Torfield School Closed - academy converter Sept. 30, 2014
phone: 01424 *** ***
executive headteacher: Mr Richard Preece Ma Ed
65 boys 80%
15 girls 19%
Last updated: Oct. 1, 2014
— Community Special School
- Establishment type
- Community Special School
- Establishment #
- Close date
- Sept. 30, 2014
- Reason closed
- Academy Converter
- OSGB coordinates
- Easting: 582624, Northing: 110160
- GPS coordinates
- Latitude: 50.862, Longitude: 0.59366
- Accepting pupils
- 3—11 years old
- Census date
- Jan. 16, 2014
- Ofsted last inspection
- Dec. 12, 2013
- Region › Const. › Ward
- South East › Hastings and Rye › Tressell
- Urban > 10k - less sparse
- SEN priorities
- MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty~SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty~ASD - Autistic Spectrum Disorder~SLCN - Speech, language and Communication
- Special classes
- Has Special Classes
- Free school meals %
- Learning provider ref #
- Torfield School TN343JT (81 pupils)
- 0.1 miles Castledown Primary School TN343QT (426 pupils)
- 0.2 miles Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Hastings TN355NA (222 pupils)
- 0.3 miles Dudley Infant School TN355NJ
- 0.3 miles Dudley Infant Academy TN355NJ (176 pupils)
- 0.5 miles All Saints CofE Junior School TN355JU (228 pupils)
- 0.5 miles Elphinstone Community School TN343TH
- 0.5 miles The Baird Primary Academy TN343TH (349 pupils)
- 0.6 miles Elphinstone Junior School TN342DE
- 0.6 miles Elphinstone Infants' School TN342DE
- 0.8 miles Sussex Coast College Hastings TN341BA
- 0.9 miles Blacklands Primary School TN342HU (521 pupils)
- 0.9 miles ARK Blacklands Primary Academy TN342HU
- 1.1 mile Sandown Primary School TN342AA (407 pupils)
- 1.2 mile Oakridge School TN354PL
- 1.2 mile Ore Village Primary Academy TN355DB (328 pupils)
- 1.3 mile Red Lake Community Primary School TN355DB
- 1.3 mile St Paul's Church of England Primary School TN376RT (623 pupils)
- 1.3 mile St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School TN376EU (228 pupils)
- 1.5 mile Hillcrest School TN355DN
- 1.5 mile William Parker Sports College TN342NT
- 1.5 mile Stablecare TN376JW
- 1.5 mile ARK William Parker Academy TN342NT (1041 pupils)
- 1.6 mile George Rainey School TN376AS
Croft Road, Hastings, TN34 3JT
Inspection dates 12–13 December 2013
Previous inspection: Satisfactory 3
This inspection: Good 2
Achievement of pupils Good 2
Quality of teaching Good 2
Behaviour and safety of pupils Good 2
Leadership and management Good 2
Summary of key findings for parents and pupils
This is a good school.
- All pupils achieve well and make good or
outstanding progress. By the time they are
ready to leave the school, they are well
prepared for the next stage of their
- Good teaching is typically found at this school
and there is a small amount which is
outstanding. Teachers, including those who
work in the Early Years Foundation Stage,
have high expectations that all pupils will
work hard. They plan lessons which keep
pupils busy and learning well.
- Pupils' behaviour in class is good. They are
very positive and keen to learn. This good
behaviour is also to be seen in the
playground and in the dining hall at
- School leaders, including governors, regularly
monitor the work of the school. As a result,
they have good information about its strengths
and those areas which need to be improved.
- The recently improved curriculum provides
every pupil with the very best chance to take
part in stimulating learning activities in
classrooms and in the wider community.
- Governors and school leaders ensure that all of
the school’s resources are used so as to
provide everyone with an equal opportunity to
It is not yet an outstanding school because:
- School leaders do not fully exploit the latest
available technology, including the school’s
virtual learning platform, by encouraging
pupils to follow up on their daily learning
when at home.
- When marking their work, teachers do not
always provide pupils with clear advice on how
to do their very best in every lesson.
Inspection report: Torfield School, 12–13 December 2013 2 of9
Information about this inspection
- Inspectors observed nine lessons during their visit to the school, taught by eight different
teachers. In one of these lessons, two teachers shared the teaching. In two lessons, inspectors
were joined by a member of the school’s leadership team. This amounted to over three hours
spent in classrooms.
- The views of the 21 parents and carers who took the opportunity to complete the online Parent
View survey were taken into account. The school’s leadership team decided against distributing
the inspection questionnaire to staff, so the views of staff were sought during meetings and
- Inspectors held meetings with members of the governing body, with senior leaders and with
other staff. Telephone conversations were held with a representative of the local authority and
the school’s external adviser.
- Careful scrutiny was carried out of the school’s own documentation. This included information
about how school leaders plan for improvement, how they monitor the quality of teaching,
important policies and minutes of governors’ meetings.
