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The Unicorn School

The Unicorn School

A Specialist School supporting pupils with dyslexia and related learning difficulties

Inspection Reports

Head Teacher Mr Andrew Day
         Mr Andrew Day

Ofsted 18 Months On:
Head Teacher Andrew Day

17th October 2016

Dear Parents,

Ofsted inspected the Unicorn School on 18th April 2015.
I had been in post for 6 days when Ofsted arrived for a testing inspection that resulted in a Requires Improvement rating.  Since then, we have systematically addressed all the recommendations that Ofsted made.  I used the Ofsted findings as my blueprint for improving the Unicorn School.

We focused on:

Leadership and Management:

  • Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural scheme of work has been revised for the Y7, 8 and 9 to include careers advice for all secondary age children.
  • During summer holiday 2015 the school installed separate showers and a designated First Aid room with a sink and bed.
  • New assessment methods were introduced and pupils’ attainment is now measured twice a year to enable the school to put in place remedial action to support children who are not making the required progress.  (See further information below)
  • A thorough staff appraisal and lesson observation system was implemented. This will continue to ensure that teachers receive the support they need in order to help improve the children’s learning and achievement.

Behaviour and Safety of pupils:

  • The anti-bullying policy was updated and all staff and pupils are aware of the procedures that are in place. All staff, during their SMSC (Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural) lessons, will continue to raise pupils’ awareness of the causes of discrimination.
  • The head teacher delivers high quality weekly assemblies to raise the pupils’ awareness of the causes of discrimination.

Quality of Teaching:

  • More in-service training was introduced to enable class teachers and 1:1 specialists to share best practice and ensure pupils are clear on their targets and what they must do in order to improve.
  • We improved the links between Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language specialists and class teachers to promote the overall improvement in pupils’ achievement.
  • We have continued 1:1 teaching of all pupils to overcome the specific difficulties they experience with learning and introduced small group sessions for our GCSE students.

Achievement of pupils:

  • Reports are sent to parents at the end of each term. At the half way point of each term there is a parents’ evening to allow all parents to meet the class teacher and 1:1 teacher for their child. This will mean that all parents are informed of their child’s progress every 5-6 weeks.
  • Touch typing has been introduced to allow all KS3 pupils the opportunity to learn this valuable skill.

Where are we now:

Staff
We currently have the equivalent of 10 class teachers including KS3/4 English, Maths and Science specialists and 12 specialist 1:1 teachers.  We have recruited well and the staff team are all committed to continuous improvement. In addition to this we have a Speech and Language Therapist and an Occupational Therapist on roll.  

Lesson Observations
The new programme of lesson observations shares good practice and improves current practice. They have been led by me, an Independent School Inspector (ISI), a school governor, also an ISI Inspector, and a head of a similar school in the locality. Feedback is always given to teachers to enable them to improve their practise.

73% of lessons observed this academic year have been OUTSTANDING. We are working with the teachers of the 27% of lessons that were GOOD to bring them to OUTSTANDING as well.

Assessment
All children are now assessed twice a year using the GL Assessments. They are externally marked. These assessments provide valuable information on the progress the children are making and the areas that the staff need to work on.  Reading and spelling are assessed twice a year using the YARC assessments.

From November 2015-Jun 2016 the children achieved the following:

Maths:

  • 88% of children made expected or better than expected progress.
  • 66% of children made double or higher expected progress.
  • 40% of children made 3 times or higher expected progress.
  • 4 children went up 2 whole Levels in the 6 months between assessments.

English:

  • 67% of children made expected or better than expected progress.
  • 52% of children made double or higher expected progress.
  • 30% of children made 3 times or higher expected progress.
  • 4 children went up 2 whole Levels in the 6 months between assessments.

These results are