Abbot's Lea School
phone: 0151 4281161
headteacher: Mrs Margaret Lucas
165 pupils capacity: 130% full
190 boys 89%
25 girls 12%
Last updated: June 18, 2014
— Community Special School
- Establishment type
- Community Special School
- Establishment #
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 341418, Northing: 387532
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 53.381, Longitude: -2.8821
- Accepting pupils
- 3—19 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- Sept. 13, 2012
- Region › Const. › Ward
- North West › Garston and Halewood › Woolton
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- SEN priorities
- ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
- MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
- Special classes
- Has Special Classes
- Investor in People
- Committed IiP Status
- Sixth form
- Has a sixth form
- Free school meals %
- Learning provider ref #
- 0.1 miles St Francis Xavier's College L256EG
- 0.1 miles St Francis Xavier's College L256EG (1207 pupils)
- 0.2 miles Woolton High School L256JA (45 pupils)
- 0.2 miles Harold Magnay Special School L256JA
- 0.2 miles Palmerston School L256EE (112 pupils)
- 0.2 miles Springwood Heath Primary School L256JA
- 0.3 miles Newborough School L256HD
- 0.6 miles Bishop Martin Church of England Primary School L255JF (215 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Carleton House Preparatory School L183EE (180 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Beechenhurst Preparatory School L183EE
- 0.7 miles Childwall Church of England Primary School L160JD (423 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Calderstones School L183HS (1516 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Gateacre CofE Primary School L253PG
- 0.8 miles Liverpool Hope University L169JD
- 0.8 miles Woolton Primary School L255NN (606 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Woolton Junior School L255NN
- 0.9 miles Woolton Infants' School L255NN
- 0.9 miles Our Lady's Bishop Eton Catholic Primary School L182EP (414 pupils)
- 0.9 miles New Heys Comprehensive School L194TN
- 0.9 miles St Julie's Catholic High School L257TN (1022 pupils)
- 0.9 miles McKee School L186JS
- 0.9 miles Watergate School L258QA
- 0.9 miles Ashfield School L165EY
- 0.9 miles Alice Elliott School for Deaf Children L165EY
Abbot’s Lea School
Beaconsfield Road, Woolton, Liverpool. L25 6EE
|Inspection dates||13–14 September 2012|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Outstanding||1|
|Leadership and management||Good||2|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is good school because:
It is not yet an outstanding school because:
| The majority of pupils at the school make |
Reading and numeracy skills are promoted
Focused teaching in the assessment
The sixth form is good. Students make
Teaching is at least good. It promotes
at least good progress and achieve well.
They make outstanding gains in their
social and communication skills. Progress
is equally good for all different groups.
systematically and effectively across the
curriculum. Almost all pupils achieve
English and mathematics awards, and
passes at GCSE level are rising in a range
centre ensures that the youngest pupils
make good gains in their personal
development and tailored multi-sensory
good progress and achieve well. They
gain confidence and are well prepared for
their chosen post--16 pathway.
pupils’ learning well and is improving.
Lessons capture pupils interest and are
consistently planned to enhance and
develop pupils’ social, emotional and
communication awareness. Teaching
support is very effective.
| Pupils enjoy lessons and are proud of their |
The very effective headteacher and senior
The school’s outreach service provides
The school has good capacity for further
school. They feel safe and valued in its
secure, structured and cohesive
community. Their outstanding behaviour
and attendance contribute significantly to
the school’s excellent climate for learning
and inclusive ethos.
managers work well together and have a
positive impact on raising pupil
achievement and furthering the school’s
development. Governors are fully
committed and regularly challenge senior
leaders to keep improving the school.
Teaching is efficiently managed and
recent training to make the use of
questioning in lessons more effective has
significantly improved the quality of pupils’
contributions in the classroom.
well organised, very experienced support.
It is very well regarded by the schools
that it serves and by the local authority.
| There are inconsistencies in teaching, |
including, in a few classes, that work is
not sufficiently graded to stretch pupils of
all levels of ability throughout each lesson.
| Some tracking and additional support |
information is not used as effectively as it
could be to improve pupils’ learning
|Inspection report:||Abbot’s Lea School, 13–14 September 2012||2 of 9|
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed 22 lessons, one of which was a joint observation with the headteacher.