- Inspectors listened to pupils read and observed speech and language development lessons. They
sat with pupils at lunchtime and held meetings with them to gain their views about the school.
Bob Pugh, Lead inspector Additional Inspector
Chris Dowsett Additional Inspector
Inspection report: Torfield School, 12–13 December 2013 3 of9
Information about this school
- The school provides for pupils who live in Hastings and nearby towns and villages. Some pupils
travel long distances to attend. All pupils have a statement of special educational needs.
- Since the previous inspection the school has experienced major changes and is now part of a
hard federation with another special school. The schools are led by one governing body, an
executive headteacher, with a head of s chool in charge of ea ch scho ol.
- Classes for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage are located in a separate building at a
local primary school, approximately one mile away from the main school site.
- Over 50% of pupils are eligible for the pupil premium, which provides additional support for
those in the care of the local authority, those with families in the services or those who are
known to be eligible for free school meals. This is much higher than the national average.
- A growing number of pupils have an autistic spectrum condition. Almost all pupils have English
as their first language at home.
- The school provides a number of after-school clubs. The partner school in the federation offers a
summer holiday school for pupils when they leave at the end of Year 6 to help them prepare for
the move to Year 7.
What does the school need to do to improve further?
- Provide more opportunities for pupils to make even better progress, by extending the use of
online learning, so that pupils and parents and carers have a deeper understanding of how
important key skills worked on in classrooms can be built on at home and in the local
- Raise the standard of teaching so that more is outstanding by ensuring that:
marking and annotation of pupils’ work by teachers are always highly focused on what they
need to do to make even more progress in every lesson.
Inspection report: Torfield School, 12–13 December 2013 4 of9
The achievement of pupils is good
- From their very earliest days, pupils work hard and make good progress. The youngest children
respond positively to what is expected of them because the staff who work with them plan with
great care to meet their individual needs. The good learning habits developed in the Early Years
Foundation Stage prepare the children well for the move into school.
- All pupils in all year groups make good progress. There are no differences among groups. Girls
do as well as boys and those pupils eligible for the pupil premium achieve as well as others.
Pupils do at least as well as those with similar needs at other schools. The numbers who make
more rapid progress in English and mathematics is growing every year. As a result of good
teaching, the gap narrows between pupils here and those in mainstream settings. Nevertheless,
because all have such low starting points on entry, their attainment levels remain below average
when they leave.
- Opportunities to assess their own progress are confidently taken up by pupils. One pupil was
observed to be checking his workbook in English before deciding whether he had achieved his
most recent target. He thoughtfully discussed how much he had learned with his teacher, before
deciding on his own grade.
- Pupils enjoy reading; those who met an inspector to give their views about the school were very
keen to use the opportunity to read from their latest library books or their own workbooks. Some
used their good word building skills to read an unfamiliar word while others were able to alter
the tones in their voices according to which character in the story was speaking.
- Pupils concentrate well in lessons to learn new skills. In a highly effective music lesson, they
learned about rhythm, when to clap or play a note and when to stay silent. They used their good
counting skills to produce the right sounds at the right time, so that by the end of the lesson,
everyone was able to join in and perform to a high standard.
- Pupils make good gains in motor skills as a result of good teaching in physical education.
The quality of teaching is good
- In all classes, including those for the very youngest children, teachers and their assistants
regularly check how much each one has learned by asking highly focused questions. They use
this information to good effect to plan the next learning steps. Where pupils are seen to be
making rapid progress, they challenge them to do even more. For example, in a lively English
lesson, some pupils were encouraged to think about adjectives which could be included in their
stories to make them more exciting. At the same time, other pupils were offered good support to
improve their handwriting.
- Teachers have high expectations that their pupils will work hard and learn well. They plan
lessons and organise their rooms in such a way as to ensure that everyone has the best chance
to do well. Because of this, everyone knows what they are meant to be doing and time is very
rarely wasted. Teachers prepare extremely well for lessons which take place outside the
classroom. In a well-planned swimming lesson for pupils who have an autistic spectrum
condition, the teacher used a symbolised sentence strip from the side of the pool, which pupils
followed closely to prepare for the next activity.
- Marking and annotation of pupils' work are usually good but there are some inconsistencies. On
a few occasions, teachers do not offer pupils clear advice about what they need to do next , and
because there are gaps in the marking of some books, pupils are not always clear about how
well they have done.
- Teaching assistants make a strong contribution to learning, for example, by following up on
therapy programmes with individual children. This has led to the raising of standards in speaking
and listening, with more pupils making good or better progress.
Inspection report: Torfield School, 12–13 December 2013 5 of9
- Teachers encourage their pupils to assess their own work during lessons and to talk to others
about how much they have achieved. As a result, pupils grow in confidence as they move
through the school and gain a good understanding of how successful they are at meeting their
The behaviour and safety of pupils are good
- Pupils behave very well in lessons. They are confident at displaying their skills to others because
they have been encouraged by their teachers to talk about their own work and to listen politely
to their classmates.
