School etc

Penwith Short Stay School Closed - academy converter May 31, 2013

see new Penwith Alternative Provision Academy

Penwith Short Stay School
Penbrea Road

phone: 01736 *** ***

headteacher: Ms Sarah Van Horn

school holidays: via Cornwall council

— Pupil Referral Unit

Establishment type
Pupil Referral Unit
Establishment #
Open date
Sept. 1, 2004
Close date
May 31, 2013
Reason open
New Provision
Reason closed
Academy Converter
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 147292, Northing: 31016
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 50.125, Longitude: -5.537
Accepting pupils
3—16 years old
Ofsted last inspection
Feb. 8, 2012
Region › Const. › Ward
South West › St. Ives › Penzance East
Urban > 10k - less sparse
SEN Facilities
PRU Does have Provision for SEN
Pupils educated by others
PRU Does offer tuition by another provider
Pupils With EBD
PRU Does have EBD provision
Teen mother
Provides places for Teen Mothers
Teen mother places
Learning provider ref #

rooms to rent in Penzance

Schools nearby

  1. Penwith Alternative Provision Academy TR182AT (11 pupils)
  2. 0.1 miles Penzance Infant School TR182GT
  3. 0.1 miles St Mary's Catholic School, Penzance TR182AT (195 pupils)
  4. 0.1 miles St Mary's Catholic School, Penzance TR182AT
  5. 0.2 miles Humphry Davy School TR182TG (619 pupils)
  6. 0.3 miles Penwith Sixth Form College TR182SA
  7. 0.3 miles Carn Michael School TR182BQ
  8. 0.3 miles Penwith College TR182SA
  9. 0.5 miles Penzance Junior School TR208UH
  10. 0.5 miles Nancealverne School TR208TP (84 pupils)
  11. 0.5 miles Pensans Primary School TR208UH (323 pupils)
  12. 0.6 miles Gulval Community Primary School TR183BJ (137 pupils)
  13. 0.7 miles Gems Bolitho School TR184JR (248 pupils)
  14. 0.7 miles Gulval Community Primary School TR183BJ
  15. 0.8 miles St Mary's CofE Primary School, Penzance TR184HP (168 pupils)
  16. 0.9 miles Heamoor Community Primary School TR183JZ (185 pupils)
  17. 0.9 miles Alverton Primary School TR184QD (327 pupils)
  18. 0.9 miles Mounts Bay School TR183JT
  19. 0.9 miles Mounts Bay Academy TR183JT (910 pupils)
  20. 1.3 mile Newlyn School TR185QA (144 pupils)
  21. 1.3 mile St Maddern's CofE School, Madron TR208SP (29 pupils)
  22. 1.3 mile Tolcarne Junior School TR185QA
  23. 1.8 mile Newlyn Infant School TR185DN
  24. 2.3 miles Trythall Community Primary School TR208XR (44 pupils)

List of schools in Penzance

Age group 7-16
Inspection date(s) 8-9 February 2012
Inspection number 381728

Penwith Short Stay School

Inspection report

Unique reference number 134753
Local authority Cornwall
Inspection number 381728
Inspection dates 8–9 February 2012
Lead inspector Christine Emerson

This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.

Type of school

Pupil referral unit
School category Pupil referral unit
Age range of pupils 7–16
Gender of pupils Mixed
Number of pupils on the school roll 33
Appropriate authority The local authority
Headteacher Gary Owens
Date of prev ious school inspection 5 November 2008
School address The Old Lescudjack Infant School
Penbrea Road
TR18 3NX
Telephone number 01736 332341
Fax number 01736 368469
Email address reveal email: penw…
Inspection report: Penwith Short Stay School, 8-9 February 2012 2 of 12

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Inspection team

Christine Emerson Additional inspector

This inspection was carried out with two days’ notice. The inspector observed nine
lessons or parts of lessons, including four joint lesson observations with the
headteacher. All class teachers were seen at least once. Discussions took place with
students, members of the management committee, the headteacher of the local

authority’s additional educational provision, and staff. The inspector took account of

the on-line questionnaire (Parent View) in planning the inspection although no

parents had accessed it, observed the school’s work, and looked at a wide range of

documentation, including that relating to safeguarding practices, improvement
planning, students’ records and detailed assessment information for students’
progress and behaviour. The inspector scrutinised the views of students and staff
and analysed the four questionnaires which were returned by parents and carers.

