School etc

Watermill School

Watermill School
Turnhurst Road

phone: 01782 883737

headteacher: Mr Jonathon May

school holidays: via Stoke-on-Trent council

158 pupils aged 2—16y mixed gender
140 pupils capacity: 112% full

105 boys 66%


50 girls 32%


Last updated: June 20, 2014

— Community Special School

Establishment type
Community Special School
Establishment #
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 386760, Northing: 352797
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 53.072, Longitude: -2.1991
Accepting pupils
2—19 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
May 8, 2013
Region › Const. › Ward
West Midlands › Stoke-on-Trent North › Great Chell and Packmoor
Urban > 10k - less sparse
SEN priorities
PMLD - Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulty~MLD - Moderate Learning Difficulty~SLD - Severe Learning Difficulty~PD - Physical Disability
Special classes
Has Special Classes
Private Finance Initiative
Part of PFI
Investor in People
Committed IiP Status
Sixth form
Has a sixth form
Free school meals %
Learning provider ref #

rooms to rent in Stoke-On-Trent

Schools nearby

  1. 0.1 miles James Brindley High School ST66JT
  2. 0.1 miles Ormiston Horizon Academy ST66JZ (600 pupils)
  3. 0.2 miles Chell County Primary School ST66JP
  4. 0.3 miles St Margaret Ward Catholic School and Arts College ST66LZ
  5. 0.3 miles St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy ST66LZ (1100 pupils)
  6. 0.6 miles Mill Hill Primary School ST66ED (517 pupils)
  7. 0.6 miles Whitfield Valley Primary School ST66TD (332 pupils)
  8. 0.6 miles Whitfield Valley Primary School ST66TD
  9. 0.6 miles Mill Hill Primary School ST66ED
  10. 0.7 miles St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Goldenhill ST65RN
  11. 0.7 miles St Joseph's Catholic Academy, Goldenhill ST65RN (223 pupils)
  12. 0.8 miles Burnwood Nursery School ST66PB (60 pupils)
  13. 0.8 miles Heathfield Special School ST66PD
  14. 0.9 miles Hollywall Primary School ST65PT
  15. 0.9 miles Burnwood Community Primary School ST67LP (419 pupils)
  16. 0.9 miles St Wilfrid's Catholic Primary School ST66EE
  17. 0.9 miles Summerbank Nursery School ST65EY
  18. 0.9 miles Burnwood Junior School ST67LP
  19. 0.9 miles Burnwood Infant School ST67LP
  20. 0.9 miles Star Academy, Sandyford ST65PT (192 pupils)
  21. 0.9 miles St Wilfrid's Catholic Primary School ST66EE (358 pupils)
  22. 1 mile Packmoor Primary School ST74SP (450 pupils)
  23. 1 mile Summerbank Primary School ST65HA (362 pupils)
  24. 1.1 mile Goldenhill Primary School ST64QE (230 pupils)

List of schools in Stoke-On-Trent

School report

Middlehurst School

Turnhurst Road, Chell, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST6 6NQ

Inspection dates 8–9 May 2013
Overall effectiveness This inspection: Good 2
Previous 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.
It is not yet an outstanding school because

Friendly and harmonious communities provide
Achievement is good. Pupils mostly make
Reading, writing and mathematics are well
Communication skills develop well. Pupils gain
Pupils with the most complex needs have
Behaviour around the school and in most
a warm welcome to both centres of
Middlehurst School.
good progress as a result of the generally
good, sometimes outstanding teaching they
taught and the focus on English last year has
improved results.
confidence to try, which leads to greater
independence. Literacy and numeracy skills
are reinforced well in each lesson.
sensitive support and learn to make their
thoughts and wishes known with increasing
lessons is good. Pupils are well mannered,
polite and respectful to each other and to
Pupils clearly enjoy lessons and say they feel
The curriculum is outstanding. An exceptional
The school is well led and managed. From a
Senior leaders are committed to raising pupils’
The small post-16 provision is good and
Work to support other schools is good and the
Governors challenge effectively and have good

happy and safe in school.
range of activities underpin pupils’ strong social
and personal skills development.
difficult three-year period of substantial change
it stands in a much stronger position to look
more clearly to the future. It is an improving
achievement and embrace innovative practice.
Teaching and learning are managed robustly.
improving. It effectively provides new choice
for those with more complex needs.
‘Inspire’ unit successfully re-engages excluded
pupils in learning.
knowledge of pupils’ needs and their progress.
Not all lessons focus sharply enough on
learning, match individual abilities to lesson
goals or stretch all pupils sufficiently.
Some of the targets to develop the school lack
sufficient precision. The school’s planning for
its extended future is too limited.
Inspection report: Middlehurst School, 8–9 May 2013 2 of 9

