Beech Hill School
Headteacher: Mrs Georgina Hunt
62 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||122948|
|Inspection dates||20–21 April 2010|
|Reporting inspector||Ruth McFarlane|
|Type of school||Special|
|Age range of pupils||11–16|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||63|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Chair||Mrs Liz Owen|
|Headteacher||Mr Martin Sutton|
|Date of previous school inspection||30 January 2007|
|School address||Fairholme Drive|
|Telephone number||01623 626008|
|Fax number||01623 651459|
|Inspection dates||20–21 April 2010|
© Crown copyright 2009
This inspection was carried out by two additional inspectors. Eleven lessons or part lessons were observed and eleven teachers seen. Meetings were held with groups of pupils, the Chair of the Governing Body, school staff and an advice and guidance partner who works with the school. Inspectors observed the school's work, and looked at a range of documentation, for instance results from the school's monitoring activity and extensive information about pupils' progress, samples of pupils' current work in each year group, responses from the school's annual pupil review, a staff survey, and 22 parent and carer questionnaires.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail at the following:
This is a very small school with 63 pupils on roll, all with statements of special educational needs. Three quarters are boys, a higher proportion than is usual. The statements are mostly for moderate or severe learning difficulties (MLD, SLD) or social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. An increasing number of pupils have additional difficulties, particularly autistic spectrum disorders. There are no pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds. The school has applied for a change in designation to extend its age range to 19 from September 2010. Since the last inspection it has formed a learning partnership with some other schools including a local comprehensive school to share facilities and expertise. Through this partnership, Beech Hill provides some post-16 courses, on Beech Hill premises, taught by Beech Hill staff, for pupils enrolled at this partner school. Most of these pupils were former pupils of Beech Hill. This provision was not a part of this inspection. The school holds several accolades for its provision including Lead Professional Status for its work on the development of progress data and assessment, and Healthy Schools Gold Status.
|Inspection grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate|
|Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms|
Overall effectiveness: how good is the school?
The school's capacity for sustained improvement
Beech Hill is an outstanding school where pupils thrive in a happy working environment that prepares them exceptionally well for their futures. There has been continual improvement since the last inspection. This has been due to an unrelenting drive by the whole staff team, led by competent and experienced senior leaders, to provide the very best education for all the pupils. As a result pupils' outcomes are exceptional, including their achievement and personal skills.
Pupils' attainment on entry to the school is generally very low but they achieve exceptionally well, so that by Year 11 all gain nationally accredited qualifications, whatever their prior ability and sometimes challenging needs. Their outstanding progress is rooted in the detailed way staff assess and record every small step in the pupils' learning and predict what they could achieve. Teachers then use this information to make sure the pupils are learning as quickly as possible and to provide personalised support. This exemplary system of predicting, measuring and recording progress is recognised in the school's Lead Professional Status for this aspect in its local authority. It has led to a profile of excellent teaching across the school.
The curriculum is exceptionally vibrant and responsive, precisely adapted to individual need, and includes exciting work with schools in Norway and Sweden and highly effective learning partnerships with a group of local schools. The partnership work, initiated by the school, has been particularly successful in enabling pupils to continue to be taught at Beech Hill with their familiar teachers and environment whilst enrolled in another local school after they reach the age of 16. In this way the school ensures that discrimination and barriers to learning are eliminated and there is equal opportunity to learn for those of its pupils who might be unable to settle in a new environment at this stage of their lives.
Underpinning the school's ethos are robust arrangements for safeguarding children and very high quality care, guidance and support. The school's success in dealing with poor attendance is exceptional in a number of cases, but a very few recently-enrolled pupils find coming into any school a challenge. The vast majority attend regularly, thoroughly enjoy school and feel valued because of the high-quality relationships and care which pertain at all levels.
The headteacher and senior management team provide clear educational direction for the school. Governors are knowledgeable and supportive. The school promotes understanding of its community well but has not assessed its work in this area thoroughly enough to be sure that coverage is comprehensive.
There are several reasons why the school has outstanding capacity to sustain further improvement. Strong teamwork is evident throughout the staff. Monitoring processes are exceptionally good and take into account the views of pupils, staff, governors, parents and carers. The school's comprehensive evaluation of its own performance and its planning for development are focused and effective, and this has led to the significant improvements in its provision since the last inspection. As one pupil put it, 'Beech Hill just gets better and better.'
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils
The smiles of delight as pupils realise they have grasped the next small step in their learning and their joy and that of their teachers when this is shared with their peers are common features of lessons. This enjoyment and confidence assist pupils to make their often outstanding progress. All achieve some national accreditation for their learning, such as Entry Level, BTEC or GCSE. Inspection evidence shows that progress is consistent for boys and girls, and for all groups, including those with MLD, SLD, autism and those with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties. Pupils achieve very well, particularly in literacy, numeracy and communication. They make excellent progress in lessons so that they meet challenging targets which are sharply focused and precisely matched to their starting points and ability level. The high level of individual attention encourages pupils to attempt new work and to learn by their mistakes, confident in the positive support they receive. For instance, in a mapping skills lesson, Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils rapidly acquired new skills in finding directions using a compass and locating various objects in the outside area. They consistently used the terms 'left' and 'right' to locate different areas of the school and then converted these terms into compass directions, happy to make errors because they were confident of support. A group of Year 10 and 11 pupils showed great pride at each small gain in learning in their lesson using new technology to modify sound and creating individual musical arrangements. They made outstanding progress in an atmosphere of supportive encouragement to learn.
