School etc

The Brambles

The Brambles
159 Longmeanygate
Midge Hall

phone: 01772 454826

headed by: Mr Alan Rainford

school holidays: via Lancashire council

49 pupils aged 12—15y boys gender
56 pupils capacity: 88% full

50 boys 102%


Last updated: June 24, 2014

— Other Independent Special School

Establishment type
Other Independent Special School
Establishment #
Open date
Sept. 30, 2009
Reason open
New Provision
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 351129, Northing: 422544
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 53.697, Longitude: -2.7417
Accepting pupils
11—16 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Region › Const. › Ward
North West › South Ribble › Moss Side
Urban > 10k - less sparse
SEN priorities
BESD - Behaviour, Emotional and Social Difficulty
Learning provider ref #

rooms to rent in Leyland

Schools nearby

  1. 0.5 miles Moss Side Primary School PR267ST (245 pupils)
  2. 0.7 miles Leyland St James Church of England Primary School PR267SH (204 pupils)
  3. 1.1 mile St Anne's Catholic Primary School PR251TL (234 pupils)
  4. 1.2 mile Golden Hill Pupil Referral Unit PR251QS (26 pupils)
  5. 1.2 mile Earnshaw Bridge Infant School PR251QS
  6. 1.2 mile Seven Stars Primary School PR251TD (178 pupils)
  7. 1.2 mile Worden Sports College PR251QX
  8. 1.2 mile Seven Stars Infant School PR251TD
  9. 1.2 mile Academy@Worden PR251QX (283 pupils)
  10. 1.5 mile Leyland St Mary's Catholic High School PR251BS (699 pupils)
  11. 1.6 mile Broadfield County Junior School PR252GB
  12. 1.6 mile Northbrook Primary School PR252GB (118 pupils)
  13. 1.7 mile Woodlea Junior School PR251JL (224 pupils)
  14. 1.7 mile Leyland St Andrew's Church of England Infant School PR251JL (177 pupils)
  15. 1.7 mile Leyland St Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School PR252QA (323 pupils)
  16. 1.7 mile Wellfield High School PR252TP (401 pupils)
  17. 1.8 mile New Longton All Saints CofE Primary School PR44XA (209 pupils)
  18. 1.8 mile Stonehouse School PR252TU
  19. 2.1 miles Little Hoole Primary School PR45QL (179 pupils)
  20. 2.3 miles Farington Primary School PR254GH (172 pupils)
  21. 2.3 miles Leyland Methodist Junior School PR253ET (265 pupils)
  22. 2.3 miles Leyland Methodist Infant School PR253ET (207 pupils)
  23. 2.4 miles Farington Moss St. Paul's C.E. Primary School PR266PR (174 pupils)
  24. 2.4 miles St Oswald's Catholic Primary School, Longton PR45EB (251 pupils)

List of schools in Leyland

School report

The Brambles

159 Longmeanygate, Midge Hall, Leyland, PR26 7TB

Inspection dates 28–30 January 2014
Overall effectiveness Outstanding 1
Pupils’ achievement Outstanding 1
Pupils’ behaviour and personal development Outstanding 1
Quality of teaching Outstanding 1
Quality of curriculum Outstanding 1
Pupils’ welfare, health and safety Outstanding 1
Leadership and management Outstanding 1

Summary of key findings

This school is outstanding because
Compliance with regulatory requirements

Students achieve exceptionally well. All
The school is highly successful in enabling
The quality of teaching is consistently at least
students arrive at the school with attainment
levels that are well below average for their
age. The vast majority thrive at the school. All
those who left Year 11 in 2013 took up places
at college.
students with significant social, emotional and
behavioural difficulties to modify their
behaviour. This means that they can
concentrate on learning and develop positive
relationships with staff and each other.
good and frequently outstanding. Staff are
highly skilled at tailoring their teaching to
students’ individual needs, enabling them to
make excellent progress.
The curriculum has broadened significantly
The outstanding care with which all staff
Leadership and management of the highest
since the previous inspection. It balances
extremely well the strong emphasis on
developing students’ literacy and numeracy
skills with a wealth of other opportunities. The
attention paid to developing students’
personal skills ensures that the school
operates as a calm, harmonious community.
promote students’ welfare, health and safety
lies at the heart of the school’s success.
quality mean that the school has successfully
built on the many strengths it demonstrated at
the previous inspection. It has doubled in size
but maintained its all-important focus on
helping each individual to succeed. Staff are
very well trained, have high expectations and
apply the school’s procedures with admirable
consistency. This creates an ethos in which all
grow in self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • 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

  • This inspection was carried out with one day’s notice.
  • The inspector observed 10 part-lessons taught by nine teachers. She talked informally with
    students at recreation times, and spoke formally with students of all ages. The inspector held
    meetings with staff and the Chair of the Management Board.
  • The inspector scrutinised students’ work and a range of school documents. These included
    records of students’ progress and attainment; schemes of work; school self-evaluation;
    policies and procedures, including those relating to safeguarding.
  • There were no responses to Ofsted’s online questionnaire (Parent View). The inspector
    analysed responses to 21 staff questionnaires.

