Valley School

Name Valley School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 16 February 2011
Address Whitehaven Road, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire, SK7 1EN
Phone Number 01614397343
Type Special
Age Range 2-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 67 (70% boys 30% girls)
Local Authority Stockport
Percentage Free School Meals 26.2%
Percentage English is Not First Language 11.9%
Persisitent Absence 22.5%
Pupils with SEN Support 1.5%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about the school

Valley School is a larger-than-average size special school for pupils with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties, and with autism spectrum conditions. The Nursery has 20 mainstream places and a further six for children identified with special educational needs and/or disabilities. The majority of the children attending will move on to alternative mainstream provision for their Reception Year. Children identified with special educational needs and/or disabilities prior to admission to the Nursery are assessed during their time there. Pupils in the main school all have a statement of special educational needs. There are more boys than girls attending the school. Pupils are drawn from across the Borough of Stockport. The proportion of pupils from minority-ethnic groups is around the national average. All pupils in the main school have significant communication difficulties relating to their special educational needs and/or disabilities and the school is a leader in communication, offering training in the region. The school has Healthy School status and has received the Sportsmark and Activemark awards. Extended school provision is offered and managed separately but makes use of the school’s facilities. Since the last inspection, building work has been undertaken to improve accommodation for the increasing number of pupils on the autism spectrum.

Main findings

Valley is an exceptional special school which has continued to build on its reputation and on previous inspection findings as an outstandingly effective provider. The individual care and support to meet pupils’ often extremely complex needs is outstanding. As a result of the good teaching and excellent care, pupils make at least good and sometimes outstanding progress in their learning and personal development. The school motto of ’small steps, giant strides’ perfectly describes the attention to detail the school recognises is so important to ensure its pupils thrive. The safety and health of pupils is paramount. Pupils experience a wide range of activities on offer in the excellent curriculum, both in school and in the community, which contribute to their all-round development. They clearly enjoy their time in school from their welcome by the headteacher at the door in the morning until they leave. A parent of one pupil captured this well by saying, ’He always comes home with a smile on his face.’ Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding. Behaviour is excellent, supported by the establishment and implementation of clear behaviour management strategies for those pupils who can present challenge. Pupils develop an excellent understanding of how to contribute to the school and wider community. High-quality information is shared between school staff, specialist staff and parents and carers to ensure pupils’ complex needs are met consistently. This is much appreciated by parents and carers, many of whom said they feel very supported by the school. Parents of children who attend the Nursery recognise the learning and development opportunities offered by the outstanding provision made in the fully-inclusive setting. Senior managers have very high expectations for the pupils, although, in some sessions, the use of assessment does not always inform progression to specific learning outcomes for individuals. Leaders closely monitor the school’s work, which has enabled them to self-evaluate very effectively and see clearly which aspects they would like to improve even further. These are communicated effectively to staff, the multi-disciplinary teams and to the governing body who provide good and effective support. The school is a happy place to work and learn. A range of extremely effective partnerships has been developed with other schools and with external agencies to support pupils’ learning and their understanding of the community in which they live. As a result promotion of community cohesion is outstanding. As a result of leaders’ shared commitment and vision, evident in the way they continue to sustain outstanding effectiveness, the school demonstrates an outstanding capacity to continue to improve.