phone: 01908 889400
principal: Dr Neil Barrett
60 pupils capacity: 92% full
50 boys 91%
5 girls 9%
Last updated: June 24, 2014
— Academy Special Sponsor Led
- Establishment type
- Academy Special Sponsor Led
- Establishment #
- Open date
- April 1, 2012
- Reason open
- New Provision
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 484950, Northing: 241505
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 52.065, Longitude: -0.76219
- Accepting pupils
- 13—19 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- July 2, 2013
- Region › Const. › Ward
- South East › Milton Keynes North › Stantonbury
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- Main specialism
- SEN behavioural, emotional and social development (Operational)
- SEN priorities
- BESD - Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulty
- Special classes
- Has Special Classes
- Sixth form
- Has a sixth form
- Free school meals %
- Trust school
- Is supported by a Trust
- Learning provider ref #
- The Gatehouse School MK146AX
- North Personalised Education Centre (NPEC) MK146AX
- Bridge Academy MK146AX (79 pupils)
- 0.2 miles Wood End First School MK146BB (81 pupils)
- 0.3 miles Great Linford Primary School MK145BL (234 pupils)
- 0.3 miles The Webber Independent School MK146DP (140 pupils)
- 0.4 miles St Andrew's CofE Infant School MK145AX (39 pupils)
- 0.5 miles St Monica's Catholic Primary School MK146HB (464 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Stantonbury Campus MK146BN (1984 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Stantonbury Campus South MK146BN
- 0.6 miles Brooksward Middle School MK146JZ
- 0.6 miles Brooksward First School MK146JZ
- 0.6 miles Brooksward School MK146JZ (283 pupils)
- 0.7 miles Stanton School MK137BE (204 pupils)
- 0.9 miles Giffard Park Primary School MK145PY (383 pupils)
- 1 mile Pepper Hill School MK137BQ (177 pupils)
- 1 mile Southwood School MK147AR (189 pupils)
- 1 mile Downs Barn School MK147NA (113 pupils)
- 1.2 mile Germander Park School MK147DU (106 pupils)
- 1.3 mile New Bradwell School MK130BQ (461 pupils)
- 1.3 mile Priory Common School MK139EZ (177 pupils)
- 1.3 mile Heelands School MK137QL (101 pupils)
- 1.4 mile Bradwell Village School MK139AZ (283 pupils)
- 1.4 mile Willen Primary School MK159HN (374 pupils)
Crosslands, Stantonbury, Milton Keynes, MK14 6AX
|Inspection dates||24–25 June 2015|
|Overall effectiveness||This inspection:||Good||2|
|Previous inspection:||Requires Improvement||3|
|Leadership and management||Outstanding||1|
|Behaviour and safety of pupils||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Good||2|
|Achievement of pupils||Good||2|
|Sixth form provision||Good||2|
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school
It is not yet an outstanding school because
| Outstanding leadership has made sure that |
High quality staff training and rigorous checks on
The majority of students in Year 11 now achieve
The governing body has an excellent range of
Governors make very effective use of additional
Parents told inspectors that the school had
teaching and achievement have improved rapidly
since the previous inspection. Senior leaders,
managers and governors have all contributed to
the improvements since the last inspection.
the quality of teaching have resulted in most
students making good or better progress in
English, mathematics and science.
a wide range of accreditation before they leave
the school. These include GCSE passes at A* to G
grades and BTEC and entry-level qualifications.
These prepare students well for their futures.
skills and knows how well the school is achieving.
Governors provide rigorous challenge to leaders
about students' behaviour and progress.
government funding. They carefully check that it
is used effectively so that disadvantaged students
can achieve as well as others and sometimes
turned their children's lives around and that they
receive high quality support.
| Students benefit from exciting activities that |
The range of subjects and topics provided meet
Behaviour is good. Students say that they feel like
Almost all students improve their attendance when
Teaching has improved so that it is consistently
Staff are overwhelmingly positive about leadership
The sixth form is good. Leaders make sure that
contribute to their good spiritual, moral, social and
cultural development. For example, they visit the
Normandy battlefields and a German concentration
students’ needs and abilities well. Therapies help
students to develop the confidence to take part in
all that the school offers. As a result their
behaviour and personal skills improve rapidly.
a big family. One said, 'You help your family and
that's what we're like here. We try to help each
other.' Students are safe at school.
they start at the school because they receive
effective rewards that they value highly.
good and sometimes outstanding. Students' work
is marked well with helpful ideas about how they
can improve further. They receive effective support
from teaching assistants.
and management of the school and their work.
students achieve well on their accredited courses.
| A minority of students do not make rapid enough |
progress in English and mathematics.
| A small number of students do not stay in lessons |
long enough to benefit from the learning provided.
