phone: 01942 824150
headteacher: Mr P Dahlstrom
120 boys 61%
75 girls 38%
Last updated: July 21, 2014
— Community Special School
- Establishment type
- Community Special School
- Establishment #
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 356517, Northing: 402844
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 53.52, Longitude: -2.6573
- Accepting pupils
- 2—19 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- June 25, 2014
- Region › Const. › Ward
- North West › Makerfield › Winstanley
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Main specialism
- SEN cognition and learning (Operational)
- SEN priorities
- PD - Physical Disability
- SLD - Severe 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 #
- Marus Bridge Primary School WN36SP (305 pupils)
- 0.4 miles Saint Paul's CofE Primary School WN36SB (208 pupils)
- 0.5 miles St Aidan's Catholic Primary School, Wigan WN36EE (365 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Wigan Worsley Mesnes Community Primary School WN35HN (244 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Winstanley Community Primary School WN36JP (451 pupils)
- 0.9 miles St James' CofE Primary School WN35XE (168 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Highfield St Matthew's CofE Primary School WN36BL (496 pupils)
- 0.9 miles St Jude's RC Junior School WN35XE
- 0.9 miles St Jude's RC Infant School WN35XE
- 0.9 miles Hawkley Hall High School WN35NY
- 0.9 miles St Jude's Catholic Primary School Wigan WN35AN (204 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Summit Centre WN36BL
- 0.9 miles Park Centre WN35XE
- 0.9 miles Hawkley Hall High School WN35NY (914 pupils)
- 1 mile Perry Brook Community Primary School WN40EP
- 1 mile Landgate School, Bryn WN40EP (61 pupils)
- 1.3 mile Bryn St Peter's CofE Primary School WN40DL (203 pupils)
- 1.3 mile St Mark's CofE Primary School WN59DS (192 pupils)
- 1.3 mile Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Primary School WN40LZ (125 pupils)
- 1.4 mile Pemberton Primary and Nursery School WN59TQ
- 1.4 mile St Cuthbert's RC Junior School WN59LW
- 1.4 mile St Cuthbert's Infant School WN59LW
- 1.4 mile St Cuthbert's Catholic Primary School Wigan WN59LW (359 pupils)
- 1.5 mile St Edward's Catholic Primary School WN50UA
Kelvin Grove, Marus Bridge, Wigan, WN3 6SP
|Inspection dates||25–26 June 2014|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Outstanding||1|
|Achievement of pupils||Outstanding||1|
|Quality of teaching||Outstanding||1|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Outstanding||1|
|Leadership and management||Outstanding||1|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is an outstanding school.
| Pupils make excellent progress in their |
The majority of pupils make outstanding
Teaching is outstanding overall and never
Pupils work very hard to live up to the high
Pupils show and say they feel safe and cared
personal and communication skills. This
means that they are very well prepared for
the next stage in their education or training.
progress in English and mathematics. They
use the skills they learn in a wide variety of
less than good. This has been maintained
over the long period of time since the last
inspection. Teaching assistants make an
excellent contribution to pupils’ progress.
expectations that their behaviour is always
the best it can be.
for well. This is because staff ensure that
each pupil’s individual needs are met very
| The sixth form is outstanding. Students are |
Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage
Leaders have high expectations of what pupils
All senior leaders have clear effective systems
The governing body makes a very significant
well prepared for leaving school because
transition arrangements to the next stage are
make an excellent start to their learning. This
is because provision is very well organised and
interesting and the partnership with families is
can achieve. Many staff help other schools to
learn from the outstanding practice evident at
and procedures to ensure that everyone works
together as a team to improve pupils’
achievement. All staff are helped to keep the
quality of their teaching at a high level.
contribution to the school’s leadership, because
they make plans which impact very well on
pupils’ achievement and continuous school
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed 12 lessons, of which three were observed jointly with the headteacher or a
senior member of staff. Inspectors made short visits to 12 lessons, of which eight were with the
headteacher, in the form of learning walks.
- The inspectors listened to pupils read in lessons and examined pupils’ work in files and books.
- The inspectors took account of the school’s procedures for safeguarding. They looked at the
school development plan, leaders’ evaluation of its strengths and weaknesses, curriculum and
lesson planning, records of lesson observations, targets set for teachers, and documents that
track pupils’ academic and personal progress.
- Meetings were held with leaders, staff and a telephone call was made to a member of the local
authority. A discussion was held with the Chair of the Governing Body and four other governors.
- Informal discussions were held with pupils.
- Inspectors took account of inspection questionnaires returned by 44 members of staff together
with the school’s own surveys of the views of pupils, parents and staff. There were 14 responses
to Parent View (the on-line questionnaire for parents).
|Pauline Hilling-Smith, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|John Ellwood||Additional Inspector|
|Paul Edmondson||Additional Inspector|
Information about this school
- All pupils have learning difficulties. About a half have profound and multiple learning difficulties,
the majority of whom have medical difficulties or complex needs. An increasing proportion of
pupils have autism.