Information about the school

Penwith is an average-sized pupil referral unit. Students at the unit have been
excluded or are at risk of exclusion from primary and secondary schools in the
Penzance area. Almost all students are dual registered with mainstream schools. The
nature of the unit’s work means that student mobility is high, with students returning
to mainstream schools or moving on to other placements. Of the 33 students on roll,
seven are girls. Just over 30% of students have a statement of special educational
needs. The statements are largely for behavioural, emotional and social difficulties,
although the unit is now developing its provision for students with autistic spectrum
disorders. All students are of White British heritage. The proportion of students
known to be eligible for free school meals is high. Since the previous inspection, the
unit has moved to a new site. The unit makes use of some alternative providers,
such as a farm project, to support students in developing their academic and
personal and social skills. The present headteacher took up his post in September

Inspection judgements

Overall effectiveness 2
Achievement of pupils 2
Quality of teaching 2
Behaviour and safety of pupils 2
Leadership and management 2

Key findings

  • This is a good unit which provides a calm and safe environment where
    purposeful learning can take place. Students enjoy attending, achieve well and
    make good progress in improving their behaviour.
  • Achievement is good because the unit is successful in re-engaging disaffected
    students in education. Many students have weak attainment on entry because
    of their disrupted education. However, as a result of carefully planned individual
    learning programmes, they make good progress. Good strategies to develop
    key skills ensure that students achieve well in literacy and numeracy.
  • All groups of students, such as the small number of girls, are achieving well.
    However, the range of accreditation available is not always sufficient to
    recognise students’ achievement.
  • Teaching is good. Relationships between staff and students are good and
    students are well motivated. Questioning in lessons is searching and students
    join in well in discussions. However, on occasion, learning lacks sufficient pace
    and at times marking does not provide students with enough feedback on how
    to improve.
  • Systems are in place to monitor the quality of teaching but they are not yet
    sufficiently well refined to precisely identify areas of underperformance and
    spread good practice.
  • Students’ behaviour is good, as a result of the unit’s effective behaviour policy.
    Most students make good progress in improving their attendance and overall
    attendance figures for the unit show an upward trend.
  • Safeguarding arrangements are effective and students say that they feel safe
    when they attend the unit.
  • The unit is well led and managed, with some notable improvements in the short
    time in which the headteacher has been in post. Although the number of
    students returning to mainstream education has increased markedly, the unit
    recognises that the reintegration of students with more complex needs is not
    fully effective.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Improve teaching by:
    drawing up a detailed programme of lesson observations and work
    scrutiny which includes observations in all subjects and for different year
    identifying key focus areas for scrutiny, including the pace of learning in
    lessons and the marking of students’ work, to ensure that consistent
    strategies are in place throughout the unit
    giving all teachers opportunities to observe others teaching.
  • Review the range of accreditation offered to ensure that all students achieve a
    good number of suitable qualifications.
  • Increase partnership working with feeder schools, through their representatives
    on the management committee, to support the successful reintegration of
    students with complex needs.

Main report

Achievement of pupils

Students thrive in the highly supportive environment which the unit offers. They
soon realise that learning can be fun and quickly begin to catch up with the work
which they have missed previously as a result of poor behaviour. For example, in
mathematics lessons, a good variety of well-organised practical tasks and very good
individual support ensure that students tackle challenging tasks with confidence. As a
result, they achieve well. Students’ good achievement is acknowledged by the small
number of parents who completed the parent questionnaire. Although their
attainment is low, students make good progress in English and mathematics, with
slightly over 40% of students progressing at a rate above that expected for all
students nationally. Although relatively weaker, the rate of progress in science has
improved after being given more teaching time. Since the last inspection, there has
been more emphasis on developing literacy skills across the curriculum. For example,
in a food studies lesson, students demonstrated good progress in developing reading
comprehension skills through reading, discussing and carrying out instructions in
recipes. Reading records demonstrate that students read well-matched texts and are
heard reading daily. The inspector heard four students reading. All demonstrated a
range of word attack skills to tackle unfamiliar words and a good understanding of
what they had read. The unit carefully analyses the progress of different groups of
students, making interventions where necessary, and consequently all groups
achieve equally well. It is proactive in addressing students’ special educational needs.
For example, those students who have been diagnosed with dyslexia are given
coloured overlays to help them to decipher print. Pupils with special educational
needs and those with disabilities achieve as well as their peers.