The school provides a happy, calm haven where pupils very much enjoy their learning. They demonstrate growing levels of empathy, tolerance and understanding. They cooperate happily together and are very supportive of each other. They gain a very thorough understanding of healthy lifestyles and how to keep themselves safe. Pupils feel very well cared for by staff and they state that there is little bullying or unpleasantness. Their behaviour is good because staff are consistent in their high expectations. Pupils demonstrate highly positive attitudes to their work. The quality of their spiritual, moral and social development is excellent. Pupils are superbly equipped for their transition to post-16 education or training by their outstanding progress in basic skills, in developing their self-confidence and through their excellent progress in learning about the world of work.
These are the grades for pupils' outcomes
|Pupils' achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning|
Taking into account:
The quality of pupils' learning and their progress
The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their progress
|The extent to which pupils feel safe||1|
|The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles||1|
|The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community||1|
|The extent to which pupils develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being|
Taking into account:
|The extent of pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development||1|
1 The grades for attainment and attendance are: 1 is high; 2 is above average; 3 is broadly average;
and 4 is low
* In some special schools inspectors do not make a judgement about attainment in relation to expectations of the pupils' age.
The quality of all aspects of provision is reflected in the outstanding progress pupils make. The curriculum is individually matched and adapted to each pupil's learning needs. Through continual assessment, teachers adapt work to stretch learning and suit every pupil's attainment and achievement. They know their pupils very well. Enjoyment and care have high profiles. All this was demonstrated in a Year 11 group, where pupils made rapid progress evaluating each other's performance against a progressive set of criteria. They were carrying out an engaging task that ingeniously linked the mystery of the Marie Celeste with the mystery of identifying unseen objects described by pupils to each other. They were constantly encouraged to aim higher and achieve the next step in their learning. Staff have high expectations of the pupils and challenge them through the brisk pace of lessons and well-directed questions. Well-trained teaching assistants provide very good support. Every little step of progress is rewarded, often by numerous popular WAMs (Worth a Mention), celebrated in assembly. There are excellent opportunities for older pupils to learn vocational skills in the school, in the community, through work experience, and through the school's learning partnership with other schools. For instance, an area of the grounds forms an automotive repair centre complete with car and equipment. Work with other schools internationally, in Norway and Sweden for instance, enriches the curriculum further. SportsMark, Healthy Schools Status and football coaching from professional players are examples of the importance the school gives to promoting a healthy lifestyle. The outstanding programme of personal, health and social education has a strong impact on the pupils' personal skills. The school works exceptionally well with a range of external support agencies. As a result, pupils receive excellent support which enables them to get the best out of their learning. Transition arrangements, that include an option for pupils to join a local comprehensive school yet continue to be taught at Beech Hill with their usual teachers, are exemplary and have resulted in every pupil in the last three years going on to further education or training.
These are the grades for the quality of provision
|The quality of teaching|
Taking into account:
The use of assessment to support learning
|The extent to which the curriculum meets pupils' needs, including, where relevant, through partnerships||1|
|The effectiveness of care, guidance and support||1|
The senior team's work, and that of other managers and governors, has collectively driven up the quality of teaching, the curriculum and pupils' achievements since the previous inspection. This, and some visionary development planning which has led to its application to extend its age range to 19, confirms an outstanding capacity to improve. Staff feel fully consulted, involved and valued and, consequently, there is a clear common purpose which permeates the life of the school. A great strength of the school lies in the rigorous and effective way leaders and managers monitor, evaluate and improve on every aspect of the school's performance. Governors are involved in all aspects of school life and provide good challenge and support to the school. They are particularly robust in ensuring that child protection, risk assessment and safeguarding requirements meet current statutory requirements. The school works extremely well with parents and carers to engage them in their children's learning. It promotes cohesion with its community well overall. It has strong links with a wide variety of local partners, for instance through learning partnerships, and with international partner schools in Beijing and Cape Town. The school's work is exceptional in promoting the equal opportunities of all pupils and their families and in tackling discrimination, particularly in the way it reaches out to those who have left the school. It is outstandingly successful in removing barriers to learning for pupils, including those with complex learning needs, and thus improving their life chances.
