Alderwood Academy

Name Alderwood Academy
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 23 April 2013
Address Raeburn Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 0EW
Phone Number 01473725860
Type Academy
Age Range 8-14
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 8

Information about this school

Alderwood is a pupil referral unit (PRU) serving 21 pupils in South Suffolk who have experienced multiple, fixed-term exclusions or have been permanently excluded from at least one school. Its main aim is to return pupils back into mainstream schools to continue their education. All pupils attend on a full-time basis and most of them stay for two to three terms. The unit also provides longer-term education in ‘The Bridge’ for eight pupils in Key Stage 2 who have more complex learning needs. These pupils stay for up to two years. Most pupils are White British, and very few are from minority ethnic backgrounds. All pupils are supported through school action plus or have a statement of special educational need. Three pupils are looked after by the local authority. All pupils have behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. Seven pupils are eligible for the pupil premium (extra government funding to support particular groups of pupils). However, the unit does not receive this funding as it is allocated to pupils’ previous mainstream schools. None of the pupils attend alternative off-site provision. Since the last inspection, a new headteacher and deputy headteacher have been appointed. The management committee includes headteachers from a local primary school, a secondary school, a nearby pupil referral unit and two community officers one of whom is employed by the local authority. Alderwood hosts the local behaviour support outreach service but this is not part of the unit. A major building programme to replace aging temporary accommodation is nearing completion. The unit is working in partnership with a number of other units in South Suffolk to become an academy in 2014.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school. The unit’s success is due to the headteacher’s outstanding leadership. Her determination to overcome the barriers that prevent each pupil from engaging fully in learning equips them with the skills they need to return and stay in mainstream education. The unit’s stimulating and nurturing environment, coupled with high quality personalised care for each pupil, enables all of them to quickly modify their behaviour, re-engage in learning and achieve well. Pupils make rapid progress in mathematics, science and, to a lesser extent, in English. Consistently good teaching and high quality support, tailored to each pupil’s specific academic and pastoral needs, accelerate their learning and progress. Systematic, daily monitoring of pupils’ personal targets for improvement provides staff with a thorough understanding of how well they are doing and informs them of what further support is needed. Pupils’ behaviour and attitudes to learning are exemplary because procedures to manage behaviour are applied consistently. Parents enthuse about the improvements they see in their children. Pupils respect their staff and the learning environment. They care for each other and say they feel very safe. Attendance is consistently above average. The excellent relationships staff forge with pupils makes an excellent contribution to their achievement, well-being and enjoyment. A broad, enriched curriculum taught in the unit and in the outdoor environment reignites pupils’ enthusiasm for learning and promotes their good behaviour and high achievement. The management committee add further strength to the leadership of the unit and help to shape its positive ethos. They hold senior leaders fully to account for maintaining and securing further improvements. It is not yet an outstanding school because : Improvements to the quality of teaching, driven by senior leaders, have made it consistently good but more needs to be done to make teaching outstanding. There are gaps in pupils’ literacy skills, particularly in their extended writing, that prevent them from making rapid progress in English.