In addition, inspectors made a number of short visits to lessons and registration periods,
and listened to pupils read.
- Meetings were held with four groups of pupils, the Chair of the Governing Body, members
of the school staff including senior and middle managers and with the local authority
representative for the school.
- Inspectors took account of the nine reponses to the online questionnaire (Parent View) and
the results of the 2012 parent and carer questionnaire information held by the school.
Feedback from outreach schools and a telephone conversation with the local authority
commissioning officer for outreach were also considered.
- The school’s work was observed and inspectors looked at documentation including data on
progress, planning and monitoring documents. Records relating to behaviour and
attendance, parent workshop courses and documents related to safeguarding were also
- Visits were made to both the main school site and to the assessment centre to observe
lessons and meet with staff.
|Linda Clare, Lead inspector||Additional inspector|
|Drew Crawshaw||Additional inspector|
|Pauline Pitman||Additional inspector|
|Inspection report:||Abbot’s Lea School, 13–14 September 2012||3 of 9|
Information about this school
- The number of pupils at the main site – primary, secondary and post-16 ages – has
increased since the last inspection. In addition, in January 2012 the school incorporated a
satellite site, the Abbot’s Lea Matthew Arnold (ALMA) Assessment Centre which is two to
three miles from the main school buildings. ALMA has a combination of assessment and full-
time places for pupils aged between four and seven years.
- All pupils attending the school have statements of special educational needs indicating
autistic spectrum disorders. All have social and communication difficulties, many have
associated dyslexia, dyspraxia or mental health needs and the vast majority have cognitive
delay or deficit.
- The proportion of pupils eligible for the pupil premium is above average. Fewer than one in
10 pupils are girls. There is a very small number of pupils from minority ethnic groups,
mainly of mixed backgrounds.
- Students in the sixth form follow link courses at Liverpool Community College but these had
not started at the time of the inspection.
- The school manages an outreach service for the local authority to advise and support both
mainstream secondary and primary schools on the needs and education of pupils with
Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
- Abbot’s Lea has the National Autistic Society Autism Accreditation, Investors in People Award
Enhanced Healthy Schools award and the Living for Sport accreditation.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Improve teaching and pupils’ achievement by ensuring that all pupils are working to levels
which extend their knowledge, skills and understanding by:
ensuring activities in the classroom reflect teacher planning and that tasks challenge
each pupil at their own levels throughout the lesson
providing pupils with sufficient time to respond to questioning and to develop more
independent and effective thinking and learning skills
reducing teacher talk to allow pupils more opportunity to undertake planned activities,
practical work, group work or independent research
moderating pupils’ work at different levels against the work of pupils at similar levels in
- Further develop school monitoring and the evaluation of pupils’ progress by:
using lesson evaluations to update and build upon the next step of learning at each
pupil’s own speed and ability levels
evaluating the impact of the extra support provided for some pupils on their learning.
|Inspection report:||Abbot’s Lea School, 13–14 September 2012||4 of 9|
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Parents are in agreement with their children that Abbot’s Lea is ‘fantastic’. They appreciate
the good levels of contact offered and support for their child’s often unique combination of
needs. Pupils say they particularly appreciate staff efforts in helping them to make friends
and to understand their work.
- Pupils enter the school with low starting points as a result of their multiple needs and often
disrupted patterns of schooling. Excellent and consistent behaviour management combined
with the building of positive and trusting relationships with staff allows them to learn how to
- Pupils make good progress from their individual starting points at all key stages. They settle
to their lessons well, take part in lessons to the best of their ability and show interest and
enthusiasm for favourite subjects. They generally know their targets, which have good levels
of challenge and how these help them to improve their work.
- Pupils make outstanding gains in their communication skills. They develop skills of literacy
and numeracy well. Writing skills have been targeted since the last inspection and show
- Pupils at the assessment centre thrive in well-ordered indoor and outdoor environments
where they enjoy lessons and make good gains in learning. Teachers foster an early love of
Aliens with underpants’
is a current favourite. By the end of Key Stage 1 and Key
Stage 2 pupils make generally good progress against expected levels when measured
against their starting points in reading.