Information about this inspection

  • The inspectors observed 26 lessons: 19 of which were at the larger Middlehurst site and seven
    at the smaller Heathfield site. They saw all teachers timetabled to teach on the inspection days
    and one lesson taught by a higher-level teaching assistant.
  • All classes on both sites were seen and one lesson was jointly observed with the Head of Site
    (Heathfield) at Middlehurst.
  • Older students conducted a tour of the Middlehurst Centre and on both sites inspectors met with
    representatives of the school council. Inspectors listened to pupils read and discussed their work
    with them at both centres.
  • Meetings were held with the headteacher, school staff and senior leaders, the school’s family
    liaison worker, the school’s physiotherapist, the school-based therapist from Child and Adult
    Mental Health Services and members of the governing body.
  • A telephone call was made to a representative of the local authority.
  • Informal discussions were also held with pupils and staff.
  • Information from the school’s most recent parental questionnaire was taken into account,
    together with a telephone call from one parent and a letter submitted to the inspectors from
    another. Insufficient responses were available on the on-line questionnaire (Parent View) to be
    able to access them.
  • Staff views were gathered from discussions and from the staff questionnaire.
  • The inspectors looked at information about pupils’ progress, teaching and planning
    documentation. The school’s documents on safeguarding were scrutinised together with records
    of attendance and pupils’ behaviour.

Inspection team

Linda Clare, Lead inspector Additional Inspector
Hilary Ward Additional Inspector
Doreen Davenport Additional Inspector
Inspection report: Middlehurst School, 8–9 May 2013 3 of 9

Full report

Information about this school

  • Since its last inspection, Middlehurst has merged with another all-age special school and
    currently operates across two sites or centres as an interim measure until its new single site
    opens in January 2014.
  • The vast majority of pupils attending the two sites have a statement of special educational
    needs. In addition, a small number of pupils attend ‘Inspire’ on the Middlehurst site, which
    caters for permanently excluded primary age pupils from Stoke, for assessment of their needs.
  • The school provides for pupils with complex and profound learning difficulties, severe and
    moderate learning difficulties, autistic spectrum conditions and behavioural difficulties.
  • The school covers six key stages and caters for pupils between the ages of 3 and 19. Pupils are
    able to join the school at any age but the majority of those not attending Inspire, start at usual
    school entry times.
  • There were no pupils in the very small post-16 group or the small group for those with more
    complex profound and multiple difficulties in school at the time of the inspection as they were
    away on a residential visit to the Lake District.
  • Half of the school’s pupils are eligible for the pupil premium, which is above the national
    average. (The pupil premium is additional funding provided to support pupils known to be
    eligible for free school meals, children looked after by the local authority and the children of
    armed service families.)
  • There are twice as many boys as girls in the school and the majority of pupils are of White
    British heritage.
  • The school provides an outreach service for mainstream schools in the Stoke area and it enables
    a small number of links with mainstream education for its own pupils. Link courses are in place
    for older pupils at Reaseheath College, Stoke College, Newcastle College and occasionally with
    an external training provider.
  • The school has achieved Artsmark, Sportsmark and Healthy Schools status.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Improve teaching and learning further by:
    - ensuring that lesson objectives focus clearly on pupils’ learning and not on what the teacher
    intends to do in the lesson
    - sharing with pupils at the start of lessons what they are each expected to learn and what they
    need to do to make their work better
    - making sure that the work set in every lesson is at the right level of difficulty to challenge
    each and every pupil, as in the best practise already in the school.
  • Extend the period of forward planning for whole-school improvement and ensure that all targets
    are precise and sharply defined, so that the school’s progress can be even more accurately
Inspection report: Middlehurst School, 8–9 May 2013 4 of 9

