James Rennie School


Name James Rennie School
Website http://www.jamesrennie.cumbria.sch.uk
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 21 May 2014
Address California Road, Kingstown, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA3 0BU
Phone Number 01228554280
Type Academy (special)
Age Range 3-19
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Academy Sponsor The Eden Academy
Percentage Free School Meals 24.3%
Percentage English is Not First Language 4.4%

Information about this school

Most students have severe, profound, multiple and complex learning difficulties. A few have life limiting or deteriorating medical conditions. All have a statement of special educational needs. There is a trend for more and more students to be admitted with an increasingly complex degree of need. There is a rapidly increasing proportion of pupils with autism. Many students need personal care in all situations. Nearly all students are White British. A higher than average proportion of students is known to be eligible for the pupil premium (extra funding provided by the government for students known to be eligible for free school meals or looked after children). There are currently seven looked after children. Boys outnumber girls. A long serving headteacher has left since the last inspection. There is also a new Chair of the Governing Body. Five teachers have either retired or resigned since the last inspection. The school has a catchment area of about 3,000 square miles. This means that many students travel considerable distances each day to get there. The school has advanced plans for extending what it can do to help students who currently have to leave at the age of 19. Some sixth-form students attend alternate provision at local colleges; the main ones being Carlisle College, Lindeth College and Newton Rigg.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is an outstanding school. It is a joyful place. It makes students’ lives better. Parents love this school. They praise the way it looks after their children, gives them dignity and makes them happy. They are unanimous in saying that they would recommend this school to other parents in similar circumstances. Staff are proud to work here and students love attending whenever they can. Achievement is outstanding across the school. The excellence that was recognised at the time of its last inspection has been used as a stepping stone for further improvement. As a result, there is every reason to recognise that the school will keep on improving. Teaching is outstanding. It has improved since the last inspection. It is highly effective in helping students to communicate by whatever means they can and to develop essential skills that help them move on successfully through significant changes in their lives. Students are exceptionally keen to learn. They respond well to outstanding teaching and show great enthusiasm for learning, behave exceptionally well and show great pride in what they achieve. Students are kept very safe and learn a lot about how to keep themselves safe in and out of school. Leaders, managers and governors have a passion to keep making the school better. They fully understand that for this to happen teaching has to keep improving and that they can keep speeding this up. They have been very successful in making this happen and also realise that more can still be done to accelerate the process. Improvement targets for teachers are not always sufficiently challenging. Teachers manage large classroom teams of staff exceptionally well. The Early Years Foundation Stage has been transformed over the past two years. It is now outstanding rather than merely good. The sixth form is outstanding. This is particularly the case in the way it so successfully prepares students for adulthood.