School etc

The Phoenix School

The Phoenix School
Clayton Site
Orton Goldhay

phone: 01733 391666

headed by: Mr Phil Pike

school holidays: via Peterborough council

131 pupils aged 4—18y mixed gender

80 boys 61%


50 girls 38%


Last updated: June 20, 2014

— Community Special School

Establishment type
Community Special School
Establishment #
Open date
Sept. 1, 2004
Reason open
Result of Closure
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 516558, Northing: 295866
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 52.548, Longitude: -0.2825
Accepting pupils
2—19 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
July 5, 2012
Region › Const. › Ward
East of England › North West Cambridgeshire › Orton Longueville
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Special classes
Has Special Classes
Sixth form
Has a sixth form
Free school meals %
Learning provider ref #

rooms to rent in Peterborough

Schools nearby

  1. 0.1 miles Clayton School PE25SD
  2. 0.2 miles Braybrook Primary School PE25QL (253 pupils)
  3. 0.3 miles Orton Longueville School PE27EA
  4. 0.3 miles Nene Park Academy PE27EA (949 pupils)
  5. 0.4 miles Orton Hall School PE27DN
  6. 0.5 miles Leighton Primary School PE25PL (388 pupils)
  7. 0.5 miles Winyates Primary School PE25RF (204 pupils)
  8. 0.5 miles St Botolph's Church of England Primary School PE27EA (391 pupils)
  9. 0.8 miles Hampton Hargate Primary School PE78BZ (599 pupils)
  10. 0.9 miles Matley Primary School PE25YQ
  11. 0.9 miles St John's Church School PE25SP (267 pupils)
  12. 0.9 miles Bushfield Community College PE25RQ
  13. 0.9 miles Ormiston Bushfield Academy PE25RQ (842 pupils)
  14. 0.9 miles Ormiston Meadows Academy PE25YQ (274 pupils)
  15. 1.1 mile Sense College PE78JB
  16. 1.1 mile Hampton Vale Primary School PE78LS (531 pupils)
  17. 1.2 mile Hampton College PE78BF (1033 pupils)
  18. 1.2 mile Hampton College PE78BF
  19. 1.4 mile Woodston Primary School PE29ER (228 pupils)
  20. 1.4 mile Nene Valley Primary School PE29RT (278 pupils)
  21. 1.5 mile Old Fletton Primary School PE29DR (383 pupils)
  22. 1.5 mile Orton Wistow Primary School PE26GF (317 pupils)
  23. 1.6 mile Brewster Avenue Infant School PE29PN (219 pupils)
  24. 1.7 mile St Augustine's CofE (Voluntary Aided) Junior School PE29DH (199 pupils)

List of schools in Peterborough

Age group 2–19
Inspection date(s) 5–6 July 2012
Inspection number 381657

The Phoenix School

Inspection report

Unique reference number 134272
Local authority Peterborough
Inspection number 381657
Inspection dates 5–6 July 2012
Lead inspector Jeffery Plumb

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 2–19
Gender of pupils Mixed
Gender of pupils in the sixth form Mixed
Nu mber of pupils on the school roll 109
Of which, number on roll in the sixth form 27
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Maggie Short
Headteacher Philip Pike
Date of previous school inspection 12 March 2009
School address Clayton Site
Orton Goldhay
Telephone number 01733 391666
Fax number 01733 391477
Email address reveal email: off…
Inspection report: The Phoenix School, 5–6 July 2012 2 of 12

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Inspection report: The Phoenix School5–6 July 2012 3 of 12


Inspection team

Jeffery Plumb Additional Inspector
Lynda Morgan Additional Inspector

This inspection was carried out with two days' notice. Inspectors observed teaching
and learning in 10 lessons taught by 10 different teachers. Five were joint lesson
observations with the headteacher and deputy headteacher. Inspectors listened to a
group of pupils read and examined three case studies of pupils to determine the

quality of provision made for them and its impact. The lead inspector met formally

with the school council and spoke with many pupils in lessons. The arrangements for
supporting pupils to get on the buses safely at the end of the school day were
observed. Meetings were held with teaching staff, the school’s family liaison officer
and the Chair of the Governing Body. Inspectors met informally with a few parents
and carers. Inspectors observed the school’s work and examined a number of
documents, including progress and attainment data, the restraint log, safeguarding
policies and risk assessments, equality and diversity policies, feeding plans, intimate
care plans, statements of special educational needs, attendance figures and the
school improvement plan. Inspectors took account of the responses of the on-line
questionnaire (Parent View) in planning the inspection. They took account of 45
questionnaires returned by parents and carers as well as those completed by staff.
They looked at the questionnaires, formatted using symbols, which were submitted
by the pupils.

