School etc

Cotswold Community Closed July 29, 2011

Cotswold Community
Spine Road West
Ashton Keynes

phone: 01285 *** ***

interim principal: Mr Graham Steele

school holidays: via Wiltshire council

— Other Independent Special School

Establishment type
Other Independent Special School
Establishment #
Open date
April 2, 1997
Close date
July 29, 2011
Reason closed
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 403452, Northing: 195579
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 51.659, Longitude: -1.9515
Accepting pupils
8—16 years old
Region › Const. › Ward
South West › North Wiltshire › Minety
Town and Fringe - less sparse
Admissions policy
SEN priorities
BESD - Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulty
Special classes
Has Special Classes
Learning provider ref #

rooms to rent in Swindon

Schools nearby

  1. Cotswold Community Home SN66QU
  2. 0.9 miles Ann Edwards Church of England Primary School GL75UW (251 pupils)
  3. 1.2 mile Ashton Keynes Church of England Primary School SN66NZ (175 pupils)
  4. 2.7 miles Siddington Church of England Primary School GL76HL (57 pupils)
  5. 2.7 miles Leigh CofE Primary School SN66RD
  6. 3 miles Kemble Primary School GL76AG (98 pupils)
  7. 3 miles Minety Church of England Primary School SN169QL (123 pupils)
  8. 3.2 miles Oaksey CofE Primary School SN169TG (79 pupils)
  9. 3.4 miles Chesterton Primary School GL71SS (199 pupils)
  10. 3.4 miles Oakley Hall School GL71TU
  11. 3.5 miles Oakley Hall School GL71TW
  12. 3.6 miles Watermoor Church of England Primary School GL71JR (102 pupils)
  13. 3.7 miles Cirencester Junior School GL71EX
  14. 3.7 miles Cirencester Infant School GL71EX
  15. 3.7 miles Paternoster School GL71JR (47 pupils)
  16. 3.7 miles Cirencester Primary School GL71EX (419 pupils)
  17. 3.8 miles The Querns School GL71RL
  18. 4 miles Cirencester Kingshill School GL71HS
  19. 4 miles Cirencester Deer Park School GL71XB
  20. 4 miles Ingleside PNEU School GL71BN
  21. 4 miles Cirencester Tertiary College GL71XA
  22. 4 miles Royal Agricultural College GL76JS
  23. 4 miles Cirencester Deer Park School GL71XB (976 pupils)
  24. 4 miles Cirencester Kingshill School GL71HS (840 pupils)

List of schools in Swindon

The Cotswold Community

Independent special school standard inspection report

DfE registration number 865/6030
Unique Reference Number (URN) 131470
URN for social care SC028419
Inspection number 361376
Inspection dates 29−30 September 2010
Reporting inspector Tom Smith
Social care inspector Paul Clark

No. 090070

Independent school standard inspection report


Purpose and scope of the inspection

This inspection was carried out by Ofsted 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.

1, 2

An inspection of the care provision was carried out under the Care Standards Act
2000 having regard to the national minimum standards for children’s homes. This
inspection took place at the same time but the full report is published separately on

Ofsted’s website and should be read in conjunction with this report which covers the

educational registration of the school.

Information about the school

The Cotswold Community, opened in 1967, is a therapeutic community with a special

school and registered children’s home and is operated by Action for Children. The

school provides for boys aged from 8 to 18 who have experienced previously
disrupted education and home lives. There are 11 students on roll, all of whom
experience severe social, emotional and behavioural difficulties; eight of these
students have statements of special educational needs. Most students arrive at the
school with significantly low attainment. The school aims to provide a holistic and
caring environment that enables students to recover from severe emotional trauma
in their early years; to achieve this the school intends to use a wide range of
therapeutic approaches to help students move forward with positive attitudes.
At the time of the inspection there was no substantive headteacher in post and no
head of education; these roles are being carried out by an interim Principal who
joined the school within the previous month.
The school last had an education inspection by Ofsted in December 2007 and an
uannounced social care inspection by Ofsted in June 2010. A social care inspection
was carried out concurrently with this education inspection. The report of the latter
inspection is available on the Ofsted website.

