Extracts taken directly from inspection reports from non-mainstream settings. This gives additional insight into what inspectors are looking for beyond the Inspection Framework and Inspection Handbook.
Inspector’s comments in relation to the effectiveness of leadership and management judged as outstanding
- The headteacher, ably supported by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable leadership team, has inspired the school community to share and follow his strategic vision. As a result, this is an outstanding school.
- School development planning is precise and strategic. Leaders focus upon clear success measures to check upon progress and future actions. This agreed system ensures rapid improvements, for example in the way that teachers consistently use information about pupils’ abilities and needs to inform their planning and subsequent tracking of pupils’ progress.
- A new assessment system and curriculum planning have been implemented as a result of a recent review. This has revolutionised how pupils’ special educational needs and/or disabilities are addressed. Leaders, including the specialist lead practitioner, have revised the design of the curriculum and assessment procedures, culminating in personalised learning journeys for pupils who follow a learning pathway specifically designed for their stage of development.
- Leaders make regular checks on the effectiveness of the school’s work to ensure that it is of a consistently high quality and continues to improve.
- School staff work seamlessly together with health professionals from the in-patient unit to make sure pupils’ needs are met. The handover meeting at the beginning of the day enables relevant information to be shared, ensuring that the best programme is put in place for each pupil.
- Leaders use performance management effectively to inform them about the quality of teaching and improve outcomes for students. The information is used to plan well-targeted whole-staff and individual training which meets specific needs.
- Leaders set high expectations for teaching and holds teachers fully accountable for their students’ progress. Teachers, in turn, are thoughtful and reflective about their teaching and are confident in the support they are given to help them improve.
- The headteacher makes sure effective checks on performance take place and staff are well trained in all aspects of their role. A wealth of professional development opportunities is provided within the school and training is tailored for individual members of staff. As a result, teaching is highly effective.
- School staff are highly skilled, especially in their knowledge of mental health and well-being and the potential impact of those on learning.
- Strong working relationships with other education settings promote the pupils’ development and support transition. When pupils are admitted to the hospital, staff make contact with their ‘base school’ and establish what the pupils’ current programmes of work and subjects taught are. Wherever possible, these are continued.
- The curriculum is a strength of the school. Subjects such as physical education, science, computing and Art and design technology are taught by specialist teachers. After-school clubs provide further enrichment, for example through modern foreign languages such as Japanese and Spanish. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is available for older pupils up to silver level. Vocational learning, such as catering, hair and beauty and construction, is a strong feature of the school’s work from Year 9 through to sixth form. Leaders and governors recognize, however, that further refinements of the curriculum are necessary to ensure that pupils who have more-complex needs benefit fully from the school and sixth-form provisions.
- Leaders use additional funding for pupils who have special educational needs and / or disabilities effectively to provide additional staffing and resources to successfully support pupils’ individual needs.
- The support from the local authority is appropriate and helpful. The school’s excellent practice in special educational needs, and in particular providing for pupils with autistic spectrum disorder, is highly valued by the local authority. As a result, the school shares its expertise with other schools by offering an outreach provision. The school plays a full part within a network of local schools and a larger group of special schools. These schools support each other in a range of areas, for example, working together to develop practice and checks with regard to assessment.
- Together, senior and middle leaders play a pivotal role in coaching and mentoring colleagues. They use regular monitoring information, including an audit of the staff’s skills, to target their support and resources to excellent effect. Staff take time to reflect and analyse what has worked well. This drives up the quality of teaching, learning and assessment still further.
- Teachers and teaching assistants are alike and highly motivated and confident to seek specific training from the vast pool of expertise within the school in order to continually refine their practice. Cross-fertilisation of effective teaching practice at all levels of the trust is a major driver for school improvement, securing rapid rates of improvement in all areas of the school’s performance.
- The school’s policies and practices for promoting equal opportunities are outstanding because staff plan so effectively for pupils’ needs across subjects and contexts. In this way, realistic and challenging targets are set in accordance with pupils’ abilities and interests. There is a broad range of ‘learning pathways’ for pupils to follow so that they are fully engaged in learning and aspiring to do their best at all times.
|Key Takeaways: Leadership and Management|
|Create a shared vision.|
|Have measurable success indicators in development plans to ascertain progress.|
|Focus on curriculum development so that it is matched to the interests and aspirations of the pupils.|
|Make sure learning for pupils in personalised and takes into account their needs.|
|Work with health professionals and other external partners.|
|Make regular checks on effectiveness of all aspects of the provision to ensure the best possible outcomes for pupils.|
|Make sure there is an effective system for performance management.|
|Ensure staff have access to a wide range of CPD opportunities.|
|Help staff understand the impact of mental health and wellbeing on learning.|
|Develop strong relationships with other educational settings to support pupil transition arrangements.|
|Link with other similar educational settings to share and develop best practice.|
|Coach and mentor colleagues.|