Oakley School

Name Oakley School
Website http://www.oakleyschool.co.uk
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 11 March 2015
Address Pembury Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN2 4NE
Phone Number 01892823096
Type Special
Age Range 2-18
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 212 (67% boys 33% girls)
Local Authority Kent
Percentage Free School Meals 24.3%
Percentage English is Not First Language 7.1%
Persisitent Absence 21.2%
Pupils with SEN Support 6.1%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this school

Oakley is much larger than the average special school and is located on two sites. The primary and secondary schools are seven miles apart. The school is a local area provision for pupils with a variety of difficulties. The vast majority have moderate learning difficulties, severe learning difficulties, autism or speech and language communication disorder. All pupils have a statement of special educational needs or an education, health and care plan. There are twice as many secondary-aged pupils as there are pupils in Key Stages 1 and 2. Two thirds of all pupils are boys. There are a small number of children in Reception and all of them attend full time. Pupils come from a range of different ethnic backgrounds. Over half of the pupils are from White British backgrounds. The school receives pupil premium funding for almost a third of its pupils, which is higher than the national average. Pupil premium is additional government funding for pupils known to be eligible for free school meals and for the very small number of children who are looked after by the local authority. The school also receives additional physical education and sport funding for primary-aged pupils. The school’s senior leadership team has changed since the school was previously inspected. A new deputy headteacher was appointed in January 2014, and one of the two assistant headteachers has recently been seconded from another local special school until the end of the summer term 2015. Seven members of staff have a middle management responsibility, such as leading a key stage or being responsible for English or mathematics throughout the school. Five of these took up post in the autumn of 2013 and two of them as new appointments to the school. A local authority officer carried out a review of governance after the last inspection. The vast majority of the governing body were governors at the time of that inspection, although a new Chair has been appointed. Groups of pupils attend other establishments regularly for part of their education. The most notable of these are West Kent College, Hadlow College and Stone Ness (land-based studies). Other partners provide work-related learning courses on the school site, such as J and S Opening Doors which is a community interest company that runs an enterprise project. The school receives termly visits from the local authority’s school improvement partner. As the school was judged as requiring improvement in its last inspection report, Ofsted carried out three monitoring inspections between July 2013 and April 2014.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school. Senior leaders have been very successful in raising expectations significantly since the previous inspection. Senior leaders are supported very well by the new middle management team and an increasingly influential governing body. Leadership and management are effective at all levels. As a result, standards have risen steadily over the past two years and pupils are now attaining at higher levels. All groups of pupils make good progress and achieve well compared with pupils of the same age and starting points nationally. Standards have risen because senior leaders, middle managers and the governing body have cooperated very well in raising the quality of teaching. Teaching is typically good, with no significant differences in between the two sites or between key stages. As a result, pupils make good progress across the school. Pupils behave well in lessons and have positive attitudes to learning. They follow requests and instructions and interact with each other and with adults cheerfully. Their attendance is high. Oakley is a safe school. Safeguarding arrangements are secure and pupils are very well looked after. The early years provision is good. Children make good progress in all areas of their learning. They are well prepared for moving into Year 1. Post-16 provision is good. Students are prepared well for leaving school. They achieve well and make very good progress in their personal development. Pupils make very good progress in their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, which includes an understanding of traditional British values. The school has well-established partnerships. These provide additional learning activities for pupils on site, in the community and in other establishments, such as colleges and local businesses that provide work experience placements. Parents are generally very supportive of the school. Virtually every parent would recommend it to others. Every member of staff knows what the school is trying to achieve, and the large majority are supportive of how it is trying to do this. It is not yet an outstanding school because : Teaching does not always challenge the most able pupils sufficiently, and not all subjects contribute enough to developing secondary-aged pupils’ reading and writing skills. Pupils are not routinely encouraged to evaluate their own work and suggest how to improve it. Procedures for recording and reporting how well the school is doing are effective and accurately identify development areas, but they are not always well enough prioritised.