Outcomes for students are good. In 2011, all the Year 11 leavers went on to college
courses or further education and, at the time of the inspection, all these young
people had successfully sustained the placements. The unit is highly focused on

improving students’ behaviour and attainments with a view to returning younger

students quickly to mainstream schools. This is reflected in the good improvement in
the number of students reintegrating successfully. However, a few students with
more complex needs remain at the unit for longer because strategies to return these
students are less well developed.

Quality of teaching

Very good staffing ratios enable teachers and support staff to give students high
levels of individual attention. There is a very good focus on promoting students’
social and moral development through well-targeted questions and discussion. This
was evident when good questioning resulted in a student giving some thoughtful
answers about the dangers of substance abuse. Teaching is effective in delivering a
broad curriculum which includes a strong focus on developing functional skills in
literacy and numeracy. Staff work well together as a team and are highly sensitive to
the personal and social needs of the students. They are expert at recognising when
students are experiencing difficulties and skilled at de-escalating problematic
behaviour. However, in a small minority of lessons, too much time is spent focusing
on the personal needs of the students so that the pace of learning slows. Lessons
are carefully planned and draw well on information gained from assessment so that
work is well matched to the levels of different learners. This represents good
improvement from the previous inspection. As a result, all groups of students, such
as the small number of primary aged pupils, learn well. Parents recognise this and
say that their children are well taught and make good progress. An example of this
was in a science lesson, where a primary-aged pupil was given activities which were
at just the right level of challenge to help him to understand the properties of
magnets. Consequently he was able to explain clearly how you can use a magnet to
make things move.
Teachers have strong subject knowledge and make lessons interesting and lively.
This was evident in an outstanding music lesson, where the teacher was extremely
skilful in leading a group of students to improvise, using drums and guitar. The
students demonstrated huge enjoyment and made excellent progress in playing their
instruments and learning important social skills such as how to cooperate together.
Students are very positive about the quality of teaching and say that they are given
very good individual support. Teachers give students very good ongoing feedback in
lessons. However, although there are many examples of high quality marking, a
small amount lacks detailed feedback to help students improve.

Behaviour and safety of pupils

Students respond well to the high expectations of good behaviour and ethos of

respect which characterise all aspects of the unit’s work. The points system is used
consistently and effectively to promote the good behaviour seen in lessons and this
motivates students well to try to control their behaviour and work hard. Students’
individual records, and parents’ responses to the questionnaires, demonstrate the
good improvements in behaviour which students make and the good quality of
behaviour over time. Younger students say that earning ‘smiley faces’ helps them to
behave better. Students are adamant that there is no bullying of any type and that
they feel safe, and most parents who responded agree. The small number of girls
say that they feel very safe attending the unit and that everyone gets on well
together. Students are encouraged to reflect on their actions and so develop a clear
view of what is right and wrong. There are no permanent exclusions and the number
of fixed term exclusions has fallen significantly. Although staff are properly trained to
use restraint techniques, records indicate that they have not needed to use such
strategies for a long time. Students’ behaviour at lunchtimes, when they eat a

healthy meal ‘family style’ with the staff, is very good. Students are proud of the

improvement in their attendance and punctuality. Students’ behaviour and safety is
promoted well through the work of the family support worker and other agencies,
including the community police constable.

