phone: 01670 820320
headed by: Mr Alistair Omand Ba(Hons), Pgce, Npqh
10 pupils capacity: 60% full
5 boys 83%
Last updated: June 20, 2014
— Other Independent Special School
- Establishment type
- Other Independent Special School
- Establishment #
- Open date
- July 19, 2006
- Reason open
- New Provision
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 423945, Northing: 582504
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 55.136, Longitude: -1.626
- Accepting pupils
- 10—18 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Region › Const. › Ward
- North East › Wansbeck › Bedlington West
- Village - less sparse
- SEN priorities
- BESD - Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulty
- Special classes
- Has Special Classes
- Sixth form
- Has a sixth form
- Learning provider ref #
- 0.7 miles Meadowdale Middle School NE226HA
- 0.7 miles Meadowdale Middle School NE226HA (412 pupils)
- 0.9 miles St Bede's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Primary School NE226EQ (251 pupils)
- 0.9 miles St Benet Biscop Catholic Voluntary Aided High School NE226ED (1076 pupils)
- 1 mile Bedlington West End First School NE226EB (288 pupils)
- 1 mile Northumberland Pupil Referral Unit NE616NF
- 1.5 mile Choppington Primary School NE625RR (84 pupils)
- 1.5 mile Bedlington Whitley Memorial Church of England First School NE225DE (301 pupils)
- 1.7 mile Kyloe House NE616DE
- 2 miles Stead Lane Primary School NE225JS (244 pupils)
- 2.1 miles Mowbray First School NE625HQ (268 pupils)
- 2.1 miles Cleaswell Hill School NE625DJ (149 pupils)
- 2.2 miles Guide Post Middle School NE625HQ (267 pupils)
- 2.3 miles Bedlington Station Primary School NE227JQ (219 pupils)
- 2.4 miles Collingwood School & Media Arts College NE612HA (129 pupils)
- 2.5 miles Morpeth Stobhillgate First School NE612HA (161 pupils)
- 2.5 miles Guide Post Ringway First School NE625YP (112 pupils)
- 2.5 miles Bedlingtonshire Junior High School NE227HJ
- 2.5 miles Bedlingtonshire Community High School NE227DS (774 pupils)
- 2.6 miles Stannington First School NE616HJ (72 pupils)
- 2.8 miles Stakeford First School NE625TZ (126 pupils)
- 2.9 miles Get U Started Training NE231WF (24 pupils)
- 3 miles Horton Grange Primary School NE244RE (392 pupils)
- 3 miles Blyth Bebside Middle School NE244RE
|Inspection dates||9–11 July 2013|
|Pupils’ behaviour and personal development||Good||2|
|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
| It is well led and managed. The headteacher |
Pupils’ achievement is good from their low
Teaching is good and sometimes outstanding.
has a clear vision and high expectations of
what the school can achieve. He has ensured
that the quality of teaching and pupils’
achievement are good and improving.
starting points. They make good gains in their
learning over time, particularly in their literacy
and numeracy skills.
Pupils are given individual learning tasks which
closely meet their needs.
| Pupils gain rapidly in self-confidence and enjoy |
The curriculum is good and does much to
their learning. They are prepared well for
further education and employment. Their
behaviour is good. They say they feel safe in
school and are well cared for by all staff.
promote pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and
cultural development, particularly through the
well-planned personal, social, health and
citizenship education programme (PSHCE).
| Although there are some good examples of |
marking, this is not consistent across the
school. Pupils do not always have
opportunities to respond to marking to help
improve their work.
| There are not enough opportunities for pupils |
to work independently or assess for themselves
how well they are learning.
- 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
- The headteacher was notified of this inspection on the day before the inspection started.
- The inspector observed six lessons taught by three teachers. Meetings were held with the
director, headteacher, staff and pupils. Telephone discussions were held with three local
authority staff and a parent.
- The inspector checked a range of documentation including records of pupils’ progress, pupils’
work, leaders’ evaluations of the quality of teaching, the school improvement plan and a range
- There were no Parent View responses but the inspector took into account the views of parents,
carers, pupils and local authority representatives through their responses to school surveys.
Ofsted questionnaire responses from staff were analysed.
|Christine Inkster, Lead inspector||Her Majesty’s Inspector|
Information about this school
- This is a small independent school which is registered for up to 10 girls and boys aged from 11
to 17 years and which caters for residential pupils. No current pupils have a statement of special
educational needs, although they all have special educational needs supported at school action
plus (pupils who receive external support for their special educational needs).
- All current pupils are of White British heritage and are boys. All pupils are in the care of their
- The school provides for pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. Pupils have
experienced significant disruption to their education prior to starting at the school.
- The school opened in 2006, originally for six pupils, and the number permitted to be registered
increased to 10 in 2009.
