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|Name||The Wenlock School|
|Mr Simon Smith|
|Address||Fossil View, Wren’s Hill Road, West Midlands, DY1 3SS|
|Type||Other independent special school|
|Number of Pupils||79 (81.1% boys 18.9% girls)|
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils are happy at this school. They enjoy learning and are motivated to achieve as well as they can. Highly skilled staff provide the right support for pupils who have a wide range of special educational needs and/or disabilities. Leaders have high expectations of what pupils can achieve. Pupils thrive at this school because their individual needs are exceptionally well met.
Pupils feel very safe. They know that staff will help them with any worries or problems. Relationships between pupils and staff are extremely positive. Pupils say if bullying occurs, staff deal with it ‘quickly and professionally’.
Most pupils behave very well. Staff provide effective support for pupils who struggle with their behaviour so they can get back to learning as soon as possible.
Pupils are prepared very well for the next stage of their education and future lives. For example, they complete work experience, take part in activities in the local community and learn how to manage their own money. Pupils also enjoy the wide range of experiences that are well matched to their interests. These include ice skating, forest school and educational visits, including one to Cadbury’s World.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders have created an ambitious curriculum well matched to the pupils’ needs. Pupils who join the school have often experienced disruption to their education. They may have fallen behind academically. Leaders prioritise reading, writing and mathematics. They also ensure that pupils spend plenty of time learning a broad range of subjects. Teachers check how well pupils are learning the planned curriculum through a range of assessments. They use this information very effectively to review the targets on pupils’ individual education plans and their education, health and care plans.
The curriculum is carefully sequenced so that pupils build and deepen their knowledge. Teachers ensure that pupils revisit learning and complete tasks to apply what they know. Leaders have designed the curriculum so that pupils can transfer knowledge between topics to help make sense of new learning. For example, in mathematics, a study of Alan Turing was reinforced by work undertaken in history.
In other subjects, such as art and design and construction, teachers use their excellent subject knowledge to plan learning so that pupils can apply knowledge to practical projects. Pupils make strong progress in all subjects because the curriculum is tailored to their individual needs. Pupils have frequent opportunities to apply their English and mathematical skills. This includes enterprise sessions where pupils make items in the school’s workshop to sell at community events. Recently, pupils have been measuring, marking out and making planters to a high standard. A planned marketing campaign by pupils is aimed at encouraging people to buy them.
Pupils who are in the early stages of learning to read benefit from daily phonics sessions. Staff are experts in teaching reading and help pupils become more fluent readers who understand what they have read. An attractive and well-stocked library helps pupils develop a love of reading. This is used effectively, and pupils are able to talk about their favourite books and authors.
Pupils enjoy physical education. The curriculum is well sequenced so that pupils can develop and practise specific sports and motor skills. The wide range of activities on offer includes swimming, gymnastics and Thai boxing.
Pupils in key stages 4 and 5 experience a curriculum that is bespoke to their individual needs. Pupils can choose to study a mixture of examinations, including GCSEs and A levels, as well as vocational studies linked to what they aim to study at college. Pupils are very well supported to make appropriate choices about the courses they select. This is based on their prior learning, interests and desired career path. Pupils receive excellent independent careers guidance. They visit local colleges and receive support to apply for courses and attend interviews.
Leaders have carefully organised the content of the personal, social and health education curriculum so that pupils develop the knowledge, skills and attributes they need for the future. Pupils are respectful of differences. Pupils have an in-depth understanding of the issues that surround gender. Pupils know how to keep mentally and physically well, prepare healthy foods and are taught how to form positive relationships. The relationships, sex and health education curriculum adheres to current Department for Education guidance. It has been fully implemented. Teachers ensure work is age-appropriate.
Pupils have highly positive attitudes towards school and learning. They come to school regularly, which has not always been the case for some pupils prior to joining this school. They respond well to teachers’ high expectations. Pupils work hard to produce the best work they are capable of and are proud of the work in their books.
The school is exceptionally well led and managed. Members of the proprietor body are knowledgeable and experienced. The independent standards are met in full. Leaders are determined to ensure that pupils who come to this school know that they can ‘dream big’, grow in confidence and achieve as well as they can. The school building is maintained well. The learning environment supports pupils’ sensory and physical needs. Leaders comply with schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010.
Many parents and carers are full of praise for the school. They are pleased with the social, emotional and academic progress their children have made since joining the school. Where parents have concerns, leaders work to address these. Staff enjoy working at the school and feel valued. Leaders are mindful of their workload and well-being.
The school has recently applied to increase the number of pupils it can take from 90 to 100 pupils. There are separate individual toilets and suitable washing facilities for pupils. The number of toilets is likely to meet the needs of additional pupils. Existing shower and changing facilities are provided and are likely to be able to accommodate the school’s proposed number on roll.
There is a well-equipped and spacious medical room, with easy access to a toilet and washing facilities. The medical room contains a bed and first-aid kits and appropriate storage for medicines.
The proprietor has ensured provision for current pupils is well decorated, furnished and maintained. All the classrooms benefit from natural light through the windows. There is adequate classroom space, within the existing provision, to cater for additional pupils.
In addition, there are vocational workshop areas. The proprietor has ensured that heating, lighting and acoustics are suitable for all the activities that take place in these rooms and in all the spaces throughout the school.
The outdoor areas, including a large multi-sports, all-weather pitch, are well maintained. This area accommodates physical education and allows pupils to play together during breaktimes and lunchtimes. Additional outdoor space is provided in a smaller quadrangle area in the centre of the school. It is evident that pupils’ welfare, health and safety will be maintained if the material change is implemented.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
All staff receive training in keeping pupils safe. Staff know how to identify and report concerns about a pupil’s welfare and do so promptly. Records show that leaders take effective action to ensure that pupils get the help and support they need. The safeguarding policy includes the most recent statutory guidance and is available to parents on the school website. The proprietor body makes all the necessary pre-employment checks to ensure all staff are suitable to work with pupils.
Pupils are knowledgeable about how to keep themselves safe. For example, the curriculum teaches about anti-bullying, gender equalities and how to stay safe when around water.