phone: 01296 483584
headed by: Mrs Margaret Bond
20 pupils capacity: 20% full
5 boys 125%
Last updated: June 24, 2014
— Other Independent Special School
- Establishment type
- Other Independent Special School
- Establishment #
- Open date
- Feb. 26, 2009
- Reason open
- New Provision
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 479801, Northing: 213955
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 51.819, Longitude: -0.84367
- Accepting pupils
- 12—18 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Region › Const. › Ward
- South East › Aylesbury › Coldharbour
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- SEN priorities
- BESD - Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulty
- Sixth form
- Has a sixth form
- Learning provider ref #
- 0.3 miles St Mary's Church of England School HP197WF (401 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Meadowcroft Junior School HP199HP
- 0.7 miles Thomas Hickman School HP199HP (454 pupils)
- 0.8 miles Bearbrook Combined School HP197QP (434 pupils)
- 0.8 miles The Pace Centre HP199JL (64 pupils)
- 0.8 miles The Pace Centre HP199JL
- 0.8 miles Buckinghamshire UTC HP218PB (92 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Aylesbury Vale Primary Support Centre HP199NS
- 0.9 miles Blueprint HP199JL (13 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Haydon Abbey School HP199NS (425 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School HP218PE
- 0.9 miles Pathways Primary Pupil Referral Unit HP199NS
- 0.9 miles The Buckinghamshire Primary Pupil Referral Unit HP199NS (3 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School HP218PE (1098 pupils)
- 1 mile Quarrendon School HP199PG
- 1 mile Pebble Brook School HP218LZ (100 pupils)
- 1 mile Aylesbury College HP218PD
- 1.1 mile Willowmead Infant School and Nursery HP218PF
- 1.2 mile Oak Green School HP218LJ (453 pupils)
- 1.2 mile Stone Church of England Combined School HP178PD (209 pupils)
- 1.2 mile The Aylesbury Vale Academy HP180WS (1020 pupils)
- 1.4 mile Beech Green Nursery School HP218JG
- 1.4 mile Elmhurst School HP202DB (327 pupils)
- 1.4 mile Elmhurst Infant School HP202DB
4 Wren Path, Fairford Leys, Aylesbury, HP19 7AR
|Inspection dates||3–4 December 2013|
|Pupils’ behaviour and personal development||Adequate||3|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Quality of curriculum||Good||2|
|Pupils’ welfare, health and safety||Good||2|
|Leadership and management||Good||2|
Summary of key findings
This school is good because
It is not yet outstanding because
Compliance with regulatory requirements
| Students make good progress, particularly in |
College leaders and staff place students’ best
Teaching is good. Staff manage behaviour
communication, literacy and numeracy skills.
interests at the heart of their work. Links
between the residential and teaching staff are
strong and students continue learning after
the college day finishes. Leaders ensure that
teaching and achievement are good.
well and mark students’ work regularly.
| Since the last inspection, the headteacher has |
Staff develop trusting relationships with
The college does all it can to keep the
established a much more coherent programme
for the students across the five sites. Staff
now feel well supported in their work.
Expectations of teachers are clear.
students and allow them to express their
concerns and worries.
students safe. They are well cared for.
| Students’ behaviour, although improving, is |
Students have too few opportunities to learn
not yet good enough and their attendance at
lessons is not regular enough.
alongside their peers, hampering the
development of their social skills. On one site,
the learning environment hinders the way
teaching is planned.
| Students do not regularly take advantage of |
Students do not always respond to written
Leaders’ ready access to useful whole-college
opportunities to contribute to the college and
wider community beyond their particular
guidance on how to improve their work.
records is limited by current systems.
- The school meets schedule 1 of The Education (independent School Standards) (England)
Regulations 2010, as amended by The Education (Independent School Standards) (England)
(Amendment) Regulations 2012 (‘the independent school standards’) and associated
Information about this inspection
- This inspection took place with one day’s notice.
- The lead inspector was unable to observe any lessons or parts of lessons as students were
not in attendance.
- It was not possible to gather information from the online Parent View survey because no
responses were made.
- The lead inspector considered the two responses to the staff questionnaire and had
discussions throughout the inspection with the headteacher and deputy headteacher.
- The inspector reviewed key documents and policies from across the sites, including those
related to safeguarding and the students’ work as well as information about the students’
attainment and progress.
|Sheila Nolan, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
Information about this school
- Benjamin College opened in 2008. It provides education for secondary-age students across
five registered residential settings owned by Benjamin UK Ltd.
- The college is registered for up to eight students between 11 and 18 years of age. Two of
the current students have a statement of special educational needs. Students are funded by
their placing local authorities from London Boroughs as well as other areas of the country
- All students placed in the college have had a disrupted education in their previous schools.
Some have not attended school for lengthy periods. Most students have behavioural,
emotional and social difficulties. Some have medical conditions.
- The college provides short-term placements for students who later continue onto mainstream
schools or other institutions. The college aims to provide a ‘consistent and caring
environment in which students can develop their full academic, personal and social potential’.
