Ofsted report Burnt Mill’s provision for special educational needs is “strong” following inspection

PROVISION for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) at Burnt Mill Academy is “strong”, Ofsted has confirmed.

Inspectors visited the Ofsted-rated Outstanding school, in Harlow, to monitor both the SEND provision and behaviour management.

A spokesperson for Ofsted said: “This monitoring inspection was conducted under section 8 of the Education Act 2005 and in accordance with Ofsted’s published procedures for inspecting schools with no formal designation. The inspection was carried out because Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector was concerned about aspects of the effectiveness of leadership and management in the school”.

They visited lessons in a range of subjects, reviewed students’ work, met with leaders and spoke with the governing body, the local authority and students.

The inspectors reviewed documents relating to behaviour, attendance, exclusions, pupil movement and complaints about safeguarding arrangements.

In a follow-up letter to head of school Laura McGlashan, being promoted to headteacher in September, Her Majesty’s Inspector Andrew Hemmings noted: “Inspectors’ evidence confirms that leaders are effective in meeting the needs of pupils with special educational needs and / or disabilities and in managing pupils’ behaviour. They ensure that there are high expectations for pupils to achieve well across the curriculum.”

With regards to SEND provision, he highlighted –

“You assess pupils’ needs when they join the school and give pupils the help they need.”

“You pay for additional time from an educational psychologist to ensure that you have sufficient access to expert advice.”

“You train staff in how to work with pupils with SEND.”

“You make appropriate adjustments to help these pupils meet your high standards.”

“Pupils with SEND benefit from the same high expectations as other pupils. This helps them to make strong progress in their studies.”

“Provision for pupils with SEND is strong.”

With regards to behaviour, the inspector commented on the school’s “positive relationships between staff and pupils” and “effective systems for managing pupils’ behaviour”. He added: “Low level disruption is rare and carefully monitored. You use the information you gather to identify negative trends in behaviour and to address these before they become problematic.”

In conclusion, under the heading “Priorities for further improvement”, the inspector stated: “None identified at this time in relation to the aspects of provision considered during this inspection.”

Helena Mills CBE, BMAT CEO, said: “I am delighted that Burnt Mill has kept its Outstanding status. I am also so pleased that inspectors found what a highly caring and inclusive school this is.

“Our high expectations of behaviour and outcomes really do help all children to achieve great things.

“We are passionate at BMAT about providing our SEND pupils with the best possible education, one where they are happy but also successful. We want to help them to achieve their dreams.”

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The Report

Inspectors’ evidence confirms that leaders are effective in meeting the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and in managing pupils’ behaviour. They ensure that there are high expectations for pupils to achieve well across the curriculum.

Evidence

Inspectors, accompanied by leaders, visited lessons in a range of subjects and reviewed the work of pupils in their books. We met with you, the chief executive officer (CEO) of the trust and other leaders.

We spoke with the chair of the local governing body by telephone, met with a representative from the local authority and spoke with pupils about their experiences at the school.

Inspectors reviewed documents relating to behaviour, attendance, exclusions, pupil movement, complaints and safeguarding arrangements. We visited another site where education is provided on behalf of the school.

Context

The school is currently being led by a head of school. Her work is overseen by the CEO of the Burnt Mill Academy Trust. The head of school has been appointed as headteacher from September 2019.
During the inspection, we wanted to look into how well leaders manage pupils’ behaviour and the provision for pupils with SEND. We also wanted to see how effective the school is at supporting pupils to the end of key stage 4.

We pursued these lines of enquiry because concerns had been raised with Ofsted suggesting that some pupils with SEND were not well supported, that behaviour was managed in an overly negative way and that some pupils were pressurised into leaving the school before the end of key stage 4. In addition, published performance data indicated a fall in entries at GCSE for pupils in modern foreign languages and humanities in 2018. We wanted to see how effective provision is in these subjects.

Provision for pupils with SEND

You explained that there were some deficiencies in SEND provision in the past. However, you have acted on guidance you received from an external agency regarding SEND provision and have addressed the areas which needed to be better. You assess pupils’ needs when they join the school and give pupils the help they need. You pay for additional time from an educational psychologist to ensure that you have sufficient access to expert advice. You train staff in how to work with pupils with SEND and you make appropriate adjustments to help these pupils meet your high standards. Provision for pupils with SEND is now strong.

Pupils with SEND have full access to the curriculum and are motivated to learn. The number of incidents of poor behaviour from pupils with SEND is low. The proportion of these pupils who are persistently absent from school is below the national average. Pupils with SEND benefit from the same high expectations as other pupils. This helps them to make strong progress in their studies.

Behaviour

You and other leaders have an inclusive approach to behaviour management. You model the approaches you expect staff to adopt and there are positive relationships between staff and pupils. You and your team have effective systems for managing pupils’ behaviour. Low-level disruption is rare and carefully monitored. You use the information you gather to identify negative trends in behaviour and to address these before they become problematic.

Some pupils are educated away from the main school because of the challenging behaviour they have demonstrated. The provision they receive is considered carefully. It is based on personalised learning plans constructed with a keen awareness of individual pupils’ needs. You and other leaders have secure processes in place to check on the attendance, progress and well-being of these pupils. You
have time-specific programmes to reintegrate them into the main school. One of your measures of success is how quickly they return.

Pupils who have left before the end of key stage 4

A small number of parents and carers have taken the decision to remove pupils from the school to educate them at home. You follow appropriate procedures in reporting this to the local authority. In some cases, you have felt that the decision of parents was not in the best interests of the pupils concerned. You have advised the local authority of your concerns. This has led to these pupils returning to mainstream education.

Modern foreign languages and humanities

A feature of the quality of provision we saw in the school is leaders’ and teachers’ uncompromising high expectations, including in modern foreign languages and humanities. Regardless of pupils’ ability, needs or individual circumstance, you set demanding work which challenges them and helps them to fulfil their potential. This is effective in motivating pupils and helping them to make strong progress.

External support

You and other leaders work well with external agencies in securing and promoting pupils’ well-being. For example, you work with a range of agencies to protect pupils from, and teach them about, the dangers of gang and drug cultures.

Priorities for further improvement

None identified at this time in relation to the aspects of provision considered during this inspection.

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