Information about the school

The Phoenix School provides for pupils with severe learning difficulties and profound
and multiple learning difficulties. Many have additional needs, including autistic
spectrum disorders and complex medical needs. All pupils have a statement of
special educational needs. There are seven children in the Early Years Foundation
Stage, all are of Reception age. An above-average proportion of pupils are known to
be eligible for free school meals. The proportions of pupils from minority ethnic
backgrounds and from families where English is an additional language, are above
average. There are six looked after pupils. The school has gained a number of
awards, including Inclusion Charter Mark, Basic Skills Quality, Sports Active Mark and
the International Schools Award. The school provides extended services for its pupils
and their parents and carers, such as family learning programmes, a breakfast club,
an after-school club and respite care during school holidays.

Inspection report: The Phoenix School; 5–6 July 2012 4 of 12

Inspection judgements

Overall effectiveness 1
Achievement of pupils 1
Quality of teaching 1
Behaviour and safety of pupils 1
Leadership and management 1

Key findings

  • This is an outstanding school. Parents and carers are right to be delighted with
    what this school achieves for their children. Their views are typified by the
    parent who said, ‘An excellent school, my son is doing exceptionally well since
    joining. The school makes me part of the family. I cannot find any faults. All
    provision in the school is perfect.’
  • Pupils’ achievement is outstanding, both academically and in their personal
    development. From low starting points on entry, all pupils make outstanding
    progress in their development of communication, mathematical and relevant life
    skills. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage gain readiness to learn
  • Teaching and learning are outstanding. Challenging activities are tailored to
    pupils’ specific learning and developmental needs as identified in their
    statements of special educational needs. Teachers are highly skilled at
    removing barriers to learning so that pupils develop excellent self-help and
    communication skills. In the few lessons where teaching is good rather than
    outstanding, teaching assistants occasionally do not always consistently
    challenge pupils.
  • Often pupils enter the school with challenging behaviour due to the frustration
    of not being able to communicate their needs. They are helped to overcome
    this through a curriculum which focuses on enabling them to become confident
    and effective communicators. Dignity and respect for each pupil pervades this
    school and pupils behave exceptionally well as a result. They have
    outstandingly positive attitudes to learning. Pupils feel safe. Attendance, despite
    some pupils having long stays in hospital, is above average.
  • Effective and motivational leadership enhances pupils’ learning and
    development of life skills. Monitoring is rigorous and leads to decisive action to
    maximise pupils’ achievement. Management of performance is exceptionally
    effective in providing targeted professional development to equip teachers to
    improve their teaching. Teachers are highly skilled and imaginative in the
    manner in which they support pupils to express their needs.
Inspection report: The Phoenix School; 5–6 July 2012 5 of 12
  • The sixth form is outstanding. The curriculum is relevant and the quality of
    teaching is excellent. Consequently, sixth form students, within their capability,
    leave equipped with the skills required to be as independent as possible at

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Improve the small amount of good teaching to outstanding by:
    ensuring that the senior leadership team builds in formal planning time at
    the start of the day for class teachers and any supply teaching assistants
    who are working in classes on that day
    ensuring that teaching assistants working with targeted groups of pupils in
    lessons always consistently challenge them so as to accelerate learning.

Main report

Achievement of pupils

Pupils’ progress is outstanding relative to their low starting points. All pupils, except
for those with very complex medical needs, make at least good progress in reading,
writing and mathematics. Most exceed the rate of progress expected nationally in
these core subjects for pupils with severe and profound multiple learning difficulties.

Pupils’ progress is exceptional in the acquisition of life skills, such as feeding as

independently as possible, washing hands before meals and moving freely within
their capability. Parents and carers are thrilled with the progress their children make.

They report that ‘their children’s progress in life skills is more important to them than
their progress in the three ‘Rs’.’ Pupils make outstanding progress in information and

communication technology (ICT) and science. Higher achieving pupils, with support,
find and use the correct keys, edit text, and copy and paste when using the
computer. All experience technology; for some that is touching a plasma screen and

‘gazing’ at the effect of their touch; for others, it is being engaged with a blender as
it makes a ‘smoothie’. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage make rapid gains

in their learning. Post-16 students make outstanding progress taking their individual
capabilities into account, particularly in their development of college-readiness skills.