- Progress from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4 is good. The flexibility of the curriculum allows
pupils to contribute to decisions about accreditation and match provision to their interests.
The recently expanded range of qualifications meets different levels of pupil ability, and last
year a small group of pupils achieved age appropriate qualifications at end of Year 11.
- Progress in the sixth form is good and students enjoy film-making at Liverpool Community
College, experiencing community and collaborative work.
- The school’s system for tracking and monitoring pupil progress is relatively new and
developing well. Allocation of extra support is linked to the tracking system but the amount
of benefit this provides to individual pupils is not yet assessed.
- Pupils achieve well as they go through the school and there is no significant difference in the
progress of different groups, those whose circumstances may make them vulnerable or
those for whom the pupil premium applies - all make good progress relative to their peers
and overall. Care is taken to ensure that the small number of girls do not feel isolated. They
achieve well and a girls group meets weekly for them to share experiences and make
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- Teaching is good and, over time, the proportion that is outstanding has increased. This good
teaching contributes significantly to pupil progress and achievement.
- All pupils are tested on entry to school to ensure teaching programmes are based on
accurate and current information. This assessment is generally used well to plan activities
which take good account of needs and abilities and have high expectations.
- However, lesson activity does not always sufficiently reflect planning, particularly in the
middle and later stages of lessons. In a number of lessons observed pupils waited for others
to ‘catch up’. Behaviour as pupils waited to rejoin the lesson was calm and tolerant, but their
progress was limited by this inactivity.
- All lessons incorporate activities to promote social communication extremely well and
teachers use pupil interest effectively to motivate and enthuse. For example, in a
mathematics lesson on ‘tallying’ pupils were shown how to create a tally chart, asked to
think of their own question, design the chart, then approach every other member of the
class appropriately for a multiple choice response. Pupils’ engagement in the task was
excellent – their learning and enjoyment clearly demonstrated.
|Inspection report:||Abbot’s Lea School, 13–14 September 2012||5 of 9|
- Teachers are very skilled in their use of questioning to draw in less forthcoming pupils and
ensure all participate. In some lessons pupils are not given sufficient time to gather their
thoughts, or support is offered too quickly, which limits thinking and learning skills. Reading
is promoted well across the curriculum and taught effectively.
- Excellent classroom management contributes well to the climate for learning in lessons.
Teachers are well trained, knowledgeable in their subject areas and universally show
enthusiasm and genuine care for their pupils. They use information technology effectively
but in some lessons too much teacher talk and explanation leaves less time for pupils to
develop as independent learners or to work collaboratively in pairs or groups.
- Teachers regularly check how well pupils have understood their learning. However, teacher
planning is not readily accessible in all lessons nor swiftly reviewed, which slows monitoring
and evaluation and the updating of pupils’ next steps.
- Extra support is provided for those in need of specific help. The school has yet to evaluate
how well this support has worked at both pupil and whole-school levels in order to make
- Teaching assistance is a strength of the school. Support staff provide discrete assistance and
know their pupils well. On odd occasions this can inhibit trial and error as pupils strive to
grasp a concept and support is too swift.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are outstanding|
- Pupils’ behaviour is exemplary and makes an outstanding contribution to both learning and
social skills development. The ‘Chigung’ music and movement session sets the tone for the
school day and encourages reflection and calm, which pupils take seriously and say they
- Parents, pupils and staff all recognise behaviour to be outstanding. As pupils go through
school they become polite, articulate young people with developing views and excellent
attitudes to learning.
- Pupils have very clear views and understanding about bullying and its consequences –
particularly regarding text or email intimidation. They are adamant that any occasional
instance of untoward behaviour will be swiftly and transparently dealt with by staff.
- Behaviour management is consistent and very effective. All staff are well trained in
supporting pupils and the focus is clearly on developing self-management skills and self-
regulation. Pupil’s social and emotional progress is efficiently tracked and underpinned by
individual opportunities for counselling or targeted support.
