Headed by Mrs Rebecca Edwards
School holidays for Three Bridges via Cornwall council
10 pupils capacity: 70% full
5 boys 71%
Last updated: June 20, 2014
— Other Independent Special School
- Establishment type
- Other Independent Special School
- Establishment #
- Open date
- Aug. 9, 2005
- Reason open
- New Provision
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 174366, Northing: 46680
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 50.277, Longitude: -5.1681
- Accepting pupils
- 11—19 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Region › Const. › Ward
- South West › Camborne and Redruth › St Agnes
- Village - less sparse
- SEN priorities
- ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder
- Special classes
- Has Special Classes
- Sixth form
- Has a sixth form
- Learning provider ref #
- 0.7 miles Blackwater Community Primary School TR48ES (102 pupils)
- 1.6 mile Chacewater Community Primary School TR48PZ (138 pupils)
- 1.7 mile Mount Hawke Community Primary School TR48BA
- 1.7 mile Mount Hawke Academy TR48BA (243 pupils)
- 2.2 miles Oak Tree School TR49NH
- 2.7 miles Mithian School TR50XW (102 pupils)
- 2.7 miles Threemilestone School TR36DH (379 pupils)
- 2.8 miles Trescol Vean School TR36EG
- 2.9 miles St Day and Carharrack Community School TR165LG (136 pupils)
- 2.9 miles St Agnes School TR50LZ (206 pupils)
- 3.1 miles Treleigh Community Primary School TR164AY (209 pupils)
- 3.1 miles Richard Lander School TR36LT (1281 pupils)
- 3.1 miles Treleigh House School TR164AY
- 3.1 miles Truro and Penwith College TR13XX
- 3.5 miles Cornwall Hospital Education Service TR13LJ
- 3.6 miles Gweal-An-Top Infant and Nursery School TR152ER
- 3.7 miles Truro School Preparatory School TR13QN (257 pupils)
- 3.7 miles Highfields Private School TR151SY
- 3.7 miles Pennoweth Primary School TR151NA (298 pupils)
- 3.8 miles Cardrew Junior School TR151LU
- 3.8 miles Curnow School TR151LU (93 pupils)
- 3.9 miles Cusgarne Community Primary School TR48RW (78 pupils)
- 4 miles Shortlanesend Community Primary School TR49DA (109 pupils)
- 4.2 miles Trewirgie Junior School TR152QN
East Hill, Blackwater, Truro, Cornwall, TR4 8EG
|Inspection dates||14–16 May 2013|
|Pupils’ behaviour and personal development||Good||2|
|Quality of teaching||Adequate||3|
|Quality of curriculum||Adequate||3|
|Pupils’ welfare, health and safety||Adequate||3|
|Leadership and management||Adequate||3|
Summary of key findings
This school is adequate because
The school has the following strengths
Compliance with regulatory requirements
| There is not enough good and outstanding |
Staff do not always use their knowledge of
There is good use of assessment to judge
teaching in the school which prevents
students from making good academic progress
and achieving well, especially in English and
students’ different levels of academic
achievement to plan lessons that challenge
them to do their best and make good or better
students’ progress in social skills and to help
students make good progress in these skills.
Assessment is used much less frequently to
judge students’ academic progress.
| Students with more complex special |
New leaders and managers have developed
Senior leaders are beginning to monitor the
educational needs are helped to develop their
communication skills with advice and support
from professionals. However, the current
support from speech and language therapists
is not sufficient to help students quickly
develop their articulation of letters and
clear and appropriate plans to improve the
school and some have been introduced. They
have not yet been fully developed to raise
quality of teaching more closely. This has led
to training and improvements for some staff in
the quality of their teaching.
| Students behave well and enjoy school. They |
feel safe because staff care for them and
praise them when they have concentrated and
| Students make good progress in developing |
their spiritual, moral, social and cultural skills
- The school requires improvement and must take action to meet 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 requirements. The details are listed in the full report.