Information about this inspection
- The inspectors observed students' learning in 17 lessons, all jointly with the executive principal or the
deputy principal. Inspectors also listened to some younger students reading.
- Inspectors had lunch with students and talked to different groups about their school and about their
- One of the inspectors observed learning and talked to leaders, staff and students at the off-site provision
at Bradwell Abbey.
- The inspectors held meetings with the executive headteacher, senior and middle leaders, the Vice-Chair of
the Governing Body and the Head of the Academy Trust.
- Inspectors observed the school’s work and looked at several documents. These included the school’s own
information about students’ progress, planning and monitoring documents, safeguarding information and
- Parents attending a coffee morning at the academy spoke to an inspector and shared their views about
the school and their child’s progress; there were too few responses to the Ofsted online survey (Parent
View) questionnaire to be considered. Questionnaires from 20 staff were also taken into account.
|Denise Morris, Lead inspector||Additional Inspector|
|Jackie Blount||Additional Inspector|
Information about this school
- This academy caters for secondary-aged students with social, emotional and mental health needs from
across Milton Keynes and neighbouring counties. A Pupil Referral Unit, 'Bridge Academy' shares the same
site and the same senior leadership team. Bridge Academy was not part of this inspection.
- All students at Stephenson Academy have a statement of special educational need or an Education Health
Care Plan. Most students have additionaql needs including autism spectrum conditions, social
communication or moderate learning difficulties.
- Some students have been out of school for some considerable time before they start at the school.
- Most students are of White British heritage and no students speak English as an additional language.
- The proportion of students eligible for the pupil premium is well above average. This is additional
government funding for students known to be eligible for free school meals and looked after children.
- The school also receives an additional sports grant.
- There is off-site provision for six students with the most challenging behaviour at Bradwell Abbey. This is
a short term intervention for students at high risk of permanent exclusion.
- The school has its own sixth form. Some students in Key Stage 4 and all sixth form students study
vocational courses at Milton Keynes College.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Increase the rate of all students' progress in English and mathematics by making sure that tasks always
challenge them to persevere and do their very best
- Develop strategies so that all students stay in class until the end of lessons so that their progress
|The leadership and management||are outstanding|
- Outstanding leadership by the executive principal has resulted in excellent improvement in all areas of the
school. This has ensured that students now benefit from at least good teaching, helping them to achieve
and behave well. The executive principal is very ably supported by three deputy principals, senior leaders,
staff and governors. Together they all make sure that students benefit from the improvements to
teaching and achievement in an atmosphere that nurtures good behaviour and relationships.
- Governors have very high expectations of staff, who are extremely supportive and work together very
well. As a result, students' progress in English, mathematics and science has improved and is now good.
- Staff responses to the inspection questionnaires show that all of them are proud to work at this school
and that they value the support they receive from leaders.
- Increased expectations of middle leaders’ work means that they, and senior leaders, focus on checking
outcomes in their subjects. Middle leaders support their teams very well to be sure that all teachers
provide tasks that engage students well. Senior leaders monitor assessments regularly to check that
progress is robust.
- High quality improvements to the subjects and topics students study have had a very positive impact on
raising achievement across the school. The curriculum is good. A wide range of interventions and
therapies support the different needs of students, ensuring that progress is improving.
- Targets set for teachers are linked to predictions for students’ achievements so that leaders can be sure
that teachers give students challenging work. Increases in teachers’ salaries are closely linked to how well
their targets are met.
- Students like the school. They were eager to tell inspectors about the wide range of activities that they
really enjoy. Many cannot believe that they have opportunities to visit Europe, for example. Their
enjoyment of school is shown by the way that most of them improve their attendance at the school.
- Strategies to manage and improve students' behaviour are effective. Students really value the rewards
offered for good attendance, behaviour and achievement. As a result, their personal development
improves during their time at the school. Students are confident that there is always someone they can
talk to if they have any difficulties.
- Students benefit from good opportunities to learn about British values. For example students regularly
discuss acceptance of other people. They take part in regular 'cake bakes' to raise funds for a local
charity. They have their own school council which takes an interest in improvements to the playground
and outdoor areas. They rescued four battery chickens and have nurtured them so that they are
beginning to lay eggs.
- The school makes sure that there is equality of opportunity for all students through the effective
curriculum. This ensures that students learn about the different cultures and faiths that make up modern
Britain. As a result, there is no discrimination at the school and students' attitudes are positive.
- Students are taught about and discuss the prevention of sexual exploitation, extremism and radicalisation
in their personal education sessions. Students learn about democracy through their school council. For
example, a few students told the inspector that the on-site 'Bridge Pupil Referral Unit' should not share
the same site.