Inspection judgements

The achievement of pupils is good
  • Pupils enter school with skills that are typically much below those expected of pupils their age
    nationally as a result of their learning and complex needs.
  • In the Early Years Foundation Stage children learn to follow school routines and make good
    gains in acquiring appropriate social and communication skills. They make simple choices and
    enjoy practical experiences, such as cutting fruit into pieces, which are used well to reinforce
    basic vocabulary and develop counting skills. These skills provide them with a secure foundation
    on which to build as they go through school.
  • Those with the most complex needs use picture exchange systems to develop good
    communication skills. Pupils with verbal language and letter blending abilities use structured
    schemes to acquire improved reading, writing and listening skills. Pupils use technology well.
  • Effective systems help pupils achieve greater independence. Photographic sequences capture
    evidence of carefully structured steps for pupils with profound and multiple difficulties. Good use
    of physical therapy including ‘rebound’ work on trampolines, a life-skills focus and significant
    community involvement are central to their good progress.
  • The needs of pupils with autistic spectrum conditions are well addressed in a new provision.
    Pupils make good progress in its secure environment, which provides structure through familiar
    sensory and communication routines that focus well on individual learning.
  • Progress across year groups is equally good and pupils’ work reflects this over time. Older pupils
    achieve a good range of nationally accredited awards and skills-based learning certificates.
    Mindful of ensuring equality, the school also enables some pupils to access GCSE courses on an
    individual basis, although due to generally lower starting abilities, these numbers are decreasing.
  • Work to develop reading, initially for those in receipt of pupil premium funding has been
    extended well. Other activities funded this way focus on confidence and attendance, and overall
    progress in reading, writing and mathematics has improved in response. Staff and parents
  • Pupils have good attitudes to learning and recognise the good support they get from their
    teachers. As one pupil noted, ‘We get lots of reminders about keeping finger spaces.’ when
    doing writing tasks. Pupils try hard, participate well and enjoy lessons. This was seen clearly as
    some pupils practised ball control in a figure of eight around their legs with great concentration.
  • Good levels of support, close attention to checking pupil achievement and increasing levels of
    self-esteem have resulted in very little difference between the progress of girls and boys, those
    from minority ethnic backgrounds, those known to be eligible for free school meals or in receipt
    of pupil premium funding.
  • Extra help for those in need is timely and supports learning efficiently. Social and emotional
    support sessions and the very popular and innovative online learning programme motivate pupils
    particularly well in mathematics, science and French.
The quality of teaching is good
  • Lessons are mostly well planned. They build on what pupils have previously learned and
    reinforce small steps in learning. In some lessons, goals focus less on what pupils are to learn
    and more on what staff are going to do.
  • Lessons generally move at a fast pace and activities in the best lessons are matched well to
    pupils’ abilities. Behaviour in lessons is usually good but suffers where teaching lacks attention to
    precise individual needs and pupils have to wait for others to catch up. This limits progress.
  • Teachers use questioning well to draw out pupils’ ideas and thoughts, and to extend their
    language and learning skills. Praise is used effectively to encourage, enhance learning and build
Inspection report: Middlehurst School, 8–9 May 2013 5 of 9
  • Staff are creative in their approach. This was illustrated exceptionally well in an information
    technology lesson in which every pupil was emailed an individual lesson plan around their own
    interests. The teacher checked individual pace, skills learned and understanding as pupils
    progressed through their tailor-made tasks.
  • Practical learning is used very effectively. In a science lesson, the inspector observed pupils set
    up a fair test to compare the gas content of different brands of cola with much enthusiasm,
    good collaboration and much attention to appropriate social and work skills.
  • Reading, writing and mathematics are taught well across all key stages. Competent use of
    signing by staff supports spoken language effectively and large print formats or voice
    amplification systems help those requiring enhanced visual or hearing help.
  • Teaching support staff are valued. Most share their expertise with groups of pupils, others lead
    full lessons effectively. Exchanging information with teachers about pupils’ contributions in
    lessons provides rounded pictures of group progress.
  • Pupils’ work is checked well. Communication and behaviour are checked each lesson and in
    some classes teachers record observations for greater clarity. Life skills are woven through
    lessons and practised daily.
  • Pupils generally know what lessons are about and use smiley faces to show how well they have
    understood them. They are less clear about how much they have learned, whether it was
    sufficient or what to do to improve it.
  • Pupils are particularly well advised and prepared for their next stage of education through a
    comprehensive programme of visits, practical learning, life skills and work experiences. Effective
    college placements provide wider opportunities to try a range of vocational skills.
The behaviour and safety of pupils are good
  • Behaviour is consistently good around school and contributes well to the calm and purposeful
    atmosphere on both sites. The breakfast club sets a good start to the school day.
  • Pupils are polite, well mannered and are very proud of their school. They take responsibility
    seriously and happily take registers, serve on the school council or become prefects to help staff
    check behaviour around school. Pupils have recently created a new code of conduct which they
    will take with them to their new ‘Water Mill School’.
  • Pupils know about bullying and, although there have been a small number of incidents, they say
