School etc

Kemball Special School

Kemball Special School
Beaconsfield Drive

phone: 01782 234879

headteacher: Mrs Elizabeth Spooner

school holidays: via Stoke-on-Trent council

72 pupils aged 3—15y mixed gender
140 pupils capacity: 51% full

45 boys 62%


25 girls 35%


Last updated: June 20, 2014

— Community Special School

Establishment type
Community Special School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 389187, Northing: 341775
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 52.973, Longitude: -2.1625
Accepting pupils
2—19 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
Nov. 20, 2012
Region › Const. › Ward
West Midlands › Stoke-on-Trent South › Blurton West and Newstead
Urban > 10k - less sparse
SEN priorities
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty~SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty~PD - Physical Disability
Special classes
Has Special Classes
Private Finance Initiative
Part of PFI
Sixth form
Has a sixth form
Free school meals %
Learning provider ref #

rooms to rent in Stoke-On-Trent

Schools nearby

  1. Ormiston Sir Stanley Matthews Academy ST33JD (753 pupils)
  2. 0.1 miles Blurton High School - Business and Enterprise College ST33JD
  3. 0.4 miles Meadowcroft Nursery School ST33DY
  4. 0.4 miles Sutherland Primary School ST33DY
  5. 0.4 miles Strathmore College ST48LJ
  6. 0.4 miles Sutherland Primary Academy ST33DY (519 pupils)
  7. 0.5 miles Blurton Primary School ST33AZ (378 pupils)
  8. 0.5 miles Blurton Nursery School ST33AZ
  9. 0.7 miles Newstead Primary School ST33LQ
  10. 0.7 miles Newstead Primary School ST33LQ (260 pupils)
  11. 0.9 miles Ash Green Primary School ST48BX (495 pupils)
  12. 1 mile St Paul's CofE (C) Primary School ST32RH (312 pupils)
  13. 1.2 mile Edensor Technology College ST32NA
  14. 1.2 mile St Thomas More Catholic College ST32NJ
  15. 1.2 mile St Gregory's Catholic Primary School ST32QN
  16. 1.2 mile St Gregory's Catholic Primary School ST32QN (392 pupils)
  17. 1.2 mile St Thomas More Catholic Academy ST32NJ (1050 pupils)
  18. 1.3 mile Heron Cross Primary School ST44LJ (305 pupils)
  19. 1.3 mile Dresden CofE (C) Primary School ST34PJ
  20. 1.3 mile St Gregory's RC (A) Junior School ST32QN
  21. 1.3 mile St Gregory's RC (A) Infants School ST32QN
  22. 1.3 mile Trentham High School ST48PQ (735 pupils)
  23. 1.4 mile Florence Primary School ST34NH
  24. 1.5 mile Priory CofE (C) Infant School ST48EF

List of schools in Stoke-On-Trent

16 January 2015
Mrs Lisa Hughes
Acting Headteacher
Kemball Special School
Beaconsfield Drive


Dear Mrs Hughes

No formal designation monitoring inspection of Kemball Special School

Following my visit with Marilyn Massey, Additional Inspector, to your school on 14
and 15 January 2015, I write on behalf of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of

Education, Children’s Services and Skills to confirm the inspection findings.

This monitoring inspection was conducted under section 8 of the Education Act 2005

and in accordance with Ofsted’s published procedures for inspecting schools with no
formal designation. The inspection was carried out because the Chief Inspector was
concerned about the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements and about the
attendance of pupils at the school. In particular, inspectors sought to establish:

 whether the school has effective and safe procedures for recruiting and

ensuring the suitability of staff

 whether the school’s policies, procedures and practices are effective in

keeping pupils safe

 parents’ and pupils’ views about safety
 how well leaders, including governors, understand and fulfil their

responsibilities with regard to safeguarding

 the reasons for low attendance and the effectiveness of the school’s

actions to promote good attendance

 how well school staff follow up absence and support pupils who may be

absent due to medical reasons.