Inspection team

Sarah Drake, Lead inspector Additional Inspector

Full report

Information about this school

  • The Brambles is an independent day special school for boys aged between 11 and 16 years
    who have social, emotional or behavioural difficulties. It opened in September 2009 and is
    one of three schools run by Beechkeys Limited. The school is registered to cater for up to 56
  • Currently, there are 50 students on roll, of whom 49 have statements of special educational
    needs. The students are drawn from a wide geographical area and are placed at the school
    by seven different local authorities. Fourteen students are in the care of their local authority.
  • The great majority of students are of White British heritage.
  • There are eight classes, with no more than seven students in each. All students spend one
    day a week experiencing a range of outdoor adventurous activities at different sports
    centres. Older students have opportunities to pursue a range of vocational courses at
  • The school aims to provide its students ‘with an educational experience that will not only
    extend their academic, vocational and social skills and abilities, but will also promote
    personal growth and help to build self-esteem.’
  • The school was last inspected in December 2010 when there were 22 students on roll.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Improve the quality of students’ individual education plans so that they more clearly
    demonstrate individuals’ progress towards their targets.
  • Ensure that the marking of students’ work is consistently of high quality so that students are
    clear about what they need to concentrate on next to improve their work.

Inspection judgements

Pupils’ achievement Outstanding

Students achieve outstandingly well because the teaching is of high quality and the curriculum is
exceptionally well adapted to meet their needs. All students arrive at The Brambles with significant
gaps in and, often, negative attitudes towards learning. The care that staff offer them helps them
to believe that they can achieve and provides them with the skills to do so. These potentially
volatile students come to realise how much they do know, to have the confidence to notice and
self-correct their mistakes, to sustain their concentration, and to work with care.
Students, some of whom when they join the school do not recognise all the letters of the alphabet,
develop in to boys who enjoy reading and are willing to do so aloud. Their comprehension skills
improve. Those who initially struggle to write short, simple sentences begin to write at greater
length. After one term, a student confidently wrote one and a half pages, although not all the
spelling was correct, about Sherlock Holmes’ visit to London where he saw ‘suspicioshios looking

men’. More-able students automatically refer to the text in order to substantiate their thinking
about the character of Mercutio in ‘Romeo and Juliet’. In mathematics, the students progress from

simple addition to calculating the circumference of a circle. Students also achieve well in art, as
demonstrated by their sensitive pastels of sunsets and illustrations of flowers. They use
information and communication technology for research and to produce spreadsheets or power-
point presentations.

In 2013 in mathematics and English, almost half the Year 11 students gained GCSE grades and all

students gained Entry Level 2 or 3. Between them, students also gained: Entry Level qualifications
in science, humanities, and personal, social and health education; BTec Levels 1 or 2 in land-based
studies, and art and design; and Level 1 qualifications in vehicle maintenance. All gained college
places and all, to date, remain on their chosen courses. This represents outstanding achievement
from their individual starting points.

Pupils’ behaviour and personal development Outstanding

The school’s very effective provision to promote students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural

development enables them to grow in self-esteem, self-confidence and self-discipline. Initially,

most students’ behaviour is erratic and angry. Due to the school’s very clear expectations and all
staff members’ consistent application of the rules and encouragement to students to ‘get it right’,

their behaviour calms. Students make rapid gains in their attitudes to work and willingness to apply
themselves to the task in hand. This means that lessons almost always run smoothly and that the
school operates as an orderly community with a pleasant atmosphere in which good relationships
abound and students behave outstandingly well. Students volunteer to help each other in lessons
and openly talk about how their behaviour at home has also improved. They say that physical
restraint is seldom used at the school, and only when necessary, ‘because staff talk to children’;
school records confirm this.
In the current year, almost half the students have attendance of 95% or more, and the attendance

of well over half is above 90%. Students enjoy being at the school and say they would, ‘rather be
here than in mainstream.’ Through lessons and the school’s wider curriculum, they learn an

appreciation and respect for their own and others’ cultures, as well as a broad general knowledge
of public services and institutions in England. Students fully include those of different ethnicity and
ability in all activities.
Teaching of consistently strong quality means that students are clear about the purpose of each
lesson and what it is that they are expected to do and to learn. The good rapport between adults
and boys, including much use of humour, spurs the students to try hard. Staff are exceptionally

Quality of teaching Outstanding

skilled at managing students’ behaviour. Teachers and teaching assistants achieve an excellent

balance between support and encouragement of independence, which means that students
concentrate and persist with their work. Probing questioning helps students to dig deep and recall
what they have already learnt so that they can expand on their answers and explain their thinking.