- Through the curriculum, students learn about world faiths and about right and wrong. In history, for
example, they learned about the impact of the holocaust. A recent visit to one of the concentration
camps by Year 10 students promoted high levels of empathy. 'It was awesome standing in the place
where so many people died,' commented a student.
- Regular fund-raising activities, residential experiences and close links with the community promote
students’ understanding of life in modern Britain. Recent visits to the London Shard and to France and
Belgium to see the battlefields are well received. These all reinforce promotion of students' personal and
spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.
- Leaders have developed new systems to measure and monitor the assessment of students' skills. They
check these assessments with other similar schools to ensure that they are accurate.
- Leaders visit off-site provision to check rigorously that students’ achievement, behaviour and attendance
are at least good.
- Parents are pleased with the school and with their child’s education. The trustees give good support to
the development of the school.
- Students benefit from good quality careers guidance to help them prepare for their futures. Work
experience is available to students who feel they would benefit from it.
- Leaders use additional funding for those students entitled to it to provide extra support and resources
such as technology. As a result these students make similar or better progress than their classmates in
English and mathematics.
- Leaders use the additional sports grant very well to improve staff skills. This has meant that all students
benefit from high quality teaching and a rich range of activities. Students regularly go riding, swimming
and climbing, for example.
- Safeguarding procedures fully meet requirements. Staff receive regular training to ensure they know how
to identify any student at risk of harm. High quality procedures ensure that students are safe. Risk
assessments are very thorough and always completed for external activities.
The governance of the school:
Governance is very effective. Trustees and governors give very good support to the school. Members
now have high quality skills and use these very well to challenge and support leaders and to hold them
to account for students' achievements.
Governors know about the strengths of teaching and areas for development. They know how well the
school is doing because they check performance data with other similar schools to ensure it is accurate.
Members regularly receive information about the performance of staff.
Financial management is effective. Governors check the effectiveness of additional funding to ensure
that students who are eligible benefit from it. This ensures that these students achieve as well as their
classmates. Governors also check that the sports funding is being used effectively to benefit students’
Governors understand the procedures for setting targets for teachers and they use these to make sure
the best teachers are rewarded and that others receive support to improve their practice.
|The behaviour and safety of pupils||are good|
- The behaviour of students is good. Most of them behave sensibly and respond well to all that the school
offers. Behaviour has improved due to the wide range of therapies that help students to develop positive
attitudes and gain the confidence to succeed.
- Most students have positive attitudes. Girls and boys get on well together. They understand the school
rules and value the rewards that they receive. Students behave well on trips, visits and when attending
- Students join in with a wide range of activities, working closely with their classmates. The behaviour of a
very few students, mainly younger ones, is more challenging but staff always manage it well.
- There have been no permanent exclusions in the past few years. Short-term exclusions are above average
for similar schools, which is why behaviour is not outstanding. More exclusions are given to students in
Years 8 and 9 because some of them have not yet managed to control their own behaviour. Regular
monitoring by leaders and the good quality of support provided ensures that almost all students improve
their behaviour and attitudes by the time they leave. This is also due to the way students want to do well
at the school. Almost all of them save their rewards for something they want to buy, and they work hard
to achieve this.
- School staff and the parents who spoke to the inspectors are positive about students' behaviour.
- The school prepares students well for their futures by helping them to achieve and behave well and by
supporting them to attend regularly.
- The school’s work to keep students safe and secure is good. Policies to ensure their safety are securely in
place and leaders make sure that all staff adhere to them rigorously. Good risk assessments are in place
for any trip or visit and safety procedures at off-site provision are checked regularly.
- Students told the inspector that they are fully aware of the importance of staying safe on the internet and
about e-safety procedures. They recognise and understand the impact of risks, which helps them to feel
- Students know about different forms of bullying. They say that the school is like a family. 'Everyone gets
on well and helps each other. There is no bullying because there is no need to bully. It is a small enough
school for us to get along together,’ commented members of the school council.
- Safety is not outstanding because some students told inspectors that the behaviour of a few students is
sometimes scary, despite being well managed.
|The quality of teaching||is good|
- Students achieve well in English, mathematics and science. They also make good progress in many other
subjects because the impact of teaching over time is good.
- Tasks are well planned to meet individual students' abilities, ensuring that most can complete their work.
Regular monitoring of lessons by leaders together with high quality training for all staff means that
teaching is effective and has a positive impact on students' successes.
- Students achieve well in a wide range of subjects such as the humanities, art and food technology, to
name a few. Expectations of students’ achievements are always high.
- Links across subjects are effective due to very detailed planning by staff. For example, the use of literacy
and numeracy across subjects such as history, geography and science ensures that students make at least
good and sometimes better progress in their literacy and numeracy.
- The teaching of reading, with regular, effective, daily sessions, means that students’ reading skills improve
rapidly once they start at the school. The range of books provided for students meets their interests well.