    that behaviour is generally good. They are confident that if bullying does occur it will be very
    well sorted out by staff. Behaviour is managed well and records show a very positive picture of
    two schools learning to work collaboratively and developing pupils’ opportunities to work side by
  • Relationships between staff and pupils are positive and strong. Pupils feel secure and cared for
    in school and understand to the best of their ability about boundaries and how to keep safe.
    They trust and have good confidence in staff and feel valued. Attendance is improving.
  • Parents and staff feel that behaviour is good. Pupils are respectful, tolerant and show
    understanding of the difficulties and points of view of others. This was demonstrated very
    emphatically by older pupils in a lesson on the rights of children to a childhood, where their new
    awareness of the plight of some children was thoughtfully discussed.
  • Rewards and sanctions are well understood and appreciated. Good work and behaviour are
    reinforced by generous applause in regular ‘celebration’ assemblies’. The school’s ‘Stop, Think,
    Do’ approach is physically supported by strategically placed ‘Think’ chairs which offer opportunity
    for reflection.
  • Behaviour and care plans are implemented where required and the school checks individual
    progress against these at monthly meetings. A family liaison worker on site coordinates contacts
    between home and school very effectively. Regular support from external agencies is good and
    pupils and parents are able to ‘drop in’ at Mac’s Place in school where multi-agency support is
Inspection report: Middlehurst School, 8–9 May 2013 6 of 9
The leadership and management are good
  • The headteacher’s effective management of significant change since the last inspection has been
    crucial to the pace and quality of the school’s good and improving progress. The complementary
    skills of the headteacher and the Head of Heathfield site have ensured pupil progress has
    remained clearly the school’s focus throughout.
  • Staff morale is good and expectations for the future are high. The leadership of Inspire is good
    and the pilot post-16 group is well managed and expected to grow further.
  • Professional development for all staff is bringing about cohesion and common ways of working,
    supporting staff who will be teaching pupils with a wider range of difficulties well. Performance
    management is linked appropriately to pay progression and current improvement goals.
  • The management of teaching and learning is a strength of the school and, as a result, teaching
    is of a good quality. A new lesson planning format provides continuity of practice and pupils’
    progress is improving, most rapidly in reading. This good progress is due to well organised and
    structured programmes originating in the school’s effective use of pupil premium funding.
  • Pupil targets are set against national figures for pupils starting from similar levels and most
    provide good challenge. The relatively new scheme to record and check pupils’ progress is
    developing well into a useful whole-school system.
  • The school’s view of itself is accurate. However, as a result of its changing situation, planning for
    its extended future is limited. Senior managers are also aware that some targets lack precision in
    order to show how much they have contributed to the school’s improvement.
  • Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good and promoted well across all subjects.
    European visits raise awareness of the wider world, while sessions such as extra-curricular
    boxing contribute well to social and community links.
  • The school has equality of opportunity at its heart and tackles any discrimination that may arise
    swiftly. The Inspire unit provides an excellent programme to enable young people to re-engage
    with education and the vast majority return to mainstream schools after a period of intensive
    work at the school. The programme closely involves parents in learning and inspires pupils to
    have hope for the future.
  • A range of family support, social, nursing and therapy staff provide valuable additional support
    services for parents, and partnership is good.
  • Links with the local authority are good and there has been much collaborative work to facilitate
    the recent merger and new build. The authority provides a light touch service, providing support
    on request. It recognises the very positive work of the Inspire unit and the school’s extensive
    outreach programme to support staff and pupils in mainstream schools.
  • The governance of the school:
    - Governors are keen to be involved and monitor the school’s progress thoroughly. They
    understand the school’s strengths and areas for development well and take good care to
    ensure that pupils’ progress and teaching are regularly checked. Governors meet termly with
    subject leaders, receive headteacher reports and extend their knowledge through focussed
    away days with senior staff. Finances are managed well. Governors are knowledgeable on the
    allocation of pupil premium funding and its positive impact. They ensure that arrangements for
    safeguarding meet current requirements. Governors share the ambition of the headteacher
    and senior leaders to provide the very best for the pupils of this newly combined school.
Inspection report: Middlehurst School, 8–9 May 2013 7 of 9

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 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 have not
demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary
improvement in the school. This school will receive regular
monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.

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.

Inspection report: Middlehurst School, 8–9 May 2013 8 of 9

School details

Unique reference number 124501
Local authority Stoke-On-Trent
Inspection number 402262

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 3–19
Gender of pupils Mixed
Gender of pupils in the sixth form Mixed
Number of pupils on the school roll 160
Of which, number on roll in sixth form 3
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Katrina Smart
Headteacher Jonathon May
Date of previous school inspection 10 May 2010
Telephone number 01782 234612
Fax number 01782 236407
Email address reveal email: j…


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