- The school aims to ‘create a caring, challenging environment in which all pupils are encouraged
to fulfil their potential and are given opportunities to flourish in a wide variety of curricular and
- The school was last inspected in March 2010.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Ensure that teaching improves to outstanding by:
making sure that pupils are able to identify and assess for themselves how well they are
improving marking so that pupils are clear about what they have done well and how they can
make their work even better
giving pupils opportunities to respond to marking and feedback
making sure that pupils have more opportunities to work independently, when it is appropriate
for them to do so.
Pupils’ achievement is good because of the good quality of teaching and good curriculum. Pupils
have low levels of attainment when they start at the school and many have significant gaps in their
learning because of disruption to their education prior to admission. The school’s information on
pupils’ progress and their work show that they are making good progress from their low starting
points. This is particularly the case in developing their literacy, numeracy and information and
communication technology (ICT) skills across the curriculum. Pupils are successful in achieving a
range of qualifications including GCSEs, Entry Level Certificates in English, mathematics, science,
history and geography to level 3, functional skills in English, mathematics and ICT and adult
literacy and numeracy awards at level 2. Pupils say they are keen to continue their education when
they leave the school, for example by gaining an apprenticeship or going on to college.
Pupils’ speaking and listening, reading and writing skills are rapidly improving. Pupils read with
fluency, expression and good comprehension. School assessment data show that pupils’ reading
ages have improved significantly over their time at the school. Their confidence has developed
considerably enabling them to participate very well in drama and role-play activities with members
of staff, for example, when acting out a sketch about counter arguments during an English lesson.
This enabled the pupils not only to understand the concept, but also how to manage conflict,
particularly through the use of good humour. Pupils are improving their writing skills well, although
some find it difficult to write at length. Standards in mathematics have improved with some
predicted to achieve A* - C passes in GCSE mathematics this year. Pupils are making good
progress in other areas of the curriculum such as in history and geography as they are gaining
much new knowledge. They are also developing their skills in research well using ICT.
|Pupils’ behaviour and personal development||Good|
Pupils’ behaviour and their personal development are good. From being disengaged in their
education prior to entering the school, they rapidly become enthusiastic and active learners and
say they now enjoy coming to school. The headteacher and staff assess pupils’ behavioural,
emotional and social needs on entry to the school and address any specific needs. This enables
pupils to settle quickly and engage in their learning. The views of parents, carers, placing
authorities and staff from other agencies confirm that pupils’ behaviour, confidence and self-
esteem have improved. One local authority representative stated, ‘I have found that the young
person has grown in confidence and is enjoying his education’. Pupils’ attendance has improved
dramatically since joining the school with several pupils now achieving 100% attendance. However,
not all pupils arrive in school on time each morning and sometimes miss the first few minutes of
There are very good relationships between adults and pupils and pupils say that they trust the
adults to give them the help and support they need. There are some incidents of unacceptable
behaviour, but these have greatly reduced in number and are managed well within the school’s
clear policies and procedures. Pupils respond well to rewards and value the ‘points’ they achieve
for good work and good behaviour. They have a good understanding of the different types of
bullying and they say they feel safe in school. There are high levels of one-to-one support but
occasionally, as pupils are so closely supervised, they are not developing independent learning
skills as well as they could.
Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. Pupils benefit particularly from
PSHCE and cultural lessons linked to religious education. They learn about world religions and
those from backgrounds different to their own, for example, in history, when learning about the
Holocaust and in geography when they learn about life in Kenya. This promotes their tolerance and
understanding and prepares them well for life in a multicultural British society. They are developing
their social skills well and understand the difference between right and wrong. Pupils are
developing a good understanding of public institutions and services in England, particularly through
PSHCE and English lessons, for example when they learn about the government. Staff ensure that
when political views are discussed, pupils develop a balanced understanding of opposing views.
The quality of teaching is good and enables pupils to make good progress. Teachers share with
pupils what they are going to learn and identify the steps they need to take to achieve their goals.
However, pupils do not always have the opportunity to assess for themselves how well they have
learned. Although pupils have good individual support in lessons, they do not always have enough
opportunities to work independently.
|Quality of teaching||Good|
Pupils are assessed on entry to the school and staff plan carefully to meet each pupil’s individual
needs and address any gaps in their knowledge, skills and understanding. Their progress is tracked
carefully following regular assessments and this information is used effectively to identify ‘next
steps’ in learning and to set challenging targets. This information is shared with parents, carers
and placing authorities on a weekly basis. There are examples of good marking, but this is not
consistent across the school and in all subjects. Pupils do not always have opportunities to respond
to marking to help improve their work. Pupils have individual learning targets for English,
mathematics and behaviour and they understand what they have to do to achieve them.
Teachers have good subject knowledge and pupils are encouraged to carry out research on
computers to further their knowledge. Teachers have good questioning skills which probe pupils’
understanding and pupils are expected to give reasons for their answers. Lessons are conducted at
a brisk pace and there are constant changes of activities, including practical activities, which help
to keep pupils interested and motivated in their learning.