Evaluation of the school

The Cotswold Community provides a satisfactory quality of education, a judgement
which mirrors that of the last inspection. The quality of teaching and assessment is

satisfactory but is inhibited by sparse schemes of work that are not implemented

sufficiently well. Students make satisfactory progress in their academic learning but
make more substantial gains in the management of their behaviour, which is good



Independent school standard inspection report


when considering the depth and degree of their emotional and social disturbance.
Staff work effectively to secure the provision for the safety, health and welfare of
students; measures to promote their safeguarding are robust and implemented
rigorously. The school does not fully meet its stated aim to provide a holistic
provision based on a wide range of therapeutic support, and although it meets most
of the regulations, the school has not made significant improvement since the last

Quality of education

The quality of the curriculum is just satisfactory, but in practice where schemes of
work to support it exist, these are too short term and do not sufficiently underpin the

continuity, rate and progression of students’ learning. The curriculum statement is

outdated and does not accurately reflect the learning that is now provided. Much is
based on commercial schemes and books. However, the curriculum encompasses
most subjects of the National Curriculum; it offers a good balance of opportunity and
includes appropriate provision for personal, social and health education along with
that for careers education. Students are provided with a wide range of high quality
visits and activities that develop within them an awareness of potential employment
opportunities. The curriculum is further enhanced for students by opportunities they
have to involve themselves in organic gardening, environmental studies, vehicle
restoration and animal husbandry. The latter experience, for example, enables
students to produce and naturally dye garments from wool sheared from the sheep

on the school’s farm and from plants gathered from the land. The implementation of

the curriculum has been hampered by the vacuum in leadership that the school has
When first admitted to the school students undergo a series of tests to determine
their starting points in learning. Where a student may refuse to take part in this test

the staff then make a professional judgement about the student’s stage of learning

and attainment. Most students have low attainment resulting from previously
disrupted experiences of education.
Each student is provided with an individual education plan. The focus of this is
appropriately on the core subjects of English and mathematics and ensures that an
emphasis is maintained on acquiring the skills of reading, speaking and listening and
in numeracy. Despite the effort that goes into the compilation of these initial plans
and the fact that they are reviewed at intervals, their use in lessons is inconsistent.
With notable exceptions, the targets for learning identified within some lesson plans
are too generic and confusing for the student. Too little reference is made to these
targets within the teaching and learning process.
The quality of teaching and assessment is satisfactory. There are pockets of good
and outstanding teaching but this quality is not reflected throughout the school.
Students make satisfactory progress in their learning but, for individuals, the rate of
this progress in some subjects is inconsistent and below that which could be

Independent school standard inspection report


anticipated. The quality and rate of progress are correlated to the quality of teaching
and the demands and challenges that are placed on the students. For example, in art
and geography, students produce outstanding work. Students show enthusiasm for
these subjects and are readily able to discuss the content of what they have
achieved. In contrast, work undertaken in mathematics results from a didactic style
of teaching that is reliant on text books and work sheets.
Planning is of variable quality, but is satisfactory overall. Where lessons are planned
more thoroughly and derived from logical schemes of work, they offer stimulating
challenges and are presented with verve and enthusiasm and the outcomes are more
secure; students are attentive, involved in their learning and take personal
responsibility for this.Planning of some, but not all, lessons is cursory. In such
lessons the needs of students are not identified accurately resulting in sessions that
students appear to endure rather than enjoy and be challenged.
The practice of assessment is not securely embedded within teaching and is
inadequate overall. Day-to-day assessment is ineffective in its contribution to the

planning of the next steps in students’ learning. Lessons end without a clear

understanding of what students have learned and understood; any information that
is gleaned is not routinely used for planning the next stages of learning. Outcomes
are inaccurately recorded by some teachers and the school has an incomplete bank
of data on which it can call in order to evidence progress. Marking of work is

generally imprecise and students’ work is either not marked or not commented on in

ways that provide advice on what they need to do next.
The support provided by learning support staff is a most valuable resource within the
teaching. This small group are often solely responsible for areas of learning, such as
media studies and the provision for the youngest students. The expertise and
professionalism they bring to their task are often outstanding and this benefits the
learning that students achieve.
The links between the residences and the school are negligible and do not effectively

consolidate or add to the quality of students’ learning. Homework is not routinely

provided for students, even for those undertaking national accreditation; poor quality
communication between the residences and the school does not enable links in
learning to be developed in each of the provisions. The residences are handicapped
by the absence of any computers that might be used to support learning. Within the
school the resources are satisfactory.

Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils

The provision for the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of students is
good. By the time they leave the school students have developed a rounded view of
their world and are generally equipped well to take their place within their local and
wider communities.

Independent school standard inspection report


A significant strength of the provision is the way in which students are encouraged to
blossom as individuals and become more self-confident. This is due to the
professional concern and dedication that staff afford them. Many high quality
opportunities are arranged for students, such as the external visits arranged by a
member of the support staff, adventurous activities and visiting speakers. A good
example of this self-confidence occurred when the youngest student in the school
presented a short film to the whole school that explained all the work he had done

that evolved from the story of ‘The Little Red Hen’. Other students were riveted in

their attention.
When taking into account the emotional and social deprivation of the students, their
behaviour is good, indicating solid progress by the majority. This is a most positive

outcome of the school’s work. Students have a respect for rules, although some may

struggle at times to keep them. However, all have a clear understanding of the
difference between right and wrong. The improving behaviour is seen in students’
improved attendance, where an average of 90% represents a significant

improvement on students’ previous educational records. In the lessons that are more
purposefully planned the students’ attitudes to learning are good. They are

enthusiastic, questioning and very able to talk about what they have learned. The
majority clearly enjoy learning.
The school is a therapeutic community but there is a greater emphasis on the notion
of community rather than therapy. Students are fully involved within the community:
as members of the school council, through their work in the organic garden and in
the production of many outstanding examples of art work within the school and its
grounds. There was little evidence of complementary work between the school and
residences to indicate a common approach to students’ personal development.
The cultural and multicultural provision for students is good. Wall displays
throughout the school show evidence of cultural experiences. For example, the
students have taken part in a medieval warfare experience presented by an
enthusiast on the subject. Provision for civic and multicultural understanding is
provided through the curriculum plans relating to art, geography and history.

Welfare, health and safety of pupils

The provision for the welfare, health and safety of students is good. This results from
a caring community in which the interests and safety of the students are paramount.
All the required policies are in place, including that for safeguarding, and these are
implemented robustly. Where there may be an issue that is related to safeguarding

the school’s response is immediate and thorough, reflecting appropriate staff

training. However, the school does not fully meet its aim to be a holistictherapeutic
community. For example, although part-time art and play therapists make a

contribution to students’ personal development, the outcomes to their work are not

fully integrated into the wider work of the school. Other support and therapies, such
as those provided by psychiatrists and psychologists, are provided spasmodically. In

Independent school standard inspection report


this respect the deeper needs of the students in confronting their emotional traumas
are not being addressed effectively.
Detailed and effective policies and procedures are in place to ensure that students
are safe. Risk assessments for the wide range of activities are carried out robustly
and the staff take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of students in their care.
The large site represents a significant challenge to supervision of students but it is

one that staff meet successfully, with care and genuine concern. Students’

awareness of how to look after their health and to stay safe is promoted through the
curriculum for personal, social and health education as well as informally by the
consistent care shown by staff. Students are encouraged to be active, even in the
most imaginative of ways. For example, students not yet fit enough to take part in
robust physical exercise are given the alternative of dog-walking. The social care
inspection identified an area of concern for older students in the residential
accommodation which the school should address. This is explained in more detail
within that report. The school meets its obligations under the Disability
Discrimination Act 1995, as amended.