- The current headteacher was appointed in December 2012. There are five other education
staff across the five sites. Each site has a key link teacher, although teachers work across all
- The college uses additional provision for some work in science and for physical education.
- The college was last inspected in 2010. The residences were not inspected at the same time
as the inspection of the college. The last social care inspection was in September 2013.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Further improve the quality of education and students’ personal development by:
bringing students together more often for lessons so that there is greater scope to
develop their social skills
reviewing the use of the small classroom on one site so that a wider range of learning
opportunities can be provided
encouraging students to respond to comments in teachers' marking of their work
making more intensive efforts to acquire any academic records from previous
improving the attendance of students at daily lessons
giving students more opportunities to contribute to their college community and the
- Strengthen leadership further by providing better access for senior staff to centralised
records from across all the college sites.
Students’ achievement is good as a result of good teaching and a good curriculum. Evidence to
support this judgement was seen in the students’ work files. Although their attainment is well
below that expected for their age, given their very low starting points students are making good
progress in developing their basic skills. Files and assessment records show that some make
excellent advances in reading, writing and numeracy. Some students make significant progress in
their reading as they discover real pleasure in reading. Although there are large gaps in students’
learning when they join the college, through tiny steps, each student is encouraged successfully to
make up some of that lost ground. Some students’ progress is still hindered by illness, non-
attendance at lessons and difficulties in concentrating and engaging with others. Residential staff
manage to fill in some missed work at times other than those designated for lessons. Almost all
students at Key Stage 4 gain some form of modular external accreditation.
Although it was not possible to evaluate students’ achievements in lessons, teachers’ records of
learning and students’ work show great strides, for example, in their communication skills and in
dealing with everyday finance. Students’ achievement is not yet outstanding because their personal
challenges still hinder their academic work.
|Pupils’ behaviour and personal development||Adequate|
Students’ behaviour and personal development are adequate. Some students make relatively good
gains over their time in the college when compared with their starting points. However, because
placements are short term, students are usually at the early stages of managing their own
behaviour so that they are calm enough to learn. Staff track students’ engagement with learning
and these records show that concentration in class and engagement in other activities are variable
but with an overall trend of improvement as students gain in self-esteem and confidence.
However, attendance and punctuality are not yet good enough, although some students make
significant progress compared with that shown in their previous records.
All students can show challenging behaviour but staff are skilled at managing such behaviour and
liaise closely with the residential staff in supporting students’ personal development. Students’
generally trusting relationships with staff allow them the space to express their concerns and
frustrations at times. Although behaviour is not good overall, students make reasonable progress in
their personal development, including being able to communicate with and trust adults.
Students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is promoted well. They learn to
understand the impact of their behaviour on others. Visits to places of interest extend their
knowledge of the wider society and of public services and institutions in England. Students are
encouraged to take an interest in news bulletins and current affairs. They are sometimes pleased
to contribute to their small community in little ways, for example, by cooking for others in food
technology or helping to put flat-pack furniture together. Some are involved in the college African
charity. Leaders ensure that when controversial and political issues are considered, that steps have
been taken to offer a balanced presentation of opposing views.
The quality of teaching is mostly good which enables students to make good progress. Teachers
|Quality of teaching||Good|
strive well to extend students’ knowledge and understanding of basic academic skills as well as life
skills. The small numbers allow for work to be carefully tailored to meet different students' needs
and to help to fill some gaps in their learning while at the same time supporting gains in personal
confidence and self-esteem. All staff are well informed on each student’s immediate area of focus
so that not only are skills developed but themed projects are set up in which to apply and
consolidate these skills. Teaching staff work closely with residential staff so that learning continues
outside of school hours. This liaison is well targeted at developing students' independent learning
skills. Where possible, staff use a variety of methods to help the students increase their
understanding of the work in hand. However, this work is not fully supported by the learning
environment in one classroom on one site where only one-to-one work is possible.
Rarely do students arrive at the college with clear records of earlier learning. This makes for slower
progress than is desirable, given the usually short-term placements, as staff have to take time to
get to know the students and to assess their skills. This induction period is handled well by the
college, particularly when students are initially reluctant to learn. The checks on students’ work are
regular and thorough, although not enough is done to make sure that students respond usefully to
comments and guidance in teachers' marking. Marking is always sensitively managed to focus on
the most pressing need, so that the students do not lose heart and give up. As a consequence,
students’ work shows perseverance and, in some cases, a real determination to benefit from their
good working relationships with staff and their short-term placements. Residential staff also
complete records of learning so that teaching staff can 'pick up the thread' on the following day.
|Quality of curriculum||Good|
The curriculum is good, covers the required areas of learning and reflects well the college’s aim to
provide a ‘broad and balanced curriculum that includes key core subjects’. It is delivered through
individual education plans and matched to the needs of each student so all can make good
progress. Besides a strong focus on basic literacy and numeracy, including reading recovery
programmes, the college teaches science on its own premises for biology and through visits to
another local centre for practical work in chemistry and physics. Students also study food
technology and information and communication technology. There is a range of sporting activity
including horse riding and exercise in a local sports centre. All students have membership of the
sports centre although not all use it willingly. Humanities and the arts are woven into each
student’s plan with themed projects to help students apply their emerging basic skills. At Key Stage
4, students have opportunities to gain worthwhile accreditation from major awarding bodies that
will help them on to further education and training. A major aim of the college is to build up the
students’ confidence so that they begin to realise that they can achieve well. Clear schemes of
work support staff in planning lessons.