Information about this inspection
The inspection was carried out with a day’s notice.
The inspector observed five lessons taught by four different members of staff, looked at
students’ work, records of progress and a range of documentation, including policies, risk
assessments, planning and staff training records.
Meetings took place with the headteacher, staff, students, the proprietor’s head of operations
and the chief executive officer.
The inspector took account of the views expressed by three staff in questionnaires returned
during the inspection. There were not enough responses on Parent View to be regarded as a
|Mark Lindfield, Lead inspector||Her Majesty’s Inspector|
Information about this school
Three Bridges is a small special school in Truro which is registered to provide education for boys
and girls aged 11–19 years diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum.
The school, which opened in 2005, is managed by the Devon and Cornwall Autistic Community
Trust. In the last two years, a new headteacher and class teacher have been appointed and two
class teachers and the previous headteacher have left.
It is registered to take up to 10 students. Currently there are four on roll in the school. One
student attends part-time and is educated part-time in alternative provision. All students have a
statement of special educational needs.
The school aims to develop the confidence and self-esteem of each student in an environment
and atmosphere that ensures students are safe and happy. The school was last inspected in
March 2010, when all of the regulations were met and the quality of education was judged to be
What does the school need to do to improve further?
Improve the quality of teaching and learning in English, mathematics and other subjects by
– lessons are planned with clear and specific learning intentions, especially for more-able
– assessments by staff and students focus closely on students’ achievement
– the frequency of speech and language advice for students with more complex
communication difficulties is increased.
Improve leadership and management by:
– developing the use of pupil tracking information to more closely monitor students’ academic
progress in different subjects but especially English and mathematics
– using appraisal effectively to identify and provide training for all staff to further develop their
skills and expertise.
The school must meet the following independent school standards:
– Ensure that school’s complaints procedures include provision for the establishment of a
hearing before a panel appointed by the proprietor of at least three people who have not
been directly involved in the matters detailed in the complaint (paragraph 25 (f))
– Ensure one person on the panel is independent of the management and running of the
school (paragraph 25 (g)).
Students’ achievement is adequate. They arrive at the school with variable levels of skills,
knowledge and understanding across different subjects and within a subject. Achievement is not
yet good because students are not sufficiently challenged to make good progress and staff miss
opportunities to develop students’ reading, writing and mathematical skills across the full range of
subjects. As a result, students’ overall progress in English and mathematics is adequate and not
In mathematics, students are able to multiply and divide two- and three-digit numbers confidently.
They use calculators to solve two-step mathematical problems, but there are few more complex
questions to challenge the more-able students and help them to make more rapid progress. Few
students are confident in reading aloud to an adult. Their development of reading skills is
encouraged by regular access to a comfortable and well-lit library area and by purchasing books of
their choice for the school library. However, opportunities are missed to encourage students to
read and write more frequently and apply their skills in other subjects and activities.
Students make better progress in developing their speaking and listening skills because they are
often provided with opportunities to develop these skills. Careful assessments are used well to plan
activities that are closely matched to their individual abilities. All staff use these assessments well
and follow the same strategies, using questions and discussions to build students’ communication
Students who are on part-time placements are making progress similar to that of their peers.
Students visited in these other settings are supported appropriately so that they are able to make
an informed choice and were seen deriving evident enjoyment from music and singing. These
activities help to develop their communication skills well, although their progress in developing
specific sounds and letters is variable.
Almost all students have failed to thrive in their previous schools and begin to develop more
positive attitudes to learning during their time at Three Bridges. Through the school’s more positive
approach, students are able to concentrate for longer periods, especially during practical activities.