- The majority of pupils are boys.
- All pupils have a statement of special educational needs.
- The proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional language is below the national
- The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds is below the national average.
- The proportion of pupils supported by the pupil premium funding is well above average. The
pupil premium is additional funding for those students who are known to be eligible for free
school meals and those children who are looked after by the local authority.
- A children’s centre and provision for young people with profound and complex learning
difficulties aged between 19 and 25, form part of the organisation.
- The children’s centre building incorporates a community library and a multi-sensory studio
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- There are no specific areas set for improvement as the school has a deep and accurate
knowledge of its strengths and weaknesses and acts on this information rapidly.
|The achievement of pupils||is outstanding|
- Most pupils are working at levels lower than expected nationally when they join the school, as a
result of their disabilities and special educational needs. Although by the time pupils leave the
school their attainment is below average, the proportion of pupils making better than expected
progress is high, compared with the national average.
- Pupils make outstanding progress in their personal development and life skills. This means that
the vast majority of pupils are able to make outstanding progress in English and mathematics,
because they are increasingly able to communicate their needs and wishes and apply their skills,
so that they become as independent as they can.
- Pupils may start at the school at any age, although more pupils begin attending either in the
Early Years Foundation Stage or in Year 7. Pupils who start at an early age usually have complex
needs and an increasing number have autism. Pupils who start in Year 7 are often more able
and as such, have relatively higher starting points. However, no matter what their ability, pupils
make rapid progress towards achieving as much independence as possible, given their
- Meticulous and robust assessment is the cornerstone of each individual pupil’s sustained and
rapid achievement. Class staff teams respond quickly to the frequent evaluation of progress by
adjusting teaching, so that tasks and activities set are almost always exactly right to enable
pupils to make the maximum progress.
- Pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties make particularly excellent progress,
because their care and medical needs are carried out seamlessly, so no time is lost for learning.
- The growing number of pupils with autism do well because staff have made a rapid response to
meeting their needs, as a result of their commitment to extensive training.
- Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage make a good start because teaching areas inside
and outside, are creative and well organised, and there are excellent transition arrangements
when children start school.
- Students in the sixth form make excellent progress because staff have high expectations and
students are ambitious as a result. The opportunity to gain qualifications, follow work
placements and practise life skills, have a significant impact on their achievement.
- Achievement in writing for the most-able pupils is excellent. These pupils make rapid progress in
reading and writing words and sentences because staff are well trained and they make sure
pupils are given many opportunities to write.
- Achievement in reading is good, especially for pupils supported by any additional funding,
including those who are known to be eligible for free school meals. These pupils often
outperform their peers in either English or mathematics. This is as a result of carefully targeted
support and the good use made of the community library.
- The primary school sport funding and Year 7 catch-up funding are used to good effect to
support eligible pupils’ learning and progress.
- All parents who responded on Parent View strongly agree that their children make excellent
progress. Inspectors agree that this is the case.
|The quality of teaching||is outstanding|
- The quality of teaching has been maintained at a high level since the previous inspection. It is
never less than good and much is outstanding. Teaching typically enables most pupils to make
outstanding progress in their personal development, because teachers are enthusiastic and work
with a high level of expertise to promote pupils’ communication skills.
- Staff know, understand and meet the needs of each individual pupil very well. For example, they
use photographs or symbols, signed communication or information and communication
technology (ICT) based communication aids, depending upon which system suits the needs of
the pupils at that time.
- The integration of the nursery with mainstream provision provides many opportunities for
children to play and learn together. This, coupled with the well-organised, focused activities
available to meet the specific needs of all children, has a significantly positive impact on
- Teams of staff in classrooms work very well together to ensure that there is a smooth transition
between activities. As a result, no time is lost and a suitably swift pace of learning is consistently
- Teaching assistants contribute exceptionally well to the achievement of the pupils through good
teaching and support, for example, through teaching groups or by working closely with
- The use of assessment is very strong. All staff observe each pupil carefully and comment about
pupils’ achievement regularly. They skilfully adapt teaching in response to their observations and
this means that pupils move on at a fast pace.
- Pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties make excellent progress because teachers
ensure that learning involves enjoyable and intense sensory experiences. The studio classroom is
a place which staff use exceptionally well to take pupils, for example, on an imaginary trip to
- Older pupils increasingly use their skills in English and mathematics in functional contexts, such
as running the community café. As a result, students concentrate for long periods and
consolidate what they have learned.
- Students in the sixth form develop their independence even further, because they apply skills in
an increasingly wide range of adult situations, such as supervising in playgroups and studying in
other schools and colleges. This prepares them very well for when they leave school.
