Willow Grove Primary School

Name Willow Grove Primary School
Website http://www.willowgroveprimary.org.uk
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 12 January 2011
Address Willow Grove, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan, Greater Manchester, WN4 8XF
Phone Number 01942727717
Type Special
Age Range 5-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 53 (92% boys 8% girls)
Local Authority Wigan
Percentage Free School Meals 50.9%
Percentage English is Not First Language 0%
Persisitent Absence 18.8%
Pupils with SEN Support 1.9%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about the school

The school provides for pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties from Years 1 to 6. Pupils are allocated to the school by a local authority panel. All pupils have a statement of special educational needs. Eight pupils are in public care. About two thirds of the pupils have additional special educational needs and/or disabilities, including autistic spectrum condition, specific learning difficulties, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, hearing impairment, speech and language difficulties and complex needs. Over half of the pupils are known to be eligible for free school meals. Nearly all pupils are boys, and all are of White British background. The majority of the pupils are currently in Years 5 and 6, although pupils may join or leave the school earlier in their primary school years. They may also leave to rejoin mainstream primary schools. The school has several awards including Eco School, Healthy School and Dyslexia Friendly School.

Main findings

Willow Grove is an outstanding school. It takes in pupils who have had a very poor start to school and, for many, a deeply traumatic start to life. The school turns them round, building trust in adults where there was none and self-belief when the youngsters thought they were failures. It is a school where pupils inspire remarkable dedication in staff. It is a good place to be, for pupils and for their parents and carers. Attendance is high. The school is held in the highest esteem by the many agencies which support its work. Pupils are allocated a place in the school at different points in their primary education. They have not coped with school and their schools have not coped with them. Some of the pupils who are subsequently identified with additional special educational needs and/or disabilities arrive with their special needs undiagnosed. The self-esteem of many pupils is so low on admission to the school that they are unwilling to try any form of work where they have previously failed. The school is extremely successful in recovering pupils from this seemingly hopeless position. They work first on assessing pupils’ needs and on creating the conditions of trust where pupils feel secure enough to attempt to learn. By the time pupils leave for their different destinations, they have made outstanding progress in their personal development. Their progress in learning places them among the most improving pupils in the country when compared to pupils with similar starting points. Such outstanding progress is the result of provision of exceptional quality. The care, support and guidance for pupils are of the highest quality. Exceptional features include the provision of play therapy for pupils who have not experienced normal emotional and social development. Teachers are extremely skilled in building positive, trusting relationships with pupils who find it very difficult to manage their behaviour or take risks with new challenges. They have excellent support from teaching assistants who know the pupils so well and provide outstanding emotional support for them. This enables teachers to forge ahead with learning. Teachers and teaching assistants share high expectations of pupils and show exceptional adaptability in responding to pupils’ often rapidly changing needs, moving seamlessly from challenging pupils to supporting them as the need arises. The curriculum is extremely well tailored to providing opportunities for pupils to catch up on basic skills, particularly reading, and to provide opportunities for social and emotional development. Many rich opportunities enable pupils to enjoy physical education and sports, to play musical instruments, and to learn in the community, where they are often complimented on their good behaviour. The school was last inspected in 2007. It was judged outstanding. Those responsible for leadership and management of the school have maintained the school’s high performance and developed it further, so its capacity for further improvement remains excellent. Leadership is extremely strong at all levels. There is rigorous self-evaluation. The inspection did not identify any issues of which the school was not already aware. One of these points was to extend the marking of pupils’ work to help them understand better what they need to learn next. In 2007, leadership at middle management levels was developing; it is now firmly established. The school is well governed. Governors hold the professionals to account and bring many skills to their work on the governing body. The influence of the headteacher is central to the school’s success. She provides excellent oversight and has earned the respect and gratitude of staff and parents alike. Under her leadership, the school is innovative and forward looking. It is resourced to meet the challenges it faces well and provides excellent value for money.