Woolgrove School, Special Needs Academy

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About Woolgrove School, Special Needs Academy

Name Woolgrove School, Special Needs Academy
Website http://www.woolgrove.herts.sch.uk
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Lisa Hall
Address Pryor Way, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 2PT
Phone Number 01462622422
Phase Academy (special)
Type Academy special converter
Age Range 4-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 125
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection


Woolgrove School, Special Needs Academy continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils, parents and staff all agree that Woolgrove is a school where everyone 'lives, laughs and learns together'.

Pupils thrive in this school. They are extremely happy, feel safe and thoroughly enjoy their learning.

The youngest children in Reception and new pupils to the school settle quickly.

Most pupils are kind to each other and value the 'family' community. Over time, many pupils learn strategies to manage their emotions and behaviour. Behaviour in lessons is calm and purposeful.

Bullying is rare. When it does happen, staff help pupils to c...ope with any anxieties they may have.

Pupils appreciate the support that teachers give them to help them learn.

This includes when they struggle because they feel that the work is difficult. Parents who responded to the online questionnaire and who spoke to inspectors on site told us that they are happy with their child's progress and like the way the curriculum is adapted to suit pupils' needs. Many parents used words such as 'fabulous' and 'amazing' to describe the support their child receives.

They value the commitment of leaders and staff in helping their child to succeed.

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

Since the last inspection, lots of things have got better. Leaders have thought hard about what they want each pupil to learn as they move through the school.

They have an unwavering determination to provide the best learning experiences for all pupils. This is shared by governors and staff and is accomplished with skill and passion. As a result, pupils benefit from active and fun activities, which make them want to take part and learn.

In early years and beyond, the curriculum is well thought out. Pupils follow one of five 'pathways' depending on their needs. This ensures that all pupils learn the range of subjects on offer in ways which work for them and enables them to succeed.

Teachers usually teach the curriculum in an order which helps pupils to incrementally increase their knowledge. They tailor their approaches to each pupil's special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Teachers make learning as practical as possible.

This helps pupils to know and remember more. Typically, staff have secure knowledge of the subjects they teach. In a small number of curriculum subjects there is some minor variation in the expertise of staff.

Where this is the case, pupils do not make the best possible progress. Leaders are aware of this, and are already taking action to ensure that the ambitious curriculum is delivered consistently well

Teachers regularly check what the pupils already know and can do. The school use individual target tracking sheets.

These include targets from pupils' education, health and care (EHC) plans and other information about what teachers want the pupils to learn in each subject. Teachers monitor pupils' progress against these targets and tailor what they teach accordingly. The monitoring information is shared with parents, so they know what their child has been learning.

Reading and the development of pupils' communication skills are at the centre of the curriculum. Leaders and teachers share the ambition that every child will make as much progress as possible in being able to read. They have put in place a systematic approach to teaching phonics and early reading skills.

This begins when pupils first start attending and continues to be a priority throughout their time in school. Pupils are given the opportunity to listen to and enjoy stories, nursery rhymes and non-fiction books. Adults read regularly to their class groups and parents are encouraged to share books with their children.

As a result, leaders are realising their vision of pupils developing a love of reading.

The curriculum helps pupils understand how to stay physically and emotionally safe. Pupils are genuinely interested in the views of others and talk about their feelings freely.

They are encouraged and supported to show consideration for each other's needs and difficulties. Pupils spoken to were aware of their own difficulties and talked about how they were helped when they felt anxious or angry.

Leaders make sure that pupils have a wide range of additional opportunities, including some residential visits.

Pupils are encouraged to take part in elections to the school council and hearing pupil's views has a high priority. Pupils also enjoy sporting and music activities, and a group of pupils will be performing in a music concert at the Royal Albert Hall early next year.

Leaders and teachers are very reflective about their own practice and are determined to drive the school forward.

Leaders take time to research any planned initiatives or changes, so that they can be confident that they are making the right choices. There is a remarkable sense of teamwork among staff, in a supportive atmosphere. Teaching assistants are highly effective and work very closely as a team with their class groups.

Leaders have worked hard to ensure work-life balance. Staff told us they appreciate that leaders listen to, and act on, any concerns they may have.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders have developed a strong culture of safeguarding. It is acknowledged that it is everyone's responsibility. Ensuring pupils are safe and happy is a major priority.

From the time pupils join the school they are taught about how to keep themselves safe, not only in school but at home, online and in the community.

Leaders have strong systems in place to record any concerns. Staff are well trained to spot signs that pupils may be at risk and they have good relationships with parents and other agencies.

These help make sure that pupils get the support they need. Parents are very appreciative of the support they receive from the family support and pastoral support workers.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In a small number of curriculum subjects there is some minor variation in the expertise of staff.

Where this is the case, pupils do not make the best possible progress. Leaders should continue with their planned programme of staff development, to support staff to teach all aspects of the curriculum consistently well.


When we have judged a school to be good, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good.

This is called an ungraded inspection and it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on an ungraded inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.

This is the first ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be good in 21 and 22 February 2017.

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