The school has 94 pupils between two and sixteen years old. All pupils have a

statement of special educational needs. The majority of pupils have profound and
complex needs or severe learning difficulties. However, a smaller but growing group
of pupils have moderate learning difficulties. Many pupils have considerable physical
and medical needs. The school moved into a new building in September 2013 and
pupil numbers have increased considerably since then. Around half of pupils are
eligible for free school meals. About a quarter of pupils are from minority ethnic
groups. The largest group is pupils of Pakistani heritage.
The headteacher retired at the end of December 2014. You, as deputy headteacher,
are currently acting as headteacher and you are supported by an acting deputy

CfBT Inspection Services
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I scrutinised the single central record and other documents relating to safeguarding
and child protection arrangements. Information about pupils’ attendance was
considered and I reviewed the school’s arrangements for following up absences.
Meetings were held with the acting headteacher and acting deputy headteacher and
with other members of staff including the teacher in charge of personal, social and
health education. I also met with the Chair of the Governing Body and a parent
governor and looked at minutes from meetings of the governing body. A meeting
was held with two representatives of the local authority. My colleague and I made
short visits to all classrooms and break time and lunchtime arrangements were
observed. Informal discussions were held with staff, pupils and a small number of
Having considered all the evidence I am of the opinion that at this time:

The school’s safeguarding arrangements meet requirements.

Safeguarding arrangements

Leaders, governors and staff rightly place a very high priority on the safety and well-
being of pupils. After some gaps were identified in the checks made when new staff
are appointed, leaders and governors have ensured that recruitment procedures
have been updated in line with the current statutory guidance. Leaders now ensure
that all the appropriate checks are made on the suitability of staff and that these are
carefully and correctly recorded. Information provided to potential job applicants is

explicit about the school’s commitment to keeping pupils safe. References are

collected and retained. Leaders ensure that interviews include questions about
safeguarding issues and interview panels always include at least one leader or

governor who is trained in safe recruitment processes. Training on the school’s

safeguarding policy and procedures is included in induction training and all staff
have regular updates to ensure that staff awareness remains high. All the teachers
and teaching assistants that we spoke to had a secure understanding of possible
signs of abuse and knew what to do if they were concerned about a pupil.
Leaders, governors and staff have a good understanding of the most recent
legislation and guidance on keeping pupils safe. Leaders have drafted a new
safeguarding policy to reflect this guidance. This policy is due to be discussed at the
next meeting of the governing body.
When safeguarding concerns do arise, detailed records are kept and, when
appropriate, leaders seek the advice of other professionals. The designated
safeguarding leaders are clear about when they should refer a case to the local
authority including the local authority designated officer. During the inspection a
sample of case files were reviewed. In all cases, suitable action had been taken and
appropriate referrals made following incidents or concerns. Records are kept
regarding any meetings attended, recommendations made and actions taken. This
information is stored securely.
The day-to-day procedures to keep pupils safe observed during the inspection were
appropriate. All visitors to the school have to be admitted by a member of staff and
are required to sign in and wear a badge. Levels of supervision in the classroom and
during informal times are extremely good, and staff are vigilant about pupils’ health
and safety needs. Many pupils have very limited mobility and staff are well trained to
move pupils safely using hoists when appropriate. All staff complete a basic first aid
qualification and a good number of staff have additional qualifications such as in
paediatric first aid. All medicines are stored securely and careful records are kept
when medicines are given to pupils. Staff are trained to carry out a range of

procedures, for example to support pupils’ eating and personal care needs. Leaders

have ensured that arrangements are in place to deal with any emergency situations
and staff are keenly aware of how they should respond.
During the inspection pupils behaved very well. Several were very keen to talk to
inspectors and said that they enjoy school and feel safe. Pupils said that there is no
bullying. One pupil explained that his teacher says ‘we should use our hands, feet