These are the grades for leadership and management
|The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambition and driving improvement|
Taking into account:
The leadership and management of teaching and learning
|The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and supporting the|
school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities met
|The effectiveness of the school's engagement with parents and carers||1|
|The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being||1|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles discrimination||1|
|The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures||1|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money||1|
About a third of eligible parents and carers responded to the questionnaire. Responses were very positive about every aspect of the school's work and no disagreement at all was indicated for a large majority of the questions in the questionnaire. Parents and carers indicated strongest support for their child's enjoyment of school, the way the school keeps their child safe and healthy; the high quality of teaching and the way the school prepares their child for the future. Almost all of the written additional comments were positive, expressing high regard for the school and their child's experience there. Two of the responses commented adversely on behaviour. Behaviour observed in the school during the inspection was almost always good and sometimes exemplary, and records showed that any incidents of poor behaviour are dealt with effectively.
Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at Beech Hill School to complete a questionnaire about their views of the school.
In the questionnaire, parents and carers were asked to record how strongly they agreed with 13 statements about the school. The inspection team received 22 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In total, there are 63 pupils registered at the school.
|My child enjoys school||11||50||11||50||0||0||0||0|
|The school keeps my child safe||15||68||7||32||0||0||0||0|
|My school informs me about my child's progress||14||64||7||32||1||5||0||0|
|My child is making enough progress at this school||11||50||9||41||0||0||0||0|
|The teaching is good at this school||14||64||8||36||0||0||0||0|
|The school helps me to support my child's learning||11||50||10||45||0||0||0||0|
|The school helps my child to have a healthy lifestyle||15||68||7||32||0||0||0||0|
|The school makes sure that my child is well prepared for the future (for example changing year group, changing school, and for children who are finishing school, entering further or higher education, or entering employment)||14||64||8||36||0||0||0||0|
|The school meets my child's particular needs||13||59||8||36||1||5||0||0|
|The school deals effectively with unacceptable behaviour||14||64||6||27||2||9||0||0|
|The school takes account of my suggestions and concerns||13||59||9||41||0||0||0||0|
|The school is led and managed effectively||12||55||9||41||0||0||0||0|
|Overall, I am happy with my child's experience at this school||13||59||9||41||0||0||0||0|
The table above summarises the responses that parents and carers made to each statement. The percentages indicate the proportion of parents and carers giving that response out of the total number of completed questionnaires. Where one or more parents and carers chose not to answer a particular question, the percentages will not add up to 100%.
|Grade 1||Outstanding||These features are highly effective. An oustanding school provides exceptionally well for all its pupils' needs.|
|Grade 2||Good||These are very positive features of a school. A school that is good is serving its pupils well.|
|Grade 3||Satisfactory||These features are of reasonable quality. A satisfactory school is providing adequately for its pupils.|
|Grade 4||Inadequate||These features are not of an acceptable standard. An inadequate school needs to make significant improvement in order to meet the needs of its pupils. Ofsted inspectors will make further visits until it improves.|
|Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)|
|Type of school||Outstanding||Good||Satisfactory||Inadequate|
|Pupil referral |
the progress and success of a pupil in their learning, development or training.
the standard of the pupils' work shown by test and examination results and in lessons.
|Capacity to improve:|
the proven ability of the school to continue improving. Inspectors base this judgement on what the school has accomplished so far and on the quality of its systems to maintain improvement.
|Leadership and management:|
the contribution of all the staff with responsibilities, not just the headteacher, to identifying priorities, directing and motivating staff and running the school.
how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their understanding, learn and practise skills and are developing their competence as learners.
inspectors form a judgement on a school's overall effectiveness based on the findings from their inspection of the school. The following judgements, in particular, influence what the overall effectiveness judgement will be.
the rate at which pupils are learning in lessons and over longer periods of time. It is often measured by comparing the pupils' attainment at the end of a key stage with their attainment when they started.
22 April 2010
Inspection of Beech Hill School, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire NG19 6DX
Not long ago my colleague and I came to your school to see how you were getting on and to suggest things to make your school even better. You made us very welcome and we enjoyed meeting you and chatting to you and seeing what you do in your classrooms, and at lunchtime in the dining room. Thank you. Please thank your parents and carers for me for all the helpful comments they made on the questionnaires.
You go to an outstanding school. You told us that you all enjoy school very much. We could see that you work hard and all make excellent progress in your work and in your personal development. You told us that the many different people at the school look after you very well and give you lots of interesting activities. We noticed that the activities prepared for you included those that help you to become independent, make choices and learn all about how to be a grown up. All the adults are very good at working out how well you are doing and then preparing work that is just right for each of you.
You've done some exciting work to get to understand pupils and lifestyles in other countries. To make the school even better, we have asked the governors and staff to make sure it checks how well they are helping you to understand what is happening in the local area as well as in the rest of the United Kingdom.
Almost all of you attend school very regularly but just a very few of you don't. The school could improve even further if every one of you came to school as often as possible. We have asked governors and staff to help with this because you miss all the fun when you are not there.
Do keep on enjoying school and working hard because that will mean you are doing your best to get ready for your future as adults.
|Any complaints about the inspection or the report should be made following the procedures set out in the guidance 'Complaining about inspections', which is available from Ofsted's website: ofsted.gov.uk. If you would like Ofsted to send you a copy of the guidance, please telephone 08456 404045, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.|