Thomas Bewick School
Tyne and Wear
Headteacher: Mrs Audrey Lindley
104 pupils, Mixed
|Unique Reference Number||131988|
|Local Authority||Newcastle Upon Tyne|
|Inspection dates||2–3 December 2009|
|Reporting inspector||Allan Lacey HMI|
|Type of school||Special|
|School category||Community special|
|Age range of pupils||3–19|
|Gender of pupils||Mixed|
|Gender of pupils in the sixth form||Mixed|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||100|
|Of which, number on roll in the sixth form||7|
|Appropriate authority||The governing body|
|Chair||Mr Gustav Macleod|
|Headteacher||Mrs Audrey Lindley|
|Date of previous school inspection||Not previously inspected|
|School address||Linhope Road|
|West Denton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne|
|Tyne and Wear NE5 2LW|
|Telephone number||0191 2296020|
|Fax number||0191 2296021|
|Inspection dates||2–3 December 2009|
|Social care Unique Reference Number|
|Social care inspector||Dennis Bradley|
© Crown copyright 2009
This integrated inspection of the school and the residential provision was carried out by two additional inspectors and an inspector of social care. The inspectors visited 13 lessons and activities in the boarding provision. They held meetings with the chair of governors, staff, and groups of pupils, parents and carers. They observed the school's work, scrutinised documentation and data provided by the school and examined 49 questionnaires returned from parents and carers.
The inspection team reviewed many aspects of the school's work. It looked in detail at the following aspects.
The school is a day and residential school for pupils from three to nineteen years of age. There are currently seven pupils in the residential provision. The school caters for pupils with autism and pervasive developmental disorder. All pupils are either within a process of assessment for or have a statement of special educational needs. One pupil is looked after by the local authority. Pupils attend the school from Newcastle and the surrounding area. They are from a broad range of social and economic backgrounds. Three quarters of the pupils are of White British heritage the remaining pupils are from a diverse range of minority ethnic backgrounds. Around one fifth of pupils are girls.
The School gained Specialist Status in Communication and Interaction in June 2008 and has the Healthy Schools Standard, Inclusion Quality Mark and Activemark award.
Since the last inspection the school has moved to a new site, has had many changes to staff and has admitted an increasing number of pupils.
|Inspection grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory, and 4 is inadequate|
|Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms|
Overall effectiveness: how good is the school?
The school's capacity for sustained improvement
The good leadership has successfully managed recent changes and the school continues to meet the needs of its pupils well. It provides a high standard of care, guidance and support for every pupil. Behaviour is excellent and the school has forged very effective links with parents.
Outcomes for pupils are good overall with some that are outstanding. They make good and sometimes outstanding progress, especially in the area of communication. Although teaching is good, there is some variability between classes. As a result, a few pupils are not always fully challenged in their learning. Pupils enjoy coming to school and one pupil said, 'I love this school because it is good for me!' The school has close and effective links with external agencies and partners to ensure health, well-being and good prospects for pupils.
Excellent care, guidance and support are central to the school's provision. The school rightly prides itself on how well it understands and appreciates the challenges its pupils face. Central to the school's work is a thorough understanding of autism and pervasive development disorder. The curriculum, which has been recently redesigned, is good. However, it is not fully embedded and the impact on learning is not consistently evident throughout the school. The school has a sound understanding of its own context; however, its planning to promote community cohesion is only at an early stage of development. It has yet to analyse its existing provision and develop its plans fully to strengthen its community involvement locally and further afield.
The leadership team is clearly focused on achieving the best for every pupil in the school. The headteacher has ensured that each member of the team has an important role to develop learning and care. The leadership team carries out extensive monitoring activities. However, their findings are not always evaluated sufficiently rigorously to determine the impact of the initiatives and developments on the outcomes for pupils. The school has maintained consistently good improvement in a time of significant change since the previous inspection. For example, there has been a trend of improving pupil attainment across the school. Therefore, the school has a good capacity for further sustained improvement.
Outcomes for individuals and groups of pupils
Although pupils' special educational needs and/or disabilities mean that they are unable to reach the levels of attainment reached by pupils of a similar age nationally, they do make good and sometimes outstanding progress. The good quality of the teaching, and outstanding care and support that pupils receive enable them to learn well in lessons. They are attentive and keen to learn, and take part readily in activities. Behaviour is outstanding throughout the school. The rare incidents of challenging behaviour that may interrupt learning are managed very effectively through the school's thoughtful and effective approach. Consequently, any disruption is minimal.
This rate of progress is similar for all learners and across all areas of the curriculum. However, on a few occasions, teaching does not fully challenge pupils of lower ability. Consequently, these pupils do not always make as much progress as they are capable of. Children get off to a good start in the Early Years Foundation Stage and they make good progress. Students in the sixth form make outstanding progress. Parents are understandably very pleased with how well their children achieve, with one parent commenting, 'this school has allowed my child to achieve something – something more than just a piece of paper, but skills that allow him to enjoy his life.'