- Students say they feel very safe in the school. On a scale of one to five (with five as the
most secure feeling) one pupil declared the school to be a 10. Parents and carers
overwhelmingly agree. They recognise the excellent levels achieved by the school to ensure
the well-being of all pupils, particularly for those whose circumstances may make them
- The school is a very cohesive community. Its inclusive nature is very effectively enhanced by
its successful outreach service, which serves all Liverpool mainstream schools, its close links
with ALMA, work at local colleges and links with the local neighbourhood. Attendance is
above average with virtually no persistent absence.
|The leadership and management||are good|
- The headteacher’s consistently high expectations for school improvement are shared by
senior managers, staff and governors. The outstanding drive and ambition of the wider
senior leadership team is having a real impact on improvement because it is well supported
by a good combination of experienced and recently qualified teachers and a newly
established middle leadership team. Management of the sixth form department, the
assessment centre and the outreach service are all equally good and staff morale is high.
|Inspection report:||Abbot’s Lea School, 13–14 September 2012||6 of 9|
- The school’s recently revised tracking systems are becoming established, school self-
evaluation is accurate and issues identified at the last inspection have been effectively
addressed. Data is used effectively to provide starting points for pupil programmes but
information from lessons and the extra support provided for some pupils is not always
evaluated swiftly enough to contribute to pupils’ next steps in learning. The school has yet to
compare the work of its pupils against pupils at the same levels in other schools to ensure its
data is robust.
- The management of teaching is good and recent work to develop staff questioning skills has
improved pupil learning. Performance management and staff training are effectively linked to
future planning and to improving pupils’ progress.
- The curriculum is rich, stimulating and flexible, and meets pupils’ needs extremely well.
Pupils make good progress in literacy as a result of the focus on reading and writing skills in
all lessons. Practical activities, out of school residential trips, visits and after-school clubs
enhance the curriculum and provide strong cultural and social experiences.
- Leaders and governors tackle discrimination and promote equality comprehensively. Close
working partnerships with a range of health, medical, therapy and social care agencies help
break down barriers to learning for the pupils. Academic and vocational partnerships prepare
older pupils well for future careers.
- The school’s arrangements for safeguarding pupils meet statutory requirements.
- The school has good partnership links with parents and carers. The parent workshops are an
excellent introduction to the school and of great benefit to parents.
- The light touch monitoring and support provided by the local authority for good schools has
forged an excellent working partnership which is supporting governors and senior managers
to effectively improve and develop the school, its new assessment centre and outreach
- The governance of the school
members of the governing body challenge the school well and effectively hold senior
leaders to account
governors have a detailed knowledge of the school’s strengths and areas for
improvement, and are aware of school priorities for future development
governors have a keen understanding of pupils’ progress and ensure finance, including
staffing costs and the use of pupil premium funding, are managed effectively.
|Inspection report:||Abbot’s Lea School, 13–14 September 2012||7 of 9|
What inspection judgements mean
|Grade 1||Outstanding||An outstanding school is highly effective in delivering outcomes |
that provide exceptionally well for all its pupils’ needs. This
ensures that pupils are very well equipped for the next stage of
their education, training or employment.
|Grade 2||Good||A good school is effective in delivering outcomes that provide |
well for all its pupils’ needs. Pupils are well prepared for the next
stage of their education, training or employment.
|Grade 3||Requires |
|A school that requires improvement is not yet a good school, but it |
is not inadequate. This school will receive a full inspection within
24 months from the date of this inspection.
|Grade 4||Inadequate||A school that requires special measures is one where the school |
is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education
and the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not
demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the
necessary improvement in the school. This school will receive
regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and
requires significant improvement but leadership and management
are judged to be Grade 3 or better. This school will receive
regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
|Inspection report:||Abbot’s Lea School, 13–14 September 2012||8 of 9|
|Unique reference number||104736|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Special|
|School category||Community special|
|Age range of pupils||4–19|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Gender of pupils in the sixth form||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||185|
|Of which, number on roll in sixth form||35|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Chair||Ms Sarah Powell|
|Headteacher||Mrs Margaret Lucas|
|Date of previous school inspection||14 January 2010|
|Telephone number||0151 428 1161|
|Fax number||0151 428 1800|
|Inspection report:||Abbot’s Lea School, 13–14 September 2012||9 of 9|