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Iffley Mead School Closed - academy converter Jan. 31, 2013

see new The Isis Academy

Iffley Mead School
Iffley Turn

phone: 01865 *** ***

headteacher: Mrs Kay Willett Bed Hons


school holidays: via Oxfordshire council

— Community Special School

Establishment type
Community Special School
Establishment #
Close date
Jan. 31, 2013
Reason closed
Academy Converter
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 452931, Northing: 204072
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 51.733, Longitude: -1.235
Accepting pupils
5—18 years old
Ofsted last inspection
Nov. 24, 2010
Region › Const. › Ward
South East › Oxford East › Rose Hill and Iffley
Urban > 10k - less sparse
SEN priorities
MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty
Special classes
Has Special Classes
Sixth form
Has a sixth form
Learning provider ref #

Iffley Mead School

Inspection report

Unique Reference Number 123338
Local Authority Oxfordshire
Inspect ion number 359414
Inspect ion dates 24–25 November 2010
Report ing inspector Jon Carter

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 5–19
Gender of pupils Mixed
Gender of pupils in the sixth form Mixed
Nu mber of pupils on the school roll 104
Of which, number on roll in the sixth form 14
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Cormac O'Hara
Headteacher Kay Willett
Date of previous school inspection 1 July 2008
School address Iffley Turn
Telephone number 01865 747606
Fax number 01865 711134
Email address
Age group 5–19
Inspect ion dates 24–25 November 2010
Inspect ion number 359414


This inspection was carried out by two additional inspectors. They observed 15 lessons
taught by 13 members of staff and held meetings with school leaders, two groups of
students and a representative from the governing body. Inspectors observed the school's
work, and looked at assessment information, the school's analysis of students' progress,
curriculum plans, minutes of governing body meetings and many other documents.
Inspectors analysed the responses on questionnaires received from 35 parents and carers,
55 students and 32 staff.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail at the

  • How well students are supported to overcome their learning and behavioural
    difficulties, realise their potential and achieve accredited qualifications that represent
    significant progress in their learning.
  • How effectively school leaders are driving improvement in students' basic skills as
    preparation for future well-being, especially in information and communication
    technology (ICT).
  • How effective sixth form provision is in building on students' achievements in Key
    Stage 4.

Information about the school

Iffley Mead is a special school attended by students from across the county of Oxfordshire,
all of whom have a statement of special educational needs. The school admits students
with moderate and complex learning difficulties who often have associated social,
emotional and behavioural difficulties. An increasing proportion of students at the school
have been assessed as having behavioural difficulties as their main need. Since the
previous inspection, the school has introduced provision for sixth-form students. While the
school has a designated age range of five to 19, there are currently no students on roll in
Years 1 to 5. The number of students known to be eligible for free school meals is much
higher than average. The proportion of students who are not from White British
backgrounds is broadly average. The school holds the Healthy Schools and Activemark

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is sat isfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

Inspection judgements

Overall effectiveness: how good is the school? 2
The school's capacity for sustained improvement 2

Main findings

Iffley Mead is a good school with a clear focus on equipping students for life as
independent citizens. Well-structured learning activities enable students to make good
progress, especially in the basic skills of literacy and numeracy. Expertise in 'Restorative
Approaches', a system which promotes problem-solving and discussion instead of blame
and punishment, has been used very effectively to create an environment in which
students feel exceptionally safe and behave well. The school's work to ensure that
particularly vulnerable students make progress at similar rates to their peers is extremely
Through outstanding care and support, and exceptionally effective partnerships with a
comprehensive range of external agencies, students are helped to overcome their complex
difficulties well and develop very positive attitudes to learning. As a result, students show
outstanding levels of spiritual, moral and social development, for example through their
enquiring comments and the respect they have for others. The success of the school in
these areas is clear to parents and carers. One, writing about their child and echoing the
views expressed by others, said: 'The school has not only looked after his education, but
also helped him to develop as a whole person.'
In the sixth form, students make satisfactory progress. This is starting to improve because
of recent changes to how the provision is led and managed. While students in this part of
the school benefit from the same high quality care as students in other year groups, the
curriculum is not yet sufficiently well matched to their interests and aspirations to build
strongly on the good progress they make in Key Stages 3 and 4 This is because there are
not enough opportunities to develop basic skills and achieve accreditation in work-based
Since the previous inspection, the headteacher and senior leaders of the school have
developed strongly in their roles and have successfully established a culture of continual
improvement which is shared by teaching and support staff throughout the school. There
is good capacity to sustain this improvement because good systems for self-evaluation and
planning for the future involve staff and members of the governing body at all levels. This
ensures that the school's strengths and areas for development are thoroughly understood
by all. Actions taken so far in response to such areas have been largely successful. Good
quality teaching, for example, has been maintained during a period of staff change, due to
very effective monitoring and support.
While many aspects of the school's practice have moved forward successfully, less
emphasis has been placed upon addressing identified issues in the promotion of
community cohesion. The issues relate particularly to securing better involvement of
parents and carers in family learning to counter the effects of socio-economic deprivation.