Students have opportunities to take books home.
- Writing and mathematics are taught well. Teaching assistants play a vital role in supporting students who
need extra help. They ensure that students with additional needs and disadvantaged students achieve as
well as, and sometimes better than, others in the class.
- Staff manage students' behaviour well and provide tasks that engage most students to do well and enjoy
learning. The appointment of reward points at the end of each lesson is carefully discussed so that
students are very clear about what they did well and what still needs improving.
- Students' work is marked well with helpful ideas about how to improve further. This is always evident in
comments on students’ writing, which help them to improve over time.
- Teachers challenge the most able students well with additional tasks. Sometimes these students work
independently on the work that teachers set for them.
- Teaching for students with autistic spectrum conditions is good, so that these students make good
progress and achieve as well as their classmates.
|The achievement of pupils||is good|
- Students' attainment is almost always below or well below expected levels for their age when they start at
the school. This is due to them missing schooling in the past because of their social, emotional and/or
mental health needs. Once at the school they start to catch up, making at least good progress from their
original starting points.
- Students eligible for additional premium funding achieve similar GCSE results to others in the school,
although their grades are below others nationally in mainstream schools.
- The school’s own data show that students make good progress in English and mathematics. Records since
the previous inspection show that achievement is improving rapidly. For example, the proportion of
students who attained five A* to G grades in GCSE examinations in 2014 was well above other similar
schools and all students achieved at least one qualification.
- Tracking of achievement by leaders is rigorous and is helping standards to improve rapidly. All groups of
students, including disadvantaged students, those who are eligible for additional funding and those with
additional special educational needs, achieve equally well. This is because of high quality support by all
staff and the very effective reward system that encourages students to achieve well.
- Students make good progress in reading because of regular practice and the very good quality of
resources provided for them. Some Year 8 students read fluently to inspectors.
- Most students improve their writing skills during their time at the school because of effective marking and
support. Good examples are provided to help students improve further.
- Some students find writing difficult and at times opt out of these lessons. They are provided with
alternative places to work where they are well supported by staff. However, some regularly miss out on
working with their peers, improving their personal skills and learning to work together with others to
prepare them well for their futures.
- A high focus is placed on students’ literacy and numeracy skills through many subjects. The wide range of
external visits provides students with ideas and information to support their writing. High expectations of
what students can achieve help students to make good progress.
- Some outstanding learning was evident in English where Year 8 students were receiving additional support
for their reading and writing. Individual tuition and innovative use of resources helped students to write
with different sized pens and pencils and improve their dexterity and pen control. Individual plans for each
student contributed to their high levels of success.
- Sometimes the pace of students' learning dips. At these times some younger students, particularly
younger ones, walk out of class, exhibit some poor behaviour and language and do not complete their
tasks alongside their classmates. As a result, overall achievement is not yet outstanding. The school
provides appropriate provision for these students in quiet areas where they work individually with staff.
- The most able students make very good progress in English and mathematics, working independently and
extending their skills.
- Students have many opportunities to take part in sports activities and physical challenges through the
additional sports funding. Breakfast and after-school clubs are popular and support students’ personal
|The sixth form provision||is good|
- Only one sixth form student was present during the inspection because most were out on work experience
or attending college. However evidence from past work and from students' outcomes shows that they
make at least good and sometimes better progress during their time there.
- Most sixth form students have been in the main school although a few come from other schools. They
benefit from a good curriculum and tasks that engage them and prepare them well for college.
- Students’ achievement is good because teaching is consistently good for all students, including those with
additional special needs and the most able.
- Study programmes match students’ needs and abilities well and prepare them effectively for the next
stage of their education. Courses are well matched to students’ abilities and aspirations. For example,
students can take GCSE examinations, BTEC qualifications and/or functional skills qualifications. Most
students achieve a good range of accreditation by the time they leave. One student has already achieved
13 GCSE passes.
- Links with Milton Keynes College are good and mean that students can extend their vocational
qualifications and their personal development.
- The school provides good, impartial careers advice and information so that students are well aware of the
choices that will help them best in their futures.
- Students behave well. They fully understand potential risks to their health and well-being and how to
- Leaders of the sixth form are rigorous about maintaining good levels of achievement and personal
development of students. Leadership and management of the sixth form are good.
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
|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
|Unique reference number||138253|
|Local authority||Milton Keynes|
This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.
|Type of school||Academy sponsor-led|
|School category||Community Special|
|Age range of pupils||13–19|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Gender of pupils in the sixth form||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||64|
|Of which, number on roll in sixth form||6|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Executive Principal||Dr. Neil Barrett|
|Date of previous school inspection||2–3 July 2013|
|Telephone number||01908 313 903|
|Fax number||01908 221 195|