19 January 2018
Re: Ofsted Inspections
As you are already aware the school participated in both Education and Residential Ofsted inspections last term and although the Education inspection report was available in November we only received the final report for the Residential inspection this week. The Residential Ofsted inspector has written a letter to our learners, which is enclosed for your information. Both inspection teams asked me to pass on their thanks to all of our boys (as well as yourselves) - they said ‘the boys were a credit to the school and our staff team were helpful, welcoming and obviously passionate about the work we do at Brompton Hall’.
“In their work with pupils, staff show that they are committed to doing the best they can to help pupils achieve and thrive. Staff have excellent relationships with pupils. By modelling respectful relationships and determination to do well, staff mirror the values and vision that you promote for the benefit of pupils.”
“The extended school day provides for significant enrichment in pupils’ school experiences. Alongside the rich range of educational visits and trips, the extended school day supports pupils’ wider achievement well. It builds their self-confidence and promotes their personal development and well-being very effectively. Pupils themselves are clear that the opportunities and structure that this part of the day gives them are enjoyable and enriching. They say it reduces significantly the likelihood of them engaging in antisocial behaviours outside of school. As such, it contributes to their safety and safeguarding, as well as potentially reducing the burden on other public services and agencies.”
“The residential and extended day provision make a strong impact on outcomes for pupils. They make good progress with their learning, they develop better social skills, make friends, support each other and adapt well to group living. In some cases progress is excellent.”
Both reports were overwhelmingly positive, acknowledging that your child is placed at the heart of everything we do and that our team of staff are skilled, hardworking and committed to developing all of your child, not just their academic ability. I have included the summaries for both inspections in this letter, electronic versions are also on the school and Ofsted websites and should you require a hard copy of the reports please contact the Main Office (01723 859121) so the necessary arrangements can be made.
Education Ofsted Inspection: 1 November 2017 – Summary of Findings
- During our visit, we focused on how well pupils make progress from their starting points across a range of subjects. The checks you make regularly on pupils’ progress enable you to challenge staff and further personalise pupils’ learning. As a result, despite some inconsistencies in a small number of cases, the vast majority of pupils make good and better progress.
- You have refined the school’s systems for checking pupils’ progress across all subjects. As a consequence, you are pleased with the progress that pupils make across the full range of their subjects.
- You are very pleased with the improvements that pupils make in reading since you introduced the reading programme recently. Many pupils increase their reading age quickly. As a consequence, pupils are enabled to learn more easily across all their subjects.
- Our work scrutiny showed that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, who make up the large majority of the school’s population, make the same good progress as others.
- Work in books shows that the most able pupils are challenged well to deepen their thinking. As a result, they often make very strong progress. For pupils in lower and middle prior attainment groups, while their progress is strong, there are missed opportunities for more frequent extended writing to support their learning further.
- A further key focus of our visit was the quality of teaching, learning and assessment. The work we saw in pupils’ books and the lessons we visited with you and colleagues confirmed your view that teaching is effective. Teachers have detailed knowledge of pupils’ needs and plan learning that engages and interests them. Teachers maintain high expectations of pupils’ conduct and learning. Teaching assistants are used effectively to help pupils learn.
- Teachers use questions very effectively to check that pupils have understood, and to help them if they struggle. Sometimes, staff miss opportunities to use their questions to find out when pupils are ready to be moved on more quickly to more challenging work.
- The curriculum is well structured to provide pupils with the opportunities to progress across a wide range of subjects and to sit for external examinations. You ensure that pupils are helped to face the pressures of examination by beginning to complete external qualifications from Year 9 onwards. You provide a personalised pathway to increasingly challenging levels of accreditation. As a result, an increasing proportion of pupils succeed at level 1 and 2 qualifications such as GCSEs, including in English and mathematics.
- The good progress that pupils make and improving attainment are testament to the effective delivery of the curriculum. Pupils and parents agree that the school is effective in re-engaging pupils in their learning. The extended day provides important additionality that supports pupils’ wider learning and further opportunities for personal development, for example by developing team-working skills and engaging in charitable works for the wider community.
- The positive attitude of pupils and the determined work of staff have led to a steady improvement in overall attendance over time. Almost all pupils attend school much better than in their previous schools. Leaders and governors are keenly aware that there remains a small number of pupils who do not attend often enough. The school works doggedly with families and appropriate agencies to enable these pupils to attend more regularly.
- Plans for further development are accurately identified. Progress towards priorities is checked carefully by governors, who find out for themselves how well the school is doing. However, plans do not always give enough detail about how much improvement is expected.
Next steps for the school
Leaders and those responsible for governance should ensure that:
- Teachers are trained in the effective use of questioning to challenge pupils to move on more rapidly as soon as they are ready to do so, by extending their knowledge and deepening their understanding
- Governors set numerical targets for improvement wherever possible, including for improvement in attendance of those who do not attend regularly enough.
Residential Ofsted Inspection: 1 November 2017 – Summary of Findings
Key findings from this inspection
This residential special school is good because:
- Staff are skilled and experienced in helping pupils with social and emotional difficulties. They provide pupils with the right environment to help them make significant achievements.
- Pupils make good progress with their learning, development, social skills and behaviour.
- The residential and extended day provision make a strong impact on outcomes for pupils. There is an excellent range of activities, clubs and events that make a big difference to pupils’ learning and development.
- The relationships between staff and pupils are very positive and the systems in place to promote behaviour are very effective.
- Pupils feel safe, secure and settled.
- There are strong safeguarding arrangements in place to keep pupils free from harm.
- The school’s leaders provide strong and effective management. This ensures that the residential and education provision are integrated and cohesive.
- Leaders and governors fulfil their responsibility to constantly improve the school.
- Monitoring is comprehensive and leaders are responsive to any concerns and feedback from pupils, parents and partner agencies. Regular reports about the school’s performance keep governors informed of the strengths and improvement areas.
What does the residential special school need to do to improve?
- Formalise decision-making about the sharing of bedrooms into a written risk assessment and keep this under review. (NMS 5)
- Provide a written response to the local authority about internal investigations into concerns about staff practice. (NMS 11)
- Implement the action plan to develop the quality of the monitoring reports that are completed under national minimum standard 20. Consider broadening networks with other schools to facilitate improvements to evaluation and review systems. (NMS 20)