Pupils’ progress in lessons, across all subjects, is outstanding. Individualized learning

programmes taught consistently ensure that each pupil reaches his/her full potential.
Equality of opportunity for all pupils to access learning is a core value of the school,
however complex their needs. Pupils from families where English is an additional
language achieve as well as their peers. Pupils in wheelchairs and those with walking
frames dance as well as their peers who walk unaided because they are fully
included in physical education lessons. Each pupil excels in communicating their
needs and choices in all subjects, because they have the opportunity to express
themselves by eye pointing, speaking and the use of signs, symbols, switches and
electronic voice boxes. Equally, the development of pupils’ numeracy skills across the
curriculum is outstanding.

Inspection report: The Phoenix School; 5–6 July 2012 6 of 12

Quality of teaching

Exceptionally well-planned activities, based on very effective assessment,

successfully meet pupils’ specific learning needs. For example, in a reading lesson,

the use of a wide range of activities and individually planned learning outcomes
enabled each pupil to make rapid progress. Some signed accurately a key word in
the text about the sea, others pointed at symbols and words using their eyes, and
others anticipated the feeling of a squirt of water as a spray can was held close to
their faces. High expectations in another lesson for pupils with severe learning
difficulties resulted in them completing quality pieces of persuasive writing using
symbols and words. Relationships in lessons are excellent and contribute to pupils
becoming confident learners. In almost every lesson, teaching assistants make an
exceptionally valuable contribution to pupils’ learning. On very rare occasions though,
teachers do not ensure that teaching assistants who provide emergency supply cover
consistently challenge pupils and this slows the learning. Overwhelmingly, parents
and carers are of the opinion that their children are exceptionally well taught. Pupils
who are able to talk using words say that their teaching is ‘fantastic’; all show this
through their enthusiasm to participate in lessons.
Teaching in the Early Years Foundation Stage and in the 14 to 19 department is
outstanding. Early on, children learn to share, take turns, and focus their
concentration for an increased length of time. Consequently, they become ready to
learn and to be more independent. Flexibly planned and innovative, the curriculum
provides an outstanding basis for relevant and interesting teaching, which

successfully develops pupils’ life skills. For example, Year 11 and sixth form students

develop personal hygiene skills, learn to shop and prepare a meal as independently
as possible. The teaching of literacy and numeracy pervades all subjects. Pupils
experience counting as they wait for their transport at the end of the day, weigh
ingredients in food technology, select the correct size wellington boots when going
outside in the rain, and communicate with each other and their teachers effectively
in all lessons. Sixth form students pitch a stall weekly in their local shopping centre.
They gain confidence in communicating with the public and learn to handle money.

Teaching promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
exceptionally well. Excellent examples include supporting pupils’ wonder and

amazement as they track glowing objects with their eyes in science and participate in

activities to help them experience faiths other than Christianity in religious education.

Behaviour and safety of pupils

Pupils’ attitudes to learning are outstanding. Careful positioning and modifications to

Inspection report: The Phoenix School; 5–6 July 2012 7 of 12

furniture remove physical barriers to learning for pupils and so enable them to
engage with a range of interesting activities. Teaching assistants massage the hands
and stretch the fingers of pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties
enabling them to reach out and operate devices to communicate answers to
challenging questions. This promotes their independence. Similarly, pupils with
severe learning difficulties engage with learning fully because it is relevant,
challenging and fun. Children who, when they started the school year in Reception,
were very distressed were calm as they responded to appropriate sensory stimulus
provided for them. For some, this was the comfort a vibrating toy, for others, a piece
of relaxing music. Glowing eyes and smiles pervaded classrooms.
Skilful support, involving pupils with a wide range of complex needs, has enabled
them to draw up a charter of dignity and respect for each other. Consequently,

within their capability, they have an ownership of the school’s behaviour policy.

Given their complexity of needs, they behave outstandingly well. No racist incidents
or any other form of prejudiced-based bullying have been recorded over recent
years. Pupils feel safe, secure and supported to be themselves without prejudice
within an accepting and embracing school environment. Higher-achieving pupils, able
to speak, summed up the ethos of the school when they said, ‘We are all different,

but equal’. Within their capability, they know how to keep themselves safe. Pupils

with severe learning difficulties understand the importance of being wary of
strangers and of taking great care when crossing the road. Those in wheelchairs,
who have the cognitive ability and good use of their hands, propel themselves
around the school site independently and safely. Pupils with profound and multiple
learning difficulties, through gesture and facial expressions, state a preference for
which adults they want to support them with their intimate care needs. Using words,
pointing, signing, nodding heads, and operating electronic communication aids, all
pupils express that they have an adult who they trust within school. Parents and
carers could not speak more highly of what the school does to keep their children
safe, to improve their behaviour and support them in developing independence.