and words kindly’. There have been no responses to the online survey Parent View

and the school has not carried out any recent surveys of parents views. The small
number of parents who spoke to inspectors were extremely positive about the school
and the staff. They are confident that their children are safe and well looked after.
Any significant incidents of poor behaviour are carefully recorded. Physical restraint
is used only occasionally when pupils are at risk of hurting themselves or others. Any
incidents are recorded and reported to parents. Records of poor behaviour and
physical restraint are reviewed by teachers and leaders and used to inform individual
pupil risk assessments which identify potential triggers and ways of calming or
distracting pupils which are usually effective. Although records are regularly
reviewed by leaders, there is limited evidence of analysis to determine any overall
patterns or trends. This means that leaders are unsure of whether the number of
incidents is increasing or decreasing as a result of their policies and procedures.
The curriculum at Kemball has a strong focus on personal, social and health
education. Leaders have a good understanding of the risks facing pupils, including
risks of child sexual exploitation and extremism. Leaders and teachers carefully
consider the implications of these risks for different pupil groups. A detailed plan
sets out the topics that are scheduled each term for each class. These plans are then
carefully adapted by teachers to meet the needs of each individual pupil. Pupils are
taught about a broad range of topics such as personal hygiene, food and exercise,
taking responsibility towards others, following rules, rights and choices,
relationships, road safety and internet safety. Pupils are taught about sex and
relationships at an appropriate level but the school’s written policy on sex and
relationships education has not been reviewed for some time and so does not reflect
the good work that is going on within the school. The school is effective in
promoting internet safety and is working towards external accreditation for this

aspect of its work. Pupils’ understanding of these important topics is carefully

assessed and recorded in order to inform future teaching. This is very effective
Governors place a high priority on pupils’ well-being but acknowledge that in the
past they have been too reliant on school leaders to keep them up to date with
current requirements regarding safeguarding. They acknowledge that they did not
know about the gaps which previously existed in the single central record of checks
made on the suitability of staff. They now have a more secure understanding of the
current requirements and have ensured that all appropriate checks have been made
and that the safeguarding policy is being updated. Minutes from meetings of the
governing body show that safeguarding is a regular item on the agenda. Governors

have attended training on safeguarding but recognise their need for further training

which has been organised. Governors also acknowledge that they must ensure that
they receive regular updates on their responsibilities and use this information to
provide appropriate challenge to school leaders to hold them to account for their


Attendance has improved slightly but remains low overall. The attendance of the
majority of pupils is in line with or above the national average, but around a quarter
of pupils are persistently absent. The attendance of pupils with moderate learning
difficulties is generally much higher than the attendance of other pupils. This is
because many pupils have considerable medical and health issues which result in
frequent and sometimes lengthy absences and hospital stays. When pupils are in
hospital, school staff liaise with the hospital education service in order that pupils
can continue lessons when they are well enough. Any absences are followed up
promptly by school staff and registers are maintained accurately. In line with
national guidance, the headteacher does not agree to pupils taking holidays in term
time except in exceptional circumstances. The attendance of individual pupils is
groups of pupils. This means that leaders and governors are not able to identify and
tackle differences between groups or evaluate the impact of the school’s work to
promote good attendance.

External support

Local authority representatives have focused their work on ensuring that
achievement and teaching remain good. They have also commissioned support for

the acting headteacher. The local authority has a good understanding of the school’s

strengths but is less aware of areas for improvement. The local authority
representatives know that the school completes an annual safeguarding audit but
are unsure of the findings of this audit. The local authority sends regular updates to
schools about important changes to safeguarding requirements but has not checked
that these have been implemented. The local authority acknowledges that it has not
provided appropriate challenge to the school regarding pupils’ attendance. The
governors’ support service is providing further training for governors regarding

Priorities for further improvement

 School leaders and governors should ensure that systems are in place to

gather and respond to the views of parents.

 Leaders should regularly analyse information about attendance, behaviour

and the use of physical restraint so that any variations between groups
are quickly identified and so that the impact of school policies can be

 Governors should ensure that they keep up to date with statutory

requirements and guidance so that they are not overly reliant on school
leaders. They should use this information to provide challenge to school
leaders and hold them to account for their work in keeping pupils safe.

I am copying this letter to the Director of Children’s Services for Stoke-on-Trent, the
Secretary of State for Education and the Chair of the Governing Body. This letter will
be published on the Ofsted website.
Yours sincerely
Morag Kophamel

Her Majesty’s Inspector

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