- All parents who responded to Parent View agree that their children are very well taught and they
are given good information about their child’s progress.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are outstanding|
- The behaviour of pupils is outstanding.
- Students are curious about what unfamiliar adults are doing in the school. They are keen to
volunteer information and respond to questions. They try exceptionally hard to live up to the
high expectations set for them, for example, by lowering their voice or lifting their arm to press
- Staff are very skilled in managing behaviour and maintaining a positive atmosphere at all times.
This is because they understand exactly what is required to meet the needs of pupils. For
example, they may use yoga techniques or sensory physical activities at the beginning of the day
to ensure that pupils are settled before they start work.
- Routines to carry out medical, health and care needs are so smooth that the impact they have
on interrupting learning is minimal.
- The school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is outstanding.
- Pupils say or show they feel safe through their demeanour. This is as a result of the warm,
strong relationships between staff and pupils. One pupil said she felt safe and very well cared
for, because her needs were met fantastically well.
- Pupils learn to keep themselves safe when they are out in the community. For example, they
understand that they must take care and look for traffic when undertaking independent travel.
Older students in the sixth form know what safety features they must look for when they select
toys for young children.
- Pupils thoroughly enjoy school and all attend when they can.
- All parents who responded on Parent View strongly agree that their children are happy, very well
cared for and extremely safe at this school.
|The leadership and management||are outstanding|
- The headteacher has been a highly effective leader over a long period of time. The very effective
partnership with the deputy headteacher has ensured that all of the school’s work has been
maintained at the highest level of quality. Leadership of the school is dispersed among many
capable middle leaders. Their high ambition for pupils’ success has had a considerable impact on
- The leadership of teaching and performance is very effective. Procedures to check the quality of
teaching are detailed and robust. Middle leaders have a sharp focus on, and make a
considerable contribution to pupils’ progress when monitoring the quality of learning. There is a
strong link between teachers' performance and their progression along the pay scales.
- The school’s system for keeping an eye on how well pupils are doing is meticulous. This means
that any pupil at risk of underachieving is quickly identified and if necessary, changes are made
to ensure that this does not happen. This reflects the school’s commitment to ensuring that
every pupil has an equal opportunity.
- Staff work exceptionally well together in the various teams to which they belong. They are proud
to work at the school.
- Leaders ensure that additional funds, such as the pupil premium, Year 7 catch-up funding and
primary school sport funding are used to good effect by providing a wide range of additional
opportunities for eligible pupils. It is clear that this extra funding is making a positive difference
to pupils’ achievement and well-being.
- Leaders of the Early Years Foundation Stage and the sixth form successfully ensure that the
entitlement to an age-appropriate experience is in place. Appropriate emphasis is given to
progress in English and mathematics, and to preparing older pupils for the next stage of their
education through careful transition for each individual.
- The school has a deep knowledge and accurate view of its own performance. Improvement
plans are very effective because they are detailed, closely linked to training, and reviewed
carefully. They reflect leaders’ high expectations and clear vision.
- Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good because pupils are able to reflect
during assemblies and they enjoy kind, warm relationships.
- The school’s range of subjects and other activities meets the needs of the pupils exceptionally
well. Learning is enriched by many clubs and visits and gives priority to meeting the health,
communication and learning needs of the pupils.
- Partnerships are very well developed: the partnership with the health service personnel makes a
significant contribution to pupils’ well-being. The school makes a good contribution to the
teaching of pupils with autism and learning difficulties in other schools, through the training and
advice it gives to mainstream staff.
- The local authority knows the school well and highly values the support it gives to other schools
within the locality. School improvement advice to the governors has contributed to the
management performance of the headteacher, which in turn is very effective in driving school
- Partnership with parents is excellent.
- The governance of the school:
The governing body makes a very significant contribution to the leadership of the school.
Governors know how to secure what they want for the school and they know how the
decisions they make impact on the achievement of the pupils. Governors gain first-hand
evidence through the involvement they have with pupils, parents and staff. They hold leaders
to account stringently for the progress of the pupils and school improvement, based on the
high quality information they seek and receive. Governors manage the budget effectively and
make sure that all safeguarding procedures are rigorous and meet requirements. They are
clear about how the pupil premium, primary school sport funding and Year 7 catch-up funding
are being spent, and can identify the positive effects these are having on eligible pupils.
Governors are fully included in information about how well teachers are performing, and know
about the quality of teaching and how this links to pay.
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.
|Unique reference number||106543|
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||2–19|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Gender of pupils in the sixth form||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||194|
|Of which, number on roll in sixth form||50|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Chair||Mr John Mason|
|Headteacher||Mr P Dahlstrom|
|Date of previous school inspection||12 January 2009|
|Telephone number||01942 824150|
|Fax number||01942 230361|