Newcastle Bridges School

Name Newcastle Bridges School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
This inspection rating relates to a predecessor school. When a school, converts to an academy, is taken over or closes and reopens as a new school a formal link is created between the new school and the old school, by the Department for Education. Where the new school has not yet been inspected, we show the inspection history of the predecessor school, as we believe it still has significance.
Inspection Date 01 November 2016
Address Drayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE3 3RU
Phone Number 01916053559
Type Academy
Age Range 2-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 71 (45% boys 55% girls)
Local Authority Newcastle upon Tyne
Percentage Free School Meals 18.8%
Percentage English is Not First Language 0%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this school

The school does not meet requirements on the publication of information about the pupil premium grant or Year 7 catch-up grant on its website. However, the short-term placements of a majority of pupils and high mobility mean that allocation of these grants is often delayed and variable year on year. The school is a special school, making provision for pupils with a wide range of health needs across six sites. These are: – Benfield for pupils who are anxious and vulnerable pupils, including pregnant teenagers and young mothers – Great North Children’s Hospital (GNCH) and Freeman Hospital (heart and lung ward) for pupils with acute and chronic health conditions, some of whom have frequent or recurring stays in hospital – Ferndene, which is an inpatient assessment unit run by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, for children and young people with a range of complex mental health needs, some of whom have additional learning difficulties – Complex Neuro Developmental Service (CNDS) at Walkergate Park Hospital, which provides initial assessments of children with pervasive developmental delay – Alnwood Unit, which is a national medium-secure unit for teenagers who have complex mental health conditions; some pupils have learning disabilities in addition to their mental health difficulties – Community Teaching, which caters for pupils referred by healthcare professionals as they are unable to attend their mainstream school due to illness, including mental health conditions; teaching takes place either in the pupil’s home, community settings, including public libraries, or in small groups at the Benfield site. The vast majority of pupils are dual registered and remain on the roll of their home school. The number of pupils on roll varies from day to day. During the inspection, 153 pupils received education from the school. Over an academic year, the school provides education to over 600 pupils for varying amounts of time. The proportions of pupils who are disadvantaged and of those who have special educational needs and/or disabilities varies over time. At the time of the inspection, just under a third of pupils had education, health and care plans. The majority of pupils are White British and speak English as their first language. However, the proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional language or who are from different ethnic backgrounds varies from day to day. The school currently uses Stepney Bank Stables and Kirkley Hall as alternative provision for a small number of pupils on a part-time basis. The governing body is the proprietor of two nurseries for children from birth to four years old: Newcastle Bridges Nursery and Newcastle Bridges Nursery East. The nurseries are inspected separately and so were not part of this inspection. The school is part of the Compass Trust, which is made up of the four special schools in Newcastle and Newcastle City Council. The school makes provision for early years children when they are admitted to Freeman and GNCH or being assessed at Walkergate. However, during the inspection the number of early years children was too small to report on separately.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is an outstanding school Governors, leaders and staff share an absolute determination to enable pupils to achieve the best possible outcomes. As a result, highly effective teaching and support lead almost all pupils to make excellent progress. Pupils are proud of their school. They feel respected and many feel safe for the first time in a school setting. Parents confirm the positive impact the school has on their children’s lives. Pupils are enthusiastic about their learning when staying in hospital. Highly effective communication between this school and pupils’ home schools ensures their learning does not stall when they return to their home schools. Health professionals across the specialist mental health settings rightly acknowledge the significant role that school staff have in achieving the best health outcomes for pupils. The community education programme is exceptionally successful in getting pupils back into learning. Individualised work leads to pupils, including the most able pupils, making very strong progress. The school’s partnership work with healthcare, social care and voluntary-sector professionals results in innovative developments. Together their quest to find the right solutions for individual pupils and their families is exemplary. Leaders’ continuous development of the range of subjects taught and different qualification options ensures that pupils’ needs and interests are well met. Most pupils make rapid gains in learning in a range of subjects and across different sites because teaching is effective and learning programmes are closely matched to pupils’ individual needs. Disadvantaged pupils and those who have education, health and care plans benefit equally from outstanding teaching. Teachers are exceptionally effective in challenging the most able, particularly in art. Overall, pupils’ attendance remains low when compared with that of pupils in other schools. However, many pupils make significant improvements in their attendance, often following long periods of non-attendance in their previous school. The necessary focus on keeping pupils safe is very effective. Staff are exceptionally alert to pupils’ emotional well-being. Leaders work closely with other agencies and are not afraid to challenge those who do not share their level of concern. Post-16 provision is good rather than outstanding because leaders are not incisive in their evaluation of the effectiveness of the study programmes for this group of students.