Ten positive points we are proud of from our recent Ofsted Report
- At the start of the inspection, we agreed the key lines of enquiry. This inspection focused on the impact of new leaders’ actions, including governors, pupils’ outcomes in English, particularly in writing, and how well the curriculum meets pupils’ needs and prepares them for the next stage of their education.
- Recent strategic changes to the school aimed at raising standards and improving consistency illustrate effective governance and leadership. You have begun to develop the role of middle leaders to ensure that the school has the capacity to match your ambitious drive and vision. However, this is not fully established. Middle leaders are developing their work to improve outcomes for all key stages and groups of pupils. You are in the process of moving to a new assessment system to support leaders’ analysis of pupils’ progress over time. We agreed that these are key priorities for the school at this time.
- Leaders and staff have continued to develop the school’s bilingual and bicultural aspects, and responded well to the challenges of working with pupils who are not only learning two languages, British sign language and English, but who also have additional learning needs.
- Progress in mathematics is rapid and sustained, particularly in number. However, pupils’ progress is variable in English. English is a second language for most of your pupils and a particular challenge for deaf pupils. Leaders recognise this, and have responded by applying effective strategies from the primary department across the whole school. The pupils with whom I spoke had a sophisticated understanding of how challenging it can be to learn two languages with different sentence structures. They were proud of their achievements in this area.
- All staff contribute to the ongoing professional dialogue about pupils’ learning. This has enabled staff to identify pupils who are at risk of not meeting their targets and put interventions in place. As a member of support staff told me: ‘No child is ever left behind.’
- We saw many good examples of staff encouraging pupils to reflect on their learning and develop independence, including in British sign language sessions.
- Additional adults are skilled at supporting pupils’ learning and emotional needs. Staff promote pupils’ communication skills well, and encourage resilience and independence through a range of effective strategies.
- You offer a broad and balanced curriculum, including four key stage 4 pathways that prepare pupils well for later life and the wider community. One parent told me that she was proud of her daughter’s achievements and described how she now had the skills to able to go on to be a games designer in a mainstream college. All pupils leave the school to go on to further education or training.
- Pupils are well-rounded individuals because they are taught to develop their understanding of deaf issues and their place in the wider community. They learn the importance of being tolerant of the others, and are keen to help the pupils they join for inclusion lessons understand what being deaf means. One pupil told me that being a pupil at the school has enabled her to feel ‘comfortable with hearing communities’. Another pupil felt that the school has enabled her to be ‘confident, proud and assertive’ and she is now able to ‘use sign language in front of hearing people’. Opportunities for inclusion are approached sensitively and are valued by both pupils and parents. Pupils spoke of going at their own pace and not being pushed.
- You and your team are highly aware of the vulnerability of your pupils. You continue to strengthen measures to ensure pupils’ safety. Pupils are taught how to stay safe in the community and online, and know what do if there is a problem. All staff who responded to the survey felt that pupils are well looked after at school. To keep children safe outside of school, all parents are encouraged to learn British sign language so that they can communicate with pupils and understand conversations between their children and other adults. In addition, leaders have used their detailed knowledge of local safeguarding issues to tailor provision, for example by adapting travel training to help pupils deal with potential risks in the area.
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