Leadership and management

Senior and middle leaders work in an exceptionally effective partnership to raise

pupils’ achievement and promote their personal development. The training and

development of newly qualified teachers, particularly in equipping them to work with
pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties, is cutting edge. However, lack
of formal planning time first thing in the morning, between class teachers and supply
teaching assistants, drafted in to work at short notice, very occasionally results in the
support given to pupils not being as high quality as it could be. Parents and carers
are given extremely valuable support in helping their children to develop excellent
communication and self-help skills. The quality of care, including partnership working
with health professionals, is outstanding. The three after school clubs and short
breaks opportunities managed and delivered by the school staff are excellent.
Governance is highly effective in challenging and supporting school leaders.
Self-evaluation is thorough. Analysis of performance continually informs planning for
improvement. A recent audit of the performance of pupils with autistic spectrum
disorders has led to changes which have significantly improved pupils’ expressive
language. Feedback to teachers following rigorous monitoring of their teaching has
resulted in every teacher planning specific and relevant learning outcomes for each
pupil in every lesson. The capacity for sustained improvement is outstanding.
A creative and relevant curriculum is provided. The curriculum makes a very valuable

Inspection report: The Phoenix School; 5–6 July 2012 8 of 12

contribution to pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Personal,

social, health and citizenship education addresses disability awareness and promotes
positive images of a range of cultures and beliefs. Equality of opportunity lies at the
heart of this school. The vision that every pupil will succeed is translated into
practice. Pupils who are very sick are included fully in a positive educational
experience. Never complacent, the school ceaselessly reviews the curriculum so as to
tailor it to better meet the needs of each individual. Management systems to ensure
pupils are safe and secure are robust. Safeguarding and child protection procedures
meet statutory requirements and risk assessments are thorough and detailed.

Inspection report: The Phoenix School, 5–6 July 2012 9 of 12


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 54 42 2 2
Primary schools 14 49 32 6
20 39 34 7
Special schools 33 45 20 3
Pupil referral
9 55 28 8
All schools 16 47 31 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 to 31 December 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.

Inspection report: The Phoenix School, 5–6 July 2012 10 of 12

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.

Floor standards: the national minimum expectation of attainment

and progression measures.

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.

Inspection report: The Phoenix School, 5–6 July 2012 11 of 12

9 July 2012
Dear Pupils

Inspection of The Phoenix School, Peterborough, PE2 5SD

Thank you for welcoming me and my colleague to your school. We greatly enjoyed
our visit and found that The Phoenix is an outstanding school.

  • You express your views and answer questions with confidence; some of you
    point, others use signs and yet others words. You learn how to shop, handle
    money, plan and cook tasty meals. You learn how to have a say in how your
    school should be run and what can be improved.
  • The teaching is outstanding. Interesting activities are planned to meet the
    needs of each one of you. You are helped to overcome worries and frustrations
    and as you do so, your behaviour becomes excellent. You show wonderful
    respect towards one another. You feel safe.
  • You are exceptionally well cared for. You are helped to feed yourselves, to wash
    your hands before mealtimes and to use the toilet as independently as possible.
    Your headteacher and all adults in the school help you to count, measure when
    cooking, and select the right size ‘wellies’ when you go horse riding. By the end
    of Year 14, you are equipped to do as much as possible for yourselves when
    you go to college. You are supported to move by yourselves and to find your
    way around the school. Those of you who can use your hands to write use
    words and symbols to produce stories and shopping lists. Your progress in
    reading by gazing with your eyes at pictures, pointing at words and reading text
    is outstanding.
  • Your use of computers to help you write and your operation of toasters and
    blenders using switches help you to develop life skills.
  • The leadership of your school is outstanding. To make your school even better,
    we have asked your headteacher to make sure that the teaching assistants,
    particularly when they are new to your class and do not know you very well,
    always help you to do your very best work.
    Yours sincerely
    Jeffery Plumb
    Lead inspector
Inspection report: The Phoenix School, 5–6 July 2012 12 of 12

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