The curriculum is good and supports pupils’ good achievement. It is broad and balanced and there
are good opportunities for pupils to study a range of subjects, which cover all the areas of
learning. The curriculum is based on National Curriculum programmes of study and there are
appropriate schemes of work in place. These are adapted and personalised to meet each pupil’s
needs well. Pupils have good opportunities to develop their literacy and numeracy skills in other
subjects across the curriculum, such as in history and geography. The school has introduced a
modern foreign language (Spanish) and food technology.
Pupils learn important life skills such as cooking and managing finances and are involved in a
|Quality of curriculum||Good|
‘preparing for work’ programme which includes careers guidance. They learn how to keep
themselves safe and develop their self-esteem and confidence through a well-developed PSHCE
programme. This was shown in a lesson observed during the inspection when the classroom was
‘set up’ with a number of hazards. These were accurately identified by the pupils who were able to
state how accidents could be avoided.
Pupils have opportunities to engage in a computer club and there are a wide range of visits
organised such as to museums to study aspects of history and field trips to study geography. They
also participate in ‘Forest School’ activities and enjoy residential and camping experiences, which
contribute much to their learning and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
|Pupils’ welfare, health and safety||Good|
The school makes good provision for pupils’ welfare, health and safety. All the regulatory
requirements are met. Systems to safeguard pupils are rigorous. All staff are trained to the
required level and the designated child protection officer has attended enhanced training. Several
senior staff have attended safer recruitment training and the school uses rigorous procedures for
the appointment of staff. The school’s single central register of checks on staff, including staff from
other agencies, is up to date and thorough. There are detailed risk assessments for the school
buildings and all aspects of school life, including those for off-site and educational visits. Thorough
health and safety audits are carried out on a regular basis and any concerns are promptly dealt
with. The buildings have been inspected for fire safety and all equipment is regularly checked
including electrical equipment, fire extinguishers and external lighting. There is an appropriate fire
plan in place and regular fire drills are carried out. All staff receive training in first aid, fire safety,
health and safety, child protection and physical intervention. There are a range of suitable policies
for anti-bullying, behaviour, first aid and safeguarding which are properly implemented.
Pupils are supervised closely at all times and pupils say they feel safe and secure while at school.
They have a good awareness of how to stay safe, including when using ICT. There are good
policies and procedures in place for promoting good behaviour and there has been a significant
decrease in behavioural incidents, particularly over the last year. Pupils say bullying is rare but they
know they can seek help from adults if they have a worry or concern. Pupils are encouraged to
lead healthy lifestyles, but not all take opportunities to eat healthily or participate in exercise.
Leadership and management are good. The proprietor, director and the headteacher have ensured
that all the independent school regulations are met. The headteacher, who was appointed 18
months ago, has ensured that there have been significant improvements to all aspects of the
|Leadership and management||Good|
school’s provision since his appointment. This was confirmed by staff from other agencies,
including those from placing local authorities, and by parents and carers. He has a clear vision for
the future of the school and has high expectations of what pupils can achieve. He regularly checks
on the quality of teaching and pupils’ progress and gives helpful feedback to staff on how teaching
can improve. Staff work closely and effectively as a team and are determined that pupils will
achieve the best of which they are capable. As a result, the quality of teaching is at least good and
sometimes outstanding and pupils are making good progress in their learning and in improving
their behaviour. Staff are given good opportunities for professional development and encouraged
to enhance their skills and qualifications. The quality of the curriculum has improved and this has
helped to engage pupils more in their learning because activities are more interesting and
stimulating. School leaders have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in the
school and there is a suitable action plan which identifies the most important priorities for further
improvement. All the issues identified in the last inspection have been addressed.
Parents, carers and placing authorities are provided with good information about pupils’ progress
on a weekly basis as well as through an annual report. This is greatly valued and ensures that
adults are promptly informed if there are any concerns and also of pupils’ achievements. All the
required information for parents, carers and others is available on the school website and in the
prospectus. The complaints procedures now meet regulatory requirements and this is an
improvement since the last inspection. The proprietor has provided high-quality accommodation.
The school buildings and grounds are safe and secure and the school meets all the regulations.
There are attractive gardens and spacious grounds which provide plenty of space for outdoor play,
sport and games. There are well maintained, bright and cheerful classrooms including an ICT room
and an art room. However, the range of ICT resources is limited, although those available are used
effectively to support pupils’ learning. The school has plans to develop a vegetable garden and
there is now a shed where woodwork and design and technology activities can take place.
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||132855|
|DfE registration number||929/6046|
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 for pupils with behavioural, |
emotional and social difficulties
|School status||Independent School|
|Age range of pupils||11-17|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||2|
|Number of part time pupils||0|
|Proprietor||Mr Allan O’Neil|
|Date of previous school inspection||16 March 2010|
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