High priority is given to personal, social and health education. Residential staff are now better
integrated into the students’ learning programmes. Steps in learning are recorded in the
communication book for each residence so that these can be shared with the teaching staff. There
is good enrichment of the college curriculum with out-of-hours activities that involve theatre and
museum visits as well as visits related to the students’ interests. The ‘challenge twenty’ involves
students in negotiating with residential staff as they strive to make a series of out-of-hours visits
aimed at expanding their horizons. The students with a statement of special educational needs
have programmes linked to their particular circumstances. Careers education and guidance have
been introduced since the last inspection to prepare students for the next stage of their education,
training or living. There are also strong links with a wide range of other agencies to support and
manage their medical and other needs.
|Pupils’ welfare, health and safety||Good|
The arrangements for students’ welfare, health and safety are good as are the college’s
safeguarding procedures. All regulations are met. College staff work closely with the residential
staff to continue to build trust between the young people and the adults who support them. Staff
are well trained in the management of students. College policies and procedures with regard to
first aid, health and safety and anti-bullying are fit for purpose, implemented well and consistent
across all of the college sites. Most college staff are trained effectively in first aid and are
supported well by residential staff who are on site during the school day. Child protection is taken
very seriously and staff are trained regularly in this to the required level as well as in restraint
procedures. Safer recruitment practices are in place and all staff are carefully vetted. Child
protection training and practice are given high priority across the college. The college has a very
clear policy on the use of rewards and sanctions which focuses on withdrawing rewards rather
than on punishments. Students understand the system and generally respond at least adequately
to this positive management. The high ratio of staff to students has contributed to a situation
where there are no recorded incidents of bullying.
The college checks all staff thoroughly to ensure their appropriateness to work with young people.
Teaching staff are suitably qualified and all relevant information is systematically recorded on the
single central record covering all school sites. There are sharply focused risk assessments for each
student for both on- and off-site activities. The college is meticulous in recording attendance at
lessons and in registering the students’ engagement in learning. All staff are committed to
maintaining a secure and calm environment so that students can take advantage of learning. Some
students are involved with a range of external agencies when they join the college. These links are
maintained and other partnerships are formed where it is necessary for the good of the students.
Because of the very small numbers, students are well known to the teaching and support staff.
Although the college strives to develop the students’ understanding of how to keep healthy, not all
students demonstrate the motivation to act to develop a healthy lifestyle.
Leadership and management are good which enables students to make good progress. Senior
leaders are well aware of the areas where improvement is needed. Much has been done since the
last inspection to form the teaching staff into a coherent team. This is partly accomplished through
regular weekly meetings so that staff working across the five sites do not feel isolated or
unsupported. Teaching staff roles are now clearly distinguished from those of the residential staff.
Training for staff and performance management are better linked than previously. All issues from
the previous inspection have been addressed.
The headteacher has a clear vision of how to develop the college. Although the premises and
accommodation meet requirements, the headteacher recognises the issue with small classrooms,
which limit the possible approaches to teaching, and that students have too few opportunities to
learn with others which could better promote their personal development. Additionally, there is a
|Leadership and management||Good|
need for more efforts to be made in obtaining students’ previous academic records to assist in their
induction. Much has been done to structure lesson times, the curriculum and schemes of work,
record students’ progress and link effectively with the residential staff. The school provides all the
information it should for parents and carers and for the local authorities. The complaints procedure
There are still some difficulties for senior managers in gaining ready electronic access to all
necessary records from all sites because of the way that information is currently stored. All the
regulations for independent schools are met.
What inspection judgements mean
|Grade 1||Outstanding||A school which provides an exceptional quality of education and |
significantly exceeds minimum requirements.
|Grade 2||Good||A school which provides a high quality of education that exceeds |
|Grade 3||Adequate||A school which meets minimum requirements but needs to |
improve the quality of education it provides.
|Grade 4||Inadequate||A school where minimum requirements are not met and/or the |
quality of education has serious weaknesses.
|Unique reference number||135805|
|DfE registration number||825/6042|
This inspection was carried out under section 162A of the Education Act 2002, as amended by
schedule 8 of the Education Act 2005, the purpose of which is to advise the Secretary of State for
Education about the school’s suitability for continued registration as an independent school.
|Type of school||Independent|
|School status||Independent residential special school|
|Age range of pupils||12−18|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||4|
|Number of part time pupils||1|
|Proprietor||Mrs Claudette Deysel|
|Date of previous school inspection||8−9 December 2010|
|Annual fees (day pupils)||£26,000|
|Telephone number||01296 483584|
|Fax number||01296 483584|
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