Students recently completed Award Scheme Development and Accreditation Network (ASDAN) in
art and photography and were commended for the quality of their artwork, detailed model-making
and their wide choice of subject matter.
|Pupils’ behaviour and personal development||Good|
Students’ behaviour and personal development is good. They work cooperatively throughout the
day, with good humour and laughter a common feature. Many students have had low levels of
attendance and participation at previous schools. The caring, friendly and understanding approach
shown by staff results in students wanting to come to school. As a result, students’ attendance is
much improved and they display improved levels of behaviour, concentration and attention during
The quality and effectiveness of the school’s provision for students’ spiritual, moral, social and
cultural development are good. There are regular opportunities for reflection at the start, during,
and at the end of the school day. The frequent outdoor education sessions where students
regularly participate in adventurous activities challenge and excite students and help to build their
confidence and self-esteem.
An appropriate citizenship programme promotes knowledge of public institutions and services.
Students gain an increased awareness of different religions and cultural traditions through themed
events and activities which are presented in a balanced way so that both sides of an issue are
understood. Staff take every opportunity to give positive feedback and praise to help increase
students’ ability to work by themselves and raise their self-esteem and confidence. In addition,
staff carefully record students’ comments and evaluate the difference that each trip or activity has
made to students’ personal development.
The quality of teaching is adequate overall. Teachers’ assessments of students’ achievement and
progress are not always used effectively to plan lessons with clear and specific aims that challenge
all students to do their best work. In too many lessons, teachers’ plans describe the activity that
will happen but not the precise learning that will result. For example, in mathematics, students of
varying abilities are sometimes provided with similar activities with no different task set for the
more-able students to help them make good progress.
Detailed initial assessments are completed on students’ social, sensory, emotional, behaviour and
communication skills. These initial assessments are used well to provide specific guidance for staff
and plan activities well matched to students’ social and personal needs. However, there is more
|Quality of teaching||Adequate|
limited recording of students’ academic levels on entry to the school, which is a key reason why
academic work is not so well matched to students’ academic needs. Senior leaders are developing
their systems to more closely monitor students’ progress, raise teachers’ expectations and more
quickly identify any lapses in progress.
Teaching assistants know individual students well and give regular support and encouragement to
help them attempt work. They provide regular evaluations after lessons which provide clear details
of social and emotional development but these do not always provide helpful information on
students’ academic progress.
All staff manage students’ behaviour with consideration for their well-being so that the atmosphere
in lessons is generally calm and learning proceeds with few interruptions. Teachers provide
practical activities that capture students’ interest well. For example, students enjoy opportunities to
participate in practical science activities and design and technology topics. They carefully research
a range of different types of hats, produce an initial design sketch and then construct large black
top hats with care and attention to detail. Overall, teaching in subjects such as design and
technology and art, and the teaching of the ASDAN, ensure students are adequately prepared for
their next stage of education, training or employment.
The quality of the curriculum is adequate. The school meets the needs of students as set out in
their statements of special educational needs. Students are taught individually or in small groups
which enables them to receive considerable support. The timetable is organised well, with lessons
typically of an hour, which helps students to maintain concentration. Students also start and end
the day with a relaxed and friendly session which allows for the day’s timetable to be shared with
students. Individual education plans are based on careful assessments of students’ social skills and
these are used well to set and revise targets that help students to make good personal
development. Academic targets within the education plans are revised less frequently. This is a
The curriculum for students in Key Stage 3 and 4 covers a broad range of National Curriculum
subjects. It is adequate rather than good because chances are missed to develop students’ reading
and writing skills in subjects across the school. Personal, social and health education is effectively
taught using a range of approaches. The school provides a number of well-resourced subject
areas. A well-equipped kitchen area for students is clearly labelled so that students are encouraged
to independently select different materials and resources. The school contains specific areas, a
library, sensory room and a combined design and technology and art room as well as an extensive
garden that develops students’ interests and enjoyment.
Students with more complex speech and language difficulties are encouraged to develop their
communication skills through organised and planned lessons that build on their skills. Staff receive
advice from speech and language therapists that helps students to make progress in naming,
describing objects and expressing their choice of alternatives. However, the current level of
professional advice and support is not frequent enough to help students quickly develop their
articulation of letters and sounds. Those students who are above compulsory school age receive a
curriculum that is appropriately matched to their needs.
