Dove House School


Name Dove House School
Website http://www.dovehouseacademy.com
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 24 September 2019
Address Sutton Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 5SU
Phone Number 01256351555
Type Academy (special)
Age Range 11-19
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 225 (72% boys 28% girls)
Local Authority Hampshire
Percentage Free School Meals 27%
Percentage English is Not First Language 1.8%
Catchment Area Information Available No, we only have catchment area data for schools in England

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils’ safety, welfare and learning lie at the very heart of ‘the Dove House way’. Pupils thrive in the nurturing culture that staff have created. They know that there is an adult who will listen to them and help them if they have any worries. One pupil said that she loves the school because ‘teachers understand us’.

Teachers expect the very best from their pupils. Pupils rise to the challenges their teachers set them and produce high-quality work. Extra help is on hand for those who need it. Pupils love to talk about their learning and are rightly proud of their achievements.

Pupils are polite and respectful to their teachers and to each other. They know how important it is to behave well and they move around the school in a calm and mature way. Pupils who find it harder to manage their feelings get effective support.

Pupils understand that there are different kinds of bullying. They say that bullying is very rare in their school. They report that teachers deal firmly with any pupils who are unkind or mean to others.

All pupils take part in exciting clubs, trips and residential visits. These experiences enrich their learning and widen their horizons.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

The headteacher’s compelling vision for an education that prepares pupils for life and work as independent adults is fully shared by his staff. Pupils study a varied and well-balanced curriculum, which includes a sharp focus on reading and writing. In key stage 4, all pupils experience the world of work. Teachers of all subjects have a deep understanding of their pupils’ individual needs. Teachers use their strong subject knowledge and careful assessment of pupils’ learning to plan work that builds on what pupils know and can do. They challenge pupils to think hard and solve tricky problems. Skilful teaching helps pupils to remember the most important information they have learned. Because of all this, pupils, including those who are disadvantaged, do exceptionally well in their learning. Teachers make sure that pupils gain the qualifications they need for their next steps. For the last five years, all pupils have gone on to suitable further education or employment by the time they leave the school.

Pupils love coming to school. They rarely miss a day. They wear their uniforms with great pride. They knuckle down to their work from the minute they arrive until they go home. Leaders work closely with parents and carers to support pupils’ attendance and behaviour.

Teachers, support staff and therapists work tirelessly as a team to develop pupils’ social skills and resilience. Pupils learn to carry out daily tasks, such as cooking, ironing and using public transport, independently. In physical education (PE), pupilsundertake personal challenges that improve their fitness and self-confidence. Students in the sixth form can follow the demanding Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. Pupils perform or work behind the scenes in school productions. They take part in well-run after-school clubs and enjoy trips out of school that enrich their learning. One pupil reflected with pride on his recent residential trip to Belgium. He said, ‘This school has completely changed me’.

The school prepares pupils exceptionally well for life in modern Britain. They learn about the world around them and discuss important topical issues, such as the effects of plastic pollution. They learn to be accepting of others and to respect different cultures and lifestyles. For example, we saw Year 7 pupils discussing different kinds of family, including same-sex couples.

Teachers help pupils to make wise decisions about their future lives. Pupils visit local colleges and apprenticeship providers to see for themselves what is on offer.

The sixth-form team is highly successful in preparing pupils for employment. All students follow functional English and mathematics courses and gain a variety of recognised vocational awards. Students spend up to three days a week in work placements. Volunteer business mentors help students to plan their next steps. All students gain employment at the end of Year 13 or move on to a suitable college course.

The headteacher is very well respected by pupils, staff and parents. Parents are overwhelmingly positive about the school and what it has done for their children. Staff value the high-quality training they receive and the concern that leaders show for their well-being.

Governors carry out their statutory duties diligently. They hold the headteacher to account for the quality of education in the school. They also check the impact of funding for disadvantaged pupils and those pupils in Year 7 who need to catch up.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

There is a strong culture of safeguarding in the school. Pupils’ welfare and well-being have the highest priority. Staff and governors receive regular safeguarding training. All who work or volunteer in the school understand the main risks to pupils’ safety and know what to do if they have any concerns.

Leaders act decisively when it is necessary to involve outside services to protect a child. They follow up all referrals. They are determined that pupils who need it receive timely and effective support.

All required checks on the suitability of all staff and volunteers to work with children are carried out carefully.