Leadership and management

Leaders, managers and the management committee have high aspirations for the
unit and are working effectively together to develop the provision. There is a strong
commitment to promoting equality of opportunity and tackle discrimination, which is
evident through the good support which the unit provides for students whose
circumstances have made them vulnerable. Senior leaders ensure that assessment
and tracking systems are used to flag up any underachievement quickly. Links with
mainstream schools and colleges, and with a variety of outside agencies, are
effective in supporting most students well to move on successfully from the unit. The
unit recognises that these links, particularly those with feeder schools, are not yet
strong enough to support fully the transition of students with complex needs. There
has been good improvement since the previous inspection. The unit is now housed in
spacious and well-kept accommodation, with a good range of specialist teaching
areas and good resources. As a result, teaching time has increased and the
curriculum offer is much broader, with good opportunities for practical work in
subjects such as food science and art and design. These improvements to the
accommodation and the curriculum have helped significantly to enhance the quality
of teaching and learning over time. Professional development and the monitoring of
teaching have also contributed to this improvement, although such monitoring is not
always sufficiently rigorous and there are too few opportunities for teachers to
observe good practice. The unit has also successfully enriched the curriculum by
linking into facilities such as the farm project, where the students are trained on a
working farm. This promotes students’ personal development and develops skills
which are valued in the workplace. The rate of students’ progress has escalated
markedly this year, together with a strongly rising rate of attendance and a falling

rate of exclusions. Students in Years 10 and 11 can follow a variety of accredited
courses. However, the unit rightly acknowledges that the range of accreditation is
not wide enough. There has been strong improvement in assessment. Thorough
systems are now in place to measure progress in English, mathematics and science.
Given its track record of improvements over time, the unit has demonstrated that it
has a good capacity to improve further.
The promotion of students’ social and moral development is good overall and

permeates all aspects of the unit’s work. The curriculum provides students with good

opportunities for personal reflection, working with others and learning about other
cultures in the wider world, including their literature and music. However, they have
fewer opportunities to learn about the diverse cultures in the UK.
The management committee is very positive about the rapid way in which the unit is
improving and provides effective support for development planning. Effective
safeguarding arrangements are in place and the vetting of staff is thorough.


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

Overall effectiveness of schools

Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)
Type of school Outstanding Good Satisfactory Inadequate
Nursery schools 46 46 8 0
Primary schools 8 47 40 5
14 38 40 8
Special schools 28 48 20 4
Pupil referral
15 50 29 5
All schools 11 46 38 6

New school inspection arrangements have been introduced from 1 January 2012. This means that
inspectors make judgements that were not made previously.
The data in the table above are for the period 1 September 2010 to 31 August 2011 and represent
judgements that were made under the school inspection arrangements that were introduced on 1
September 2009. These data are consistent with the latest published official statistics about
maintained school inspection outcomes (see
The sample of schools inspected during 2010/11 was not representative of all schools nationally, as
weaker schools are inspected more frequently than good or outstanding schools.
Primary schools include primary academy converters. Secondary schools include secondary academy
converters, sponsor-led academies and city technology colleges. Special schools include special
academy converters and non-maintained special schools.

Percentages are rounded and do not always add exactly to 100.

Common terminology used by inspectors

Achievement: the progress and success of a pupil in their

learning and development taking account of their

Attainment: the standard of the pupils’ work shown by test and

examination results and in lessons.

Attendance the regular attendance of pupils at school and in

lessons, taking into account the school’s efforts to

encourage good attendance.

Behaviour how well pupils behave in lessons, with emphasis

on their attitude to learning. Pupils’ punctuality to

lessons and their conduct around the school.

Capacity to improve: the proven ability of the school to continue

improving based on its self-evaluation and 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 governors and 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.

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.

Safety how safe pupils are in school, including in lessons;

and their understanding of risks. Pupils’ freedom

from bullying and harassment. How well the school
promotes safety, for example e-learning.

10 February 2012
Dear Students

Inspection of Penwith Short Stay School, Penzance TR18 3NX

Thank you for being so friendly and helpful when I came to visit you this week. I
enjoyed meeting you, talking to you about the unit and looking at your work.
The unit is ensuring that you receive a good education. It is pleasing that you are
making good improvements in your behaviour and attendance. Your behaviour in the
unit is good and you try hard in lessons. Teaching is good. As a result, you are
making good progress with your work. I have asked the unit to develop the way in
which teaching is monitored and ensure that teachers share good practice with each
You told me that you feel safe and enjoy the good variety of lessons and other
activities which are offered in the unit. I have asked staff to look at developing the
accreditation which is offered so that you can gain a wider range of qualifications.
Some of you told me that you will shortly be reintegrating to mainstream schools. I
have asked the management committee to work with staff in the unit to help more of
you to successfully move back to mainstream.
You can continue to help the unit to improve by coming to school regularly and
trying your best.
I wish you all well for the future.
Yours sincerely
Christine Emerson
Lead inspector


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