Provision for students’ welfare, health and safety is adequate and all the regulations are met. All
of the required policies are in place, including those for child protection. Policies and procedures to
promote good behaviour and prevent bullying are reviewed regularly, understood and applied
effectively and thoughtfully by all staff. The behaviour policy contains an appropriate focus on
|Quality of curriculum||Adequate|
|Pupils’ welfare, health and safety||Adequate|
praising the positive aspects of students’ behaviour and on involving them in assessing their
progress. There are clear procedures around the reporting and sharing of incidents and any
incidents are checked regularly by senior managers. All the required checks on the suitability of the
proprietor and staff have been completed. All checks are recorded appropriately in a single central
record. Personnel files show that recording of recruitment checks is completed and they meet
regulations. They are adequate rather than good because the lines of responsibility between the
company’s human resource department and senior leaders for ensuring that company recruitment
procedures are adhered to are unclear.
The proprietor’s induction package ensures new staff are made aware of the school’s procedures to
keep students safe. Staff have been suitably trained in first aid, fire safety and food hygiene, and
in safeguarding and child protection at the required level. Risk assessments for all aspects of the
school’s life and for trips away from the main site are in place. Fire drills are held regularly and fire-
fighting equipment and alarms are checked as required by staff and a specialist company so that
the procedures to maintain fire safety are adequate overall. Risk assessments for activities and off-
site visits, combined with a good level of staffing, adequately maintain the safety of students.
Leadership and management are adequate. Accurate and honest self-evaluation has provided the
school with clear priorities to improve and develop. The new headteacher has a realistic view of
the school’s strengths and has clear plans in place to develop the school further. Although it is too
soon to have made a substantial difference to some key areas of the school’s performance, she
|Leadership and management||Adequate|
has acted in a relatively short period of time to address weaknesses and improve the school’s
work. Senior leaders have improved the school’s promotion of spiritual, moral, social and cultural
curriculum through staff training and reviewing the policy.
Staff enjoy working at the school and, through a close and supportive team approach, they provide
a calm and friendly environment which helps students to develop well. The headteacher has
instigated a more active leadership and monitoring of the school’s work this year. Monitoring of
planning and teaching is now used to inform supervision meetings and is beginning to identify
professional development and training for staff to further develop their skills and subject
knowledge. For example, staff have recently received appropriate training in behaviour
management, which is often organised by the proprietor. The school is developing systems to
monitor and track the academic progress made by students from the time they arrive so that staff
can identify where students’ achievement is not yet good and targets can be set that raise
teachers’ and students’ expectations, especially in reading, writing and mathematical skills.
The school makes available for parents and carers all the required information through written
documentation. Termly and annual reports and regular telephone calls keep parents and carers
and local authorities well informed about students’ achievements and behaviour. The school’s
complaints policy is available to parents and carers on request but does not specify that the panel
to review complaints should comprise of three people, one of whom is independent of the
management and leadership of the school. The accommodation is of good quality and meets
requirements. Some areas of the school’s premises and grounds are in the process of a planned
programme of repairs and maintenance but staff are careful to ensure these do not compromise
students’ health and safety.
The proprietor and headteacher have ensured that almost all the regulations have been met.
What inspection judgements mean
|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 |
|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/or the |
quality of education has serious weaknesses.
|Unique reference number||129252|
|DfE registration number||908/6095|
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||Day school for students diagnosed on the autistic |
|School status||Independent school|
|Age range of pupils||11–18 years|
|Gender of pupils||Boys|
|Number of pupils on the school roll||4|
|Number of part time pupils||1|
|Date of previous school inspection||3–4 March 2010|
|Annual fees (day pupils)||£14,280 – £24,914|
|Telephone number||01872 561010|
|Fax number||01326 371099|
|Email address||3 reveal email address|
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