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is sat isfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Improve the learning and progress of students in the sixth form through developing
    a curriculum which:
    is sufficiently broad, balanced and diverse to better meet the range of needs,
    aspirations and interests of students
    provides daily learning opportunities which effectively develop students' basic
    skills in numeracy, literacy and ICT
    provides students with opportunities to participate in accredited work-related
    learning to enhance their future economic well-being.
  • Promote improved community cohesion through activities which engage parents,
    carers, members of the governing body and staff in family learning opportunities.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils 2

Students usually make good progress in lessons because they are strongly engaged by the
well-planned learning activities provided for them. They especially enjoy practical tasks,
such as experiments in science and using computers, although they also usually approach
written tasks with similar enthusiasm. Students' literacy skills develop well because
teaching often makes good use of opportunities to read, write and discuss as they arise
naturally during lessons. They demonstrate their increasing confidence and understanding
of mathematics well, such as in a lesson where they used their knowledge of money to
select items they could afford to buy and to calculate the change they would receive from
a known amount. The use of ICT supports good learning in optional vocational courses in
Key Stage 4, for example where Year 11 students demonstrated through digital
photography their good understanding of threats to wildlife and their habitats.
Over time, students achieve levels of competence in basic skills which reflect good
progress from their starting points. While attainment compared to all students nationally is
low due to the students' learning difficulties, an increasing proportion of students are
achieving entry level qualifications in English, mathematics and science. Vocational
qualifications at Level 1 in land management and sports leadership were successfully
achieved by all Year 11 students in 2010. Students from minority ethnic backgrounds,
those known to be eligible for free school meals and looked after children make progress
at similar rates to their peers.
Students consistently demonstrate a fascination with learning and have an increasing
understanding of diversity and ethical issues, which is apparent in the respect they have
for each other and the adults who work with them. The award of Activemark and Healthy
School status supports the fact that many incorporate regular exercise into their lifestyle
although, while they have a good understanding of what healthy eating means, there are
fewer that successfully apply this knowledge to their daily lives.
The approach taken by the school to address undesirable behaviour through restorative
principles has enabled students to learn to reflect upon their experiences. As a result,
students are more aware of the consequences of their actions and their behaviour is
usually at least good, both in lessons and around the school. They readily take on
responsibilities within the school in roles such as mentors and have good relationships
with the local community, especially in respect of their environmental work.

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is sat isfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

These are the grades for pupils' outcomes

Pupils' achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning 2
Taking into account:
Pupils' attainment¹
The quality of pupils' learning and their progress 2
The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities
and their progress
The extent to which pupils feel safe 1
Pupils' behaviour 2
The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifesty les 2
The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community 2
The extent to which pupils develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to
their future economic well-being
Taking into account:
Pupils' attendance¹
The extent of pupils' spir itual, moral, social and cultural development 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.

How effective is the provision?

Staff at the school ensure that the needs of the individual are at the heart of all they do.
Teaching takes good account of the needs of individual students because information
about their prior learning and the difficulties they experience is used very effectively when
planning lessons. The specialist provision for those with, for example, speech and
language or mental health needs is seen as an integral part of school life because of the
way it is built into the timetable for those who require it.
Some teaching is exceptionally dynamic and engaging, such as in a drama lesson for Years
8 and 9, where students recounted a story based in Greece with enjoyment and
enthusiasm. In such lessons, learning moves on quickly. Where lessons are less well
paced, it is often because too much time is spent having to listen to the teacher before
starting independent work. Teachers have a good understanding of how to use technology
such as interactive whiteboards and these are used at appropriate times for suitable
activities. Occasionally, teaching assistants are not sufficiently well directed, which reduces
the impact they have on students' learning.