- Teachers who work with the very youngest children take time to model good behaviour for them
so that they can stay in the teaching circle and join in with all the activities.
- Because teachers are consistent in their approach to improving behaviour, pupils learn quickly
that they will have to make up the time if they misbehave in a lesson or waste time. As a result,
they are almost always very positive in class. Pupils understand the rewards systems and are
keen to show visitors how many ‘smiley faces’ they have earned. Other pupils talk confidently
about the privileges they enjoy as a result of good work and excellent behaviour.
- Pupils are taught about common hazards when they are out and about in the local community. A
well-planned e-safety week alerted them to some of the dangers which can occur when using
- At lunchtimes and break times, pupils enjoy each other’s company and are kind and considerate.
One pupil who noticed that a friend was struggling to cut something on his plate, quickly and
with great sensitivity offered to help. The atmosphere around the school is calm and orderly,
with staff ready to intervene where necessary but often choosing to stay in the background as
they trust pupils to try very hard to manage their own behaviour.
- Pupils say that they feel very safe at school and they know who to turn to when they feel
worried. They enjoy spending time with their friends at school and they say that they enjoy
making things in technology. They also like games and swimming and the weekly achievement
- Bullying of any kind is very rarely heard of at this school. When it does occur, incidents are
carefully recorded and the victim and perpetrator are given good support.
- Parents and carers are right to be confident that their children are well looked after at school.
The leadership and management are good
- The executive headteacher, head of school and senior leaders, supported by a strong governing
body are the driving force behind the school’s improvement in the last two years. The hard
federation has strengthened the governing body.
- School leaders regularly monitor lessons and meet teachers to discuss their performance. Well-
received professional development opportunities have led to improvements in teaching.
- As a result, they have been able to provide challenge and support in those areas where
improvement was required which has led to the raising of standards of teaching and pupils'
achievements. A very successful drive to boost attendance levels has resulted in pupils'
attendance being above average for special schools.
- School leaders at all levels are ambitious for their pupils and they organise resources to ensure
that each one has the best opportunity to achieve well. An internet based learning programme
has been introduced across the school federation to boost pupils' information and
communication and technology (ICT) skills. This is shared between the two schools and with
pupils' families at home, but not all opportunities for encouraging parents and carers to help
Inspection report: Torfield School, 12–13 December 2013 6 of9
their children to learn more at home have been fully exploited.
- The recently revised curriculum ensures that no pupil misses any elements of the learning and
activities offered. How well each subject is being taught is checked frequently by school leaders
and managers, including members of the governing body.
- Pupils' spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. There are regular opportunities
to join in with musical and drama performances, including with other schools. Pupils are taught
to think about similarities and differences between cultures and lifestyles.
- Sports funding has been used to recruit a specialist teacher to improve physical education
teaching and to broaden the range of after-school clubs which are available.
- Statutory requirements for keeping pupils safe are in place and there is good checking by senior
leaders and governors that their systems are robust and work well.
- The governance of the school:
Governors regularly undertake training to strengthen the impact they have on school
leadership. They have a good understanding of how much is being achieved and how strong
teaching contributes to good progress. They ensure that effective teaching and support are
recognised and properly rewarded through well-organis ed performance managem ent
Governors have acted efficiently to address financial difficulties caused by a reduction in the
number of funded places. They have good information on how the pupil premium has been
used to boost standards and broaden access to learning for those who are eligible and they
have used sports funding money to good effect to improve pupils’ physical skills.
The school's finances are in good order.
Inspection report: Torfield School, 12–13 December 2013 7 of9
What inspection judgements mean
Grade Judgement Description
Grade 1 Outstanding An outstanding school is highly effective in delivering outcomes
that provide exceptionally well for all its pupils’ needs. This ensures
that pupils are very well equipped for the next stage of their
education, training or employment.
Grade 2 Good A good school is effective in delivering outcomes that provide well
for all its pupils’ needs. Pupils are well prepared for the next stage
of their education, training or employment.
Grade 3 Requires
A school that requires improvement is not yet a good school, but it
is not inadequate. This school will receive a full inspection within
24 months from the date of this inspection.
Grade 4 Inadequate A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and
requires significant improvement but leadership and management
are judged to be Grade 3 or better. This school will receive regular
monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
A school that requires special measures is one where the school is
failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and
the school’s leaders, managers or governors ha ve not
demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary
improvement in the school. This school will receive regular
monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.
Inspection report: Torfield School, 12–13 December 2013 8 of9
Unique reference number 114690
Local authority East Sussex
Inspection number 400372
Type of school Special
School category Community special
Age range of pupils 4–11
Gender of pupils Mixed
Number of pupils on the school roll 81
Appropriate authority The governing bo dy
Chair Jenny Smith
Headteacher Richard Preece - Executive headteacher
Natalie Shuttleworth - Head of school
Date of previous school inspection 16–17 September 2009
Telephone number 01424 428228
Fax number 08715 282907