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About Woodlands

Name Woodlands
Website https://halliwellhomes.co.uk/woodlands-school/
Ofsted Inspections
Mr Lee Cambray
Address Church Lane, Edenfield, Rossendale, BL0 0QL
Phone Number 07901048480
Phase Independent (special)
Type Other independent special school
Age Range 6-14
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 7 (60% boys 40% girls)
Local Authority Bury

What is it like to attend this school?

Woodlands is a caring and nurturing place. The proprietor body, leaders and staff have high expectations of all pupils. Together, they enable pupils who have previously experienced long periods out of school to re-engage with their learning and achieve well. A high proportion of pupils move on to mainstream education.

Pupils develop very positive relationships with staff. This enables them to foster trust and respect for adults. Staff know pupils well. Pupils are supported to develop their confidence and resilience. Over time, their behaviour improves. Most pupils behave well and work hard in lessons.

Pupils who spoke with inspectors said that they feel safe. They know that staff will resolve any issues, should they arise. Pupils are tolerant of each other’s differences. They said that the rare instances of bullying are sorted out quickly and effectively.

Pupils’ learning is enhanced by a wide range of trips. Pupils enjoy attending a local leisure centre where they go trampolining. They have access to a spacious outdoor area where they can play football. Pupils spoke enthusiastically about after-school clubs, such as the baking club.

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

Leaders have developed an ambitious curriculum. Pupils follow a wide range of subjects. Pupils start at the school with large gaps in their education, often having suffered significant emotional trauma and considerable periods of time away from school. Leaders identify pupils’ special educational needs and/or disabilities accurately. They use pupils’ individual education, health and care plans effectively to ensure that the curriculum is suitably adjusted to meet pupils’ needs. This helps pupils to achieve well socially, emotionally and academically.

Since the previous inspection, leaders have reviewed the curriculum offer and improved curriculum planning in many subjects. Leaders have thought carefully about the knowledge they want pupils to learn and when. This means that pupils are able to catch up on lost learning in many subjects. However, in a few subjects, plans do not clearly identify the precise knowledge that pupils need to learn. This leads to gaps in pupils’ learning.

In most subjects, teachers have secure knowledge to teach the curriculum content. Teachers use assessment strategies well to check that pupils remember what they have been taught. However, this is not true for all subjects. Some teachers are not as well equipped to deliver the planned curriculum. As a result, pupils do not acquire the knowledge that they need to build on their prior learning.

Leaders prioritise reading because they want pupils to become confident and fluent readers. Many pupils struggle with reading when they first start at the school. Staff are experienced in teaching phonics. They have also benefited from appropriate training to deliver the early reading programme. Leaders have invested in high-quality texts. The books that pupils read match the sounds and words they are learning. Staff support pupils well to catch up.

Many pupils have high levels of disengagement when they start at the school. Leaders work closely with a wide range of specialists, including educational psychologists, to ensure that pupils get the support that they need. Staff speak to pupils sensitively and calmly when pupils show challenging behaviour. This helps to diffuse difficult situations so that pupils refocus on their learning.

The personal, health, social and economic (PSHE) education curriculum helps pupils to learn about the importance of healthy relationships. Pupils have opportunities to pay for goods at local shops. This helps them to prepare for adult life. Pupils regularly go orienteering and for walks in the surrounding countryside. These activities help them to develop their mental health and well-being.

Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is promoted well. For example, pupils learn about other religions and celebrate Yom Kippur and Ramadan. Pupils also have the chance to represent their class on the school council. They are well prepared for life in modern Britain.

The proprietor body ensures that the school meets all of the required independent school standards (standards) and the requirements of schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010. A copy of the safeguarding policy is available on request or is posted on the company website. Pupils learn about relationships and sex education. Leaders ensure that pupils receive helpful, impartial careers advice and guidance. Staff support pupils well, for example in choosing GCSE and vocational courses when pupils start key stage 4 in their mainstream school.

Staff enjoy working at the school. They said that leaders care about their well-being and are conscious of their workload. The director of education knows the school well. The director of education holds leaders closely to account for the impact of their actions.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Safeguarding is given high priority. There is a culture of vigilance. Staff have received suitable safeguarding training. They know how to spot potential signs of abuse or neglect and what to do if they think a pupil may be at risk. Leaders act on concerns quickly. They work effectively with a range of external agencies to get pupils the help and support that they need. Handover meetings at the start and end of each school day ensure that information is shared well between care and education staff. Pupils learn how to keep themselves safe when working online.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and proprietor)

? The curriculum plans in some subjects lack precision about the knowledge that pupils should gain. In these subjects, some content does not build on what has been taught before. This leads to gaps in pupils’ knowledge. Leaders should refine the plans for these subjects and ensure that the key knowledge pupils must gain is carefully ordered so that pupils can know more and remember more. ? Some staff do not have the subject knowledge that they need to deliver the curriculum content. This results in pupils not gaining the knowledge that they need to be successful in later learning. Leaders should ensure that staff receive subject-specific training. This will help staff to deepen their subject expertise and deliver a curriculum that enables pupils to build on their prior knowledge.

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