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is sat isfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

Students strongly value the outstanding quality of care they receive from staff and
relationships are exceptionally strong. When asked to describe this aspect of her school,
one student said: 'It's actually brilliant.' Safe space and responsive help to overcome
problems are available at all times to supplement planned support activities. The school's
principle of integrating the work of external support agencies into school life that is most
noticeable to visitors are the 'Pets As Therapy' dogs, who support students' emotional
well-being and help develop a sense of responsibility. Highly effective transition
arrangements ensure that students joining the school are successful and happy. The
school's focus on preparing students for their continuing education or working lives
ensures that they receive very effective guidance at appropriate stages of their school life.
Consequently, all students leaving Key Stage 4 at the end of 2010 went on to further
education, employment or other suitable training.
Students have access to a broad and well-organised curriculum which provides relevant
learning opportunities for everyone. This is particularly the case in Key Stage 4, where
opportunities for individuals are particularly flexible and students can choose from a range
of optional subjects, such as 'build a band' and 'gardener's world'. These lessons utilise the
strengths of staff and build strongly upon the interests of students. Off-site and residential
activities, such as the Atlantic College trip, foster personal development and promote
independence well.

These are the grades for the quality of provision

The quality of teaching 2
Taking into account:
The use of assessment to support learning
The extent to which the curriculum meets pupils' needs, including, where relevant,
through partnerships
The effectiveness of care, guidance and support 1

How effective are leadership and management?

Senior leaders have the confidence of staff at all levels. This has been established through
regular and open communication and has ensured that there is a strong and corporate
approach to securing improvement based on high expectations. Routine monitoring of how
well students progress in their academic and personal skills is evaluated robustly and
drives plans for improvement which are usually implemented quickly and effectively. In
response to one such evaluation, recent changes to leadership are starting to have a
positive impact in science and ICT, where more appropriate curriculum planning and
accreditation is leading to improved outcomes for students.
The governing body provides good quality support and challenge to the school. They have
a comprehensive understanding of the strengths of the school and what it needs to do to
continue to improve. Safeguarding procedures are well established. Staff and members of
the governing body receive appropriate and regular training, and management systems
are secure. The school works effectively with appropriate external agencies to ensure that

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is sat isfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

the most vulnerable children are provided with suitable care and support so that their
complex needs are well met.
The school's effectiveness in promoting equality and eliminating discrimination is
outstanding. Monitoring of the progress and welfare of students in vulnerable groups,
including those known to be eligible for free school meals and those from minority ethnic
backgrounds, shows that they learn and develop as well as their peers. Restorative
practice ensures that relationships between students of different heritages are extremely
positive and there are very few incidents of racist behaviour.
While school leaders have a comprehensive understanding of the socio-economic, ethnic
and religious backgrounds of the students, plans to address the main issues that they
have identified have not been a priority for the school in comparison, for example, to
securing the quality of teaching and learning and improving leadership of the sixth form.
Consequently, the effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion is
not more than satisfactory.

These are the grades for leadership and management

The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambition a nd driving
Taking into account:
The leadership and management of teaching and learning
The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and support ing the
school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities met
The effectiveness of the school's engagement with parents and carers 2
The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being 1
The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles
discr iminat ion
The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures 2
The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion 3
The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money 2

Sixth form

Learning and progress for students in the sixth form are satisfactory and improving under
new leadership arrangements put in place at the beginning of this school year. Tracking
and monitoring systems, which previously lacked rigour, are now more secure. This has
enabled clear plans to be made to address weaknesses and improve provision. While
school leaders have developed a balanced curriculum which provides some choice to
students, they recognise that this is often driven by the number of places available on a
particular course rather than the actual level of interest shown by students. Programmes
for developing literacy, numeracy and ICT skills often offer similar learning to, rather than
building upon, students' work at Key Stage 4 and are not yet part of the daily programme.

