsibilities to report any adult who might put a pupil in danger of being harmed.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and proprietor)

? Leaders have created an ambitious curriculum. They have not thought carefully enough about the knowledge they want pupils to learn in all aspects of their learning. Leaders should ensure that there is clarity about what pupils need to learn, including through enrichment activities. Leaders should provide pupils with the knowledge they need to achieve as highly as they can, so that they are well prepared for adulthood. ? Leaders have not promoted reading consistently well. Some pupils do not enjoy reading. Some cannot read with consistent accuracy or fluency. Leaders must provide pupils who follow the formal curriculum with the skills and knowledge they need to read different types of books confidently and independently.