Knowsley Central School


Name Knowsley Central School
Website http://www.knowsleycentral.co.uk
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 10 December 2019
Address Mossbrow Road, Huyton, Liverpool, Merseyside, L36 7SY
Phone Number 01514778450
Type Special
Age Range 2-14
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 99 (78% boys 22% girls)
Local Authority Knowsley
Percentage Free School Meals 53.5%
Percentage English is Not First Language 1%
Persisitent Absence 30.2%
Pupils with SEN Support 0%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Outcome

Knowsley Central School continues to be an outstanding school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils benefit from an exceptional standard of education at this school. They run into school with happy, smiling faces. Parents and carers talk about the school as being ‘life-changing’. Some parents say that life at home has improved because, since joining the school, their children are confident and happy.

Pupils enjoy their learning because staff celebrate every success. There is a culture of high ambition and pride in the school. This school lives up to its motto: ‘Everyone is a star and can shine in our learning community.’

Staff plan the curriculum with care. Pupils’ needs are exceptionally well supported. Pupils settle well and they told us that they feel safe. Staff ensure that pupils learn how to manage their own behaviour and emotions.

There is a quiet and calm atmosphere. Pupils enjoy spending time with their friends. If there are any disagreements between pupils, staff step in quickly and help pupils to make friends and move on. Bullying is very rare. If any problems do occur, staff speak with parents and work to resolve things as quickly as possible.

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

Pupils benefit from an exciting and ambitious curriculum that covers a broad range of subjects. The well-designed curriculum makes clear important links between different subjects. This allows pupils to make connections in their learning. For example, pupils write letters, newspaper articles, poems and stories in English based on events that happened during the Second World War that they have learned about in history. Topics in history and English are planned carefully so that pupils can revisit learning. Leaders also ensure that carefully selected experiences, including trips and visits, support pupils’ learning in history well. Staff use a range of highly appropriate resources to help pupils learn. These include sensory rooms and visual instructions.The curriculum promotes pupils’ life skills strongly. This prepares them well for their future. Staff have carefully planned this curriculum to allow pupils to gain important knowledge in a logical order from early years to key stage 3. For example, in mathematics, pupils can build well on their knowledge and understanding of the value of money. Once pupils are confident to use money, they can practise this learning through real-life activities, such as buying items from local shops and cafés.

The school’s wider curriculum is also planned and delivered well. There is a rich choice of activities for pupils to take part in. These activities allow pupils to develop socially and morally. Some pupils may not have had the opportunity to benefit from these types of activity before. For example, residential trips allow pupils to undertake adventure activities with their friends. During these activities, pupils can develop their independence and resilience and they can learn how to work as part of a team. The student council have recently planned a cake sale. Pupils used the money raised to buy items from the local supermarket and donated these items to the local community food bank.

Highly-skilled staff support pupils to learn how to read. Some pupils arrive at school with very little reading knowledge. Through effective phonics teaching, pupils achieve well in reading. Staff check carefully on pupils’ reading. They know exactly what each child and pupil need to know and be able to do to become a fluent and confident reader. This ensures that pupils can catch up with their reading. There is a very strong culture of reading across the school. Younger children enjoy listening to adults read. Pupils join in enthusiastically with songs, rhymes and actions. Older pupils are competitive readers. As well as reading together in class they enjoy reading their own books at home.

Pupils’ behaviour in and around school is excellent. Pupils want to learn, and they enjoy their lessons. There is no low-level disruption.

Leaders reflect regularly on all aspects of the school. They are keen to ensure that every pupil has a highly positive, rewarding and enjoyable education. They ensure that staff understand the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and how best to support them. This is a school where leaders, governors and staff work together well to provide the best possible quality of education for pupils.

The vast majority of staff agreed that leaders are considerate about their workload and well-being. Parents could not praise the school highly enough, with many parents saying that staff go ‘above and beyond’ to support the needs of their children well.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

There is a strong culture of safeguarding in the school. Parents told us they are confident that their children are safe. Staff have created a caring and nurturing environment.

Safeguarding systems and procedures within the school are robust. Knowledgeable staff are vigilant and quick to respond appropriately to any signs that may indicate a cause for concern. Leaders work closely with the local authority and other agencies to keep childrensafe.

A detailed training programme ensures that all staff, including those who are new to the school, have up-to-date safeguarding knowledge.

Background

When we have judged a special school to be outstanding we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains outstanding. This is called a section 8 inspection of a good school or non-exempt outstanding school. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find some evidence that the school could now be better than good or that standards may be declining, then the next inspection will be a section 5 inspection. Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the section 8 inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will convert the section 8 inspection to a section 5 inspection immediately.

This is the first section 8 inspection since we judged the school to be outstanding on 14–15 October 2014.