Inspect ion grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is sat isfactory, and 4 is inadequate

Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms

Strong links have been established with employers providing work experience
opportunities, who have positive views of the students that are placed with them.
However, while courses provided at the school and in partnership with the local college
are accredited, work-related learning activities are not. In this respect, students'
perceptions of their value is less positive.
Students in the sixth form develop sensible and mature attitudes, particularly to looking
after their personal well-being, and they display appropriate concern and respect for

These are the grades for the sixth form

Overall effectiveness of the sixth form 3
Taking into account:
Outcomes for students in the sixth form
The quality of provision in the sixth form 3
Leadership and management of the sixth form 3

Views of parents and carers

The number of questionnaires returned by parents and carers was broadly average. They
are exceptionally supportive of the school. Few questionnaires included additional written
comments. Those parents and carers who did provide a comment mainly wrote positively
about the care provided for their child by the school, a view endorsed by the inspection

Responses from parents and carers to Ofsted's questionnaire

Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at Iffley Mead 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 35 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In total,
there are 104 pupils registered at the school.
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%.

Statements Strongly
Agree Disagree Strongly
Total % Total % Total % Total %
My child enjoys school 27 77 7 20 1 3 0 0
The school keeps my child
26 74 9 26 0 0 0 0
My school informs me about
my child's progress
28 80 6 17 1 3 0 0
My child is making enough
progress at this school
23 66 11 31 1 3 0 0
The teaching is good at this
25 71 10 29 0 0 0 0
The school helps me to
support my child's learning
22 63 11 31 1 3 0 0
The school helps my child to
have a healthy lifestyle
16 46 18 51 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
21 60 12 34 1 3 1 3
The school meets my child's
particular needs
26 74 9 26 0 0 0 0
The school deals effectively
with unacceptable behaviour
24 69 11 31 0 0 0 0
The school takes account of
my suggestions and concerns
21 60 13 37 1 3 0 0
The school is led and
managed effectively
25 71 9 26 1 3 0 0
Overall, I am happy with my
child's experience at this
27 77 8 23 0 0 0 0


What inspection judgements mean

Grade Judgement Description
Grade 1 Outstanding These features are highly effective. An outstanding 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 of schools

Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)
Type of school Outstanding Good Satisfactory Inadequate
Nursery schools 58 36 4 2
Primary schools 8 43 40 9
Secondary schools 10 35 42 13
Sixth forms 13 39 45 3
Special schools 33 42 20 4
Pupil referral units 18 40 29 12
All schools 11 42 38 9

New school inspection arrangements were introduced on 1 September 2009. This means that inspectors now
make some additional judgements that were not made previously.
The data in the table above are for the period 1 September 2009 to 31 March 2010 and are the most
recently published data available (see Please note that the sample of schools
inspected during the autumn and spring terms 2009/10 was not representative of all schools nationally, as
weaker schools are inspected more frequently than good or outstanding schools.
Percentages are rounded and do not always add exactly to 100. Secondary school figures in clude those that
have sixth forms, and sixth form figures include only the data specifically for sixth form inspection

Common terminology used by inspectors

Achievement: the progress and success of a pupil in their learning,
development or training.
Attainment: 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.
Learning: how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their
understanding, learn and practise skills and are
developing their competence as learners.
Overall effectiveness: 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 school's capacity for sustained
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils.
The quality of teaching.
The extent to which the curriculum meets
The effectiveness of care, guidance and
pupils' needs, including, where relevant,
through partnerships.
Progress: 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.

26 November 2010
Dear Students

Inspection of Iffley Mead School, Oxford OX4 4DU

Thank you for the warm and friendly welcome that you gave us when we inspected your
school recently. We were pleased to see so many of you enjoying your lessons and
working hard.
I am writing to tell you that you go to a good school. We describe the care at your school
as 'outstanding' because it would be hard to make it much better. You told us that the
help you get makes you feel exceptionally safe at school. We could see that in lessons
because everyone supported each other, even when someone made a mistake.
Most of you are learning well and making good progress. The older students, who are in
the sixth form (which you call 'Post-16'), are making satisfactory progress. This means
that they are not getting quite as much out of school as the rest of you. Your teachers
have a good understanding of how well each of you is doing and what your strengths are.
They also know what you need to improve and they are good at making sure your work
helps you to get better as these things.
The teachers in charge of your school have some really good ideas about how to improve
it. We have asked them to make sure that sixth form students do better by giving them
more opportunities to do subjects like literacy and numeracy, as well as getting to study
what they are really interested in.
We have also asked the teachers to give you and your families more opportunities to learn
You can all help by encouraging your parents and carers to take part in as many of the
school's activities as they can.
Yours sincerely

Jon Carter
Lead inspector


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