Pupils meet challenging targets in their individual education plans. They do particularly well in developing communication skills. Older pupils develop valuable skills that prepare them for future life, particularly as a result of improvements that have been made to their curriculum. The older pupils are able to develop their work, life and enterprise skills in the school's café. They achieve very well in nationally recognised awards and all are equipped well for leaving school and taking the next steps in their lives. Boys and girls do as well as each other and looked after children also achieve as well as others of their age.
Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. Pupils show the values of caring and friendship. For example, older students are aware of the effects of their own behaviour on others within the sixth form. Throughout their time at school, pupils demonstrate their enjoyment through their enthusiasm and in working together well. A wide range of visits and visitors to school contribute to pupils' good cultural development. Pupils gain valuable knowledge and skills to help them stay safe. These include road safety when on their trips into the community and the wider aspects of personal safety through the good personal, social and health education programme. Parents strongly agree that their children feel happy and safe at school.
As far as is possible, pupils make informed choices about how to be healthy at school. As one pupil said, 'I know it's not good to eat too many sweet things, like cakes, but you don't have to stop eating them all together, just not too many'. Pupils make a good and developing contribution to the local community. The school council effectively represents the views of older pupils and influences school development. The school has put in place effective strategies to improve attendance.
These are the grades for pupils' outcomes
|Pupils' achievement and the extent to which they enjoy their learning|
Taking into account:
The quality of pupils' learning and their progress
The quality of learning for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities and their progress
|The extent to which pupils feel safe||1|
|The extent to which pupils adopt healthy lifestyles||2|
|The extent to which pupils contribute to the school and wider community||2|
|The extent to which pupils develop workplace and other skills that will contribute to their future economic well-being|
Taking into account:
|The extent of pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development||2|
1 The grades for attainment and attendance are: 1 is high; 2 is above average; 3 is broadly average;
and 4 is low
* In some special schools inspectors do not make a judgement about attainment in relation to expectations of the pupils' age.
In most lessons, teachers and their assistants motivate pupils exceptionally well by identifying and praising their achievements. Pupils' attention to what they are doing is excellent; they try exceptionally hard to do as well as they can. On occasions, teaching is less effective because, assessment has not been used well enough to ensure that teaching meets the different needs of the pupils. As a result, the expectations of pupils in a few lessons are not as high as they could be. In the most effective lessons, teaching assistants provide valuable support to pupils. However, on occasions their skills are not fully utilised to support learning. Relationships between pupils and staff are excellent and they help one another where they can.
The curriculum is varied and exciting. There is an appropriate emphasis on the basic skills that pupils need in literacy, numeracy, and information and communication technology. The school has notable expertise in the creative arts and this is broadening pupils' achievement and enjoyment of school. Every opportunity is taken to take pupils out into the community for learning and to bring the community into school. For those pupils who board, in particular, the extra-curricular activities and topics followed in the evenings support the school's curriculum well. For day pupils there are many opportunities to engage in sporting and therapeutic activities.
Risk assessments are rigorous. Planning for the move of pupils from the one class to the next is good. Similarly, the transition from school to college and other placements is extremely well considered and planned for. The school has been proactive in ensuring that pupils gain access to an excellent range of therapeutic provision. As a result, they are enabled to benefit fully from their education.
These are the grades for the quality of provision
|The quality of teaching|
Taking into account:
The use of assessment to support learning
|The extent to which the curriculum meets pupils' needs, including, where relevant, through partnerships||2|
|The effectiveness of care, guidance and support||1|
There is a clear focus on raising pupils' achievement. The headteacher has instilled passion and commitment in the staff team. This is evident in their pupils' enjoyment in coming to school and in the outstandingly positive esteem in which the school is held by parents. The strong vision for school improvement is shared by senior staff. Staff who are new to the school, with little or no experience of teaching pupils with autism are making a good contribution to the quality of the provision because of the effective leadership and management.
The school's self-evaluation is generally accurate. Nevertheless, the school does not analyse its performance as well as it might, using available data to identify impact on the outcomes in all of the key areas. Subject leadership is developing but does not involve comprehensive monitoring and evaluation of subjects. The governing body includes a good range of expertise and fulfils its duties well in holding the school to account.
The promotion of equality of opportunity is at the heart of the school's work. Every effort is made to ensure that all pupils are able to succeed, regardless of their particular needs. Systems to track pupils' progress are effective. The school moderates pupils' assessments to ensure they are accurate; however, the use of local and national data in its comparison with other pupils of similar levels of special educational needs and/or learning disabilities is limited.