Suitability of staff, supply staff and proprietors

The necessary checks on all staff are carried out as required. These arrangements
meet the requirements and include the maintenance of a fully completed central

Premises of and accommodation at the school

The school occupies an extensive site of some 250 acres; it was originally developed
for a much larger number of students and a significant number of buildings are
unused. Satisfactory teaching accommodation supports safe and effective learning,
although parts of this now suffer from neglect over time. Learning is enhanced
through the provision of specialist rooms and facilities such as those for science, art,
information and communication technology, physical education and design and
technology. As at the time of the last inspection, parts of the school look worn and
run down. Basic maintenance is carried out but renovation and refurbishment appear
to have been neglected, resulting in facilities such as the outdoor swimming pool
taking on an air of dereliction. In terms of curriculum enhancement, however, the
site is a vast reservoir of untapped potential. Students’ residential accommodation is
in good condition and good efforts are made to make it feel homely.

Provision of information

Parents, carers and others are provided with a full range of information which is
clear, accurate and up to date. However, the school has been unaware of its
obligation to provide local authorities with a breakdown of its income and
expenditure relating to those students funded by their respective local authority. This
matter is now in hand.

Independent school standard inspection report


Manner in which complaints are to be handled

The complaints procedure is satisfactory. This follows the guidelines of the national
minimum standards but is appropriately adapted in ways that meet the

Effectiveness of the boarding provision

The care provision was judged to be good and national minimum standards were

met. A full report on the care provision is available on Ofsted’s website and should

be viewed in conjunction with this report.

Compliance with regulatory requirements

The proprietor has ensured that the school meets The Education (Independent

School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010, schedule 1 (‘the Regulations’), with

the exception of those listed below.


The school does not meet all requirements in respect of the quality of education
provided (standards in part 1) and must:

  • re-draft a curriculum policy that guides learning within the school and
    ensure that this is supported by schemes of work that are effective and
    implemented consistently (paragraph 2(1))
  • ensure that the curriculum provides consistent opportunities for students to
    make progress (paragraph 2(2)(i))
  • ensure that teaching enables students to make progress according to their
    ability (paragraph 3(a))
  • provide well-planned lessons that include effective teaching methods and
    suitable activities (paragraph 3(c))
  • make provision for teachers to a gain a good understanding of the
    aptitudes, needs and prior attainments of the students and ensure that
    these are taken into account in the planning of lessons (paragraph 3(d))
  • implement a consistent framework for assessment that is used regularly and
    thoroughly and use the information gained from this to plan teaching so that
    all students can make more consistent progress (paragraph 3(g)).

The school does not meet all requirements in respect of the premises of and
accommodation at schools (standards in part 5) and must:


Independent school standard inspection report


  • draw up and implement a programme to maintain a satisfactory standard of
    decoration (paragraph 23(p)).

The school does not meet all requirements in respect of the provision of information
(standards in part 6) and must:

  • where a student who is registered at the school is wholly or partly funded
    by the local authority, provide an annual account of income received and
    expenditure incurred by the school in respect of that student and submit
    this to the local authority and on request to the Secretary of State
    (paragraph 24(1)(h)).

Please see the report on Ofsted’s website relating to the care provision in the
children’s home which should be read in conjunction with this report.

Independent school standard inspection report


Inspection judgements
good satisfactory inadequate

The quality of education

Overall quality of education
How well the curriculum and other activities meet the range of needs
and interests of pupils
How effective teaching and assessment are in meeting the full range
of pupils’ needs
How well pupils make progress in their learning

Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development

Quality of provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural
The behaviour of pupils

Welfare, health and safety of pupils
The quality of boarding provision

The overall welfare, health and safety of pupils
Effectiveness of boarding provision

Independent school standard inspection report


School details

School status Independent
Type of school Special school, for students with severe social,
emotional and behavioural difficulties
Date school opened 1967
Age range of pupils 8−18 years
Gender of pupils Male
Number on roll (full-time pupils) Boys: 11 Girls: 0 Total: 11
Number of pupils with a statement of
special educational needs
Boys: 9 Girls: 0 Total: 9
Number of pupils who are looked after Boys: 7 Girls: 0 Total: 7
Annual fees (day pupils) £196,252 (to include full residential care)
Telephone number 01285 861239
Email address reveal email: cots…
Headteacher Post vacant
Proprietor Action for Children

print / save trees, print less