Teachers provide much encouragement and swift verbal feedback on students’ efforts which helps

them to work purposefully. Some written marking is of high quality, clearly indicating what
students have done well and what they need to concentrate on next, but this is not consistent
across all subjects.
Based on careful observation by staff over a number of years, the teaching for students with the
most difficulties is organised in a particularly supportive manner. It allows those who need more
security and are easily distracted, to concentrate within an environment that offers them sheltered
individual spaces but with the opportunity to contribute fully to whole class lessons. Here the
teaching is as skilled as elsewhere in the school with both adults offering students exceptionally
well-judged challenge which gets the best out of them so that they make visible progress in
The planning for all lessons clearly indicates the adjustments needed for each student, and the
teaching takes good account of different ways of learning. Timed tasks and good use of interactive
whiteboards help students to refocus and maintain their attention. All staff have very good

knowledge of students’ different needs but their individual education plans do not have sufficiently

sharply worded targets to capture the, sometimes small, steps in progress that students make.
The outstanding curriculum is bespoke-made for each student, taking into account their statement
of special needs and any gaps in their academic learning, personal and basic life skills. The school’s

Quality of curriculum Outstanding

detailed induction arrangements ensure that individuals’ needs are confirmed at a very early stage

so that they begin to make progress soon after arrival and achieve exceptionally well over time. All

lessons place a strong emphasis on developing students’ literacy and numeracy skills. Students’

awareness of diversity expands through learning about, for example, the Elizabethan age, the

slave trade, Kenya or the Vietnam war. Their appreciation of the arts extends through lessons in
art and design, and one-to-one musical instrument tuition.
Careers education is available to all from Year 9 upwards and the curriculum to promote students’
personal, social and health education is wide ranging. Students in Year 10 have an impressive
knowledge of the negative impact that substance misuse has on health. All students spend one day
a week off-site pursuing outdoor, adventurous activities such as rock-climbing or skiing, all of
which are accredited. The school sees vocational education courses as an educational stimulus
rather than just the acquisition of job-related skills. Students’ success on these courses and in
more academic subjects fully justifies that view.

Pupils’ welfare, health and safety Outstanding

The outstanding and detailed attention that the school pays to students’ welfare, health and safety

ensures that they feel confident to talk about their concerns and to turn to staff for support.
Students say that they feel safe at The Brambles. One-to-one meetings between students and their
key-worker provide regular opportunities to discuss what is going well and what might be done to
improve those aspects that are less positive. Staff are vigilant throughout the day and highly skilled
at pre-empting potential conflict. Daily information sheets clearly display which students are, for
example, at college or pursuing outdoor educational activities, any medical information or
particular learning needs, and which accompanying staff member is trained in first aid. A senior
staff member signs off each such risk assessment before anyone goes off-site. Using the school’s
own minibuses and with appropriate escorts, school staff transport students to and from school on
a daily basis and also, when necessary, parents to reviews of their child’s progress, thereby
ensuring good attendance. Nourishing meals and snacks make a strong contribution to students’
Staff receive regular training in safeguarding procedures and other areas to support students’
welfare, such as first aid and the safe use of physical restraint. The school conducts rigorous
checks on the suitability of all staff to work with children and redeploys its own staff members in
the event of any absence, to ensure consistency for the students. The school’s procedures to deal
with bullying have a high profile, and staff are swift to nip in the bud any potential problems.
Students are fully aware that all types of bullying are wrong although they admit that sometimes
some students ‘try to push the buttons’ or ‘peck each others’ heads’. The school’s procedures to
reduce the risks associated with fire, such as fire drills and appliance checks, fully comply with
The Brambles is so successful at helping students to achieve because the leadership and
management are first rate. The day runs like clockwork, without any bells and despite the
individuality of students’ timetables, because all staff know the expectations and are absolutely

Leadership and management Outstanding

committed to the school’s ethos. Staff performance management is regular, linked to students’

progress and very supportive, in order to keep driving forward improvement. Leaders have enabled
five former key workers to achieve qualified teacher status.
The management board meets regularly, has an accurate view of the school’s strengths and
relatively weaker areas, and constantly seeks ways to improve, ‘how to make things right for each

child.’ The proprietor has successfully ensured that all statutory regulations are met. The premises

are pristine, well maintained and well adapted, inside and outdoors, to accommodate the numbers
of students and the teaching of the full range of subjects. The school makes all the required
information available for parents, carers and the relevant local authorities and goes to great efforts

to involve them in the students’ progress. The policy and procedures for handling complaints meet

requirements. The words of one staff member aptly sum up the school’s great strength which
emanates from the leadership: ‘I have worked in a variety of similar settings and find this the most

supportive of young people.’

What inspection judgements mean


Grade Judgement Description
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
minimum requirements.
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 the
quality of education has serious weaknesses.

School details

Unique reference number 136003
Inspection number 422819
DfE registration number 888/6111

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 Special Day School
School status Independent School
Age range of pupils 11–16
Gender of pupils Boys
Number of pupils on the school roll 50
Number of part time pupils 0
Proprietor Beechkeys Limited
Chair Gary Holliday
Headteacher Alan Rainford
Date of previous school inspection 8 December 2010
Annual fees (day pupils) £31,281.00
Telephone number 01772 454826
Fax number 01772 672162
Email address reveal email: rece…


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