Although the school is a very harmonious community, its duties to promote community cohesion are at an early stage of development. Its provision to develop pupils' awareness of community is satisfactory, but it has not formalised its approach by assessing what it already does and establishing definitive plans for improvement. Procedures for safeguarding pupils are good because the school is rigorous in checking the risks attached to all activities and in vetting the suitability of adults to work with children. These procedures meet the necessary statutory requirements.
These are the grades for leadership and management
|The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambition and driving improvement|
Taking into account:
The leadership and management of teaching and learning
|The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and supporting the|
school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities met
|The effectiveness of the school's engagement with parents and carers||1|
|The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being||1|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles discrimination||1|
|The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures||2|
|The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion||3|
|The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money||2|
The good quality of this part of the school is the result of good leadership, management and teamwork. Staff work extremely hard and successfully, in making this first stage of the school such a good start for the children.
Progress in learning for the youngest children is good. Achievement in children's communication, and personal, social and emotional development is outstanding. Staff find the most effective ways for children to make their needs known and to develop communication skills. Confidence quickly grows when children join the nursery and, as a result, their ability to make choices and to learn independently flourishes. Children join in the wide range of activities really well and want to learn. The staff have considered the range of potential barriers to learning that autism may cause and have skilfully modified the provision to minimise these. For example, moving children from one learning area to another to allow them to focus and maintain attention. Links with mainstream school are effective in providing children with opportunities to learn and play alongside other children in other schools.
These are the grades for the Early Years Foundation Stage
|Overall effectiveness of the Early Years Foundation Stage|
Taking into account:
Outcomes for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage
The quality of provision in the Early Years Foundation Stage
The effectiveness of leadership and management of the Early Years Foundation
The excellent work in promoting pupils' confidence and independence in Key Stages 3 and 4 is continued in the sixth form. Pupils have a distinct sense of being in the sixth form as opposed to the rest of school. As one student said, 'It is different up here, you are like a grown up.' Students achieve well in all subjects within the sixth form and are encouraged to use the skills and knowledge they have gained in real-life situations. Pupils develop a strong sense of their rights and responsibilities.
The leadership of the sixth form is outstanding. The curriculum is based on a very thorough understanding of students' interests and on what will be most valuable in the next stage of their lives when they leave school. There is a strong emphasis on further improving literacy and numeracy and in developing work-related skills.
The good personal development programme addresses important issues of self-awareness and personal safety. Students in the sixth form learn a wide range of skills and knowledge that prepare them exceptionally well for when they leave school. They grow in maturity as they progress and take on increasing responsibility. Exceptionally high expectations challenge pupils to do more and, in so doing, they achieve more.
These are the grades for the sixth form
|Overall effectiveness of the sixth form|
Taking into account:
Outcomes for students in the sixth form
The quality of provision in the sixth form
Leadership and management of the sixth form
The quality of the boarding provision is good and has some outstanding features.
The school is good at monitoring and promoting the health of the pupils and they are encouraged to have healthy lifestyles. Pupils have appropriate opportunities to gain experience in food shopping and the preparation and cooking of meals. Staff are very good at providing support at mealtimes for pupils who need it. There are good arrangements for storing and monitoring the pupils' medication but some staff do not have up-to-date training in administering first aid.
Teaching and care staff are good at taking action to safeguard pupils and to make sure the school provides a safe and consistent setting for them. For example, staff create an atmosphere where bullying is known to be unacceptable and they are good at supporting pupils to develop appropriate behaviour. However, although pupils' privacy is promoted, there is no written guidance for staff on when it may be necessary to search a young person's possessions. The school has procedures and guidance on how to complain but no single procedure contains all the recommended information. The school makes sure that equipment, such as the fire alarm, is kept in good working order and that staff receive regular fire training to safeguard pupils and staff from the risk of fire. There are appropriate procedures covering the recruitment and selection of staff to make sure the school only employs suitable people.
The care staff are exceptionally good at supporting and promoting the education and achievement of the pupils. The excellent links between school and residential staff help make sure pupils' complex care needs and progress are communicated effectively and addressed appropriately. Pupils' plans of care are linked to pupils' educational plans and, where appropriate, include specific educational targets that can be addressed on the residential unit. Staffing levels provide very good opportunities for staff to give pupils support and assistance to meet their individual needs and wishes.
The school excels at consulting pupils and their families. Pupils are actively encouraged and supported to develop skills in daily living and to have their say about their day-to-day lives on the residential unit and how the school is run. There are excellent arrangements in place for admitting pupils to the school and for assessing their needs and planning how these will be met. There are also good plans of care for pupils who stay in the residential unit. This is important in ensuring that they receive the care and support that they require.
Pupils and their families have access to appropriate information about the school and the residential unit. The promotion of equality and diversity is good. Staffing levels ensure sufficient staff are on duty to meet the individual needs of the pupils. Staff receive appropriate support in safeguarding and promoting pupils' welfare. There are very good arrangements for monitoring the school and the welfare of pupils. Senior staff carry out regular checks of the school's records and a representative of the governing body carries out regular unannounced monitoring visits.
These are the grades for the boarding provision
|The effectiveness of the boarding provision||2|
Parents are highly supportive of the school and many commented on how well staff know their children and adapt learning to meet the individual needs of all pupils. Many refer to the creative and inventive ways in which teachers plan learning to make it meaningful for the pupils. Parents recognise the high level of staff commitment in supporting children to generalise social and communication skills to the home environment and very much value this. Regular and helpful information sharing as well as personal contact are strong features of why parents feel engaged and supported by the school.
Ofsted invited all the registered parents and carers of pupils registered at Thomas Bewick School to complete a questionnaire about their views of the school.
In the questionnaire, parents and carers were asked to record how strongly they agreed with 13 statements about the school.
The inspection team received 46 completed questionnaires by the end of the on-site inspection. In total, there are 100 pupils registered at the school.
|My child enjoys school||34||74||11||24||0||0||1||2|
|The school keeps my child safe||36||78||9||20||0||0||1||2|
|My school informs me about my child's progress||29||63||15||33||1||2||1||2|
|My child is making enough progress at this school||25||54||18||39||2||4||1||2|
|The teaching is good at this school||30||65||14||30||1||2||1||2|
|The school helps me to support my child's learning||27||59||16||35||2||4||1||2|
|The school helps my child to have a healthy lifestyle||27||59||16||35||2||4||1||2|
|The school makes sure that my child is well prepared for the future (for example changing year group, changing school, and for children who are finishing school, entering further or higher education, or entering employment)||23||50||19||41||2||4||1||2|
|The school meets my child's particular needs||32||70||12||26||1||2||1||2|
|The school deals effectively with unacceptable behaviour||26||57||15||33||0||0||2||4|
|The school takes account of my suggestions and concerns||29||63||11||24||2||4||1||2|
|The school is led and managed effectively||33||72||11||24||1||2||1||2|
|Overall, I am happy with my child's experience at this school||34||74||11||24||0||0||1||2|
The table above summarises the responses that parents and carers made to each statement. The percentages indicate the proportion of parents and carers giving that response out of the total number of completed questionnaires. Where one or more parents and carers chose not to answer a particular question, the percentages will not add up to 100%.
|Grade 1||Outstanding||These features are highly effective. An oustanding 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 improves.|
|Overall effectiveness judgement (percentage of schools)|
|Type of school||Outstanding||Good||Satisfactory||Inadequate|
|Pupil referral |
the progress and success of a pupil in their learning, development or training.
the standard of the pupils' work shown by test and examination results and in lessons.
|Capacity to improve:|
the proven ability of the school to continue improving. Inspectors base this judgement on 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 headteacher, to identifying priorities, directing and motivating staff and running the school.
how well pupils acquire knowledge, develop their understanding, learn and practise skills and are developing their competence as learners.
inspectors form a judgement on a school's overall effectiveness based on the findings from their inspection of the school. The following judgements, in particular, influence what the overall effectiveness judgement will be.
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.
5 December 2009
Inspection of Thomas Bewick School, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE5 2LW
You may remember I visited your school recently with a team of inspectors. I am writing to you to tell you how we think your school is doing. First, I would like to say thank you to all of you and the staff, on behalf of the inspection team, for making our two days at Thomas Bewick School so memorable and for making us feel so welcome.
We think your school is a good school that does some things exceptionally well. You can be proud of your school, as we know you are. Your parents and carers can be pleased you go to a school where you learn well and where you are looked after with exceptional care. We saw some good teaching and saw that, with support, you made good progress from when you began at school. We thought you were developing very well to become fine pupils who are confident and becoming independent. Your behaviour in school is excellent, well done! The work you do is interesting and you have many opportunities to learn outside of school. The residential part of the school, where some of you stay, is also good.
We think there were a few things the school could do better. Everyone should continue to work hard to make the teaching at your school even better in all lessons. Mrs Lindley and the other adults who run your school need to check carefully how well you are doing compared to pupils in other schools like yours and plan for the future so you will gain even more from coming to school. You can help by always working as hard as you possibly can.
Thank you for being so welcoming and I will always have pleasant memories of my time with you. I hope you have a good Christmas.
|Any complaints about the inspection or the report should be made following the procedures set out in the guidance 'Complaining about inspections', which is available from Ofsted's website: ofsted.gov.uk. If you would like Ofsted to send you a copy of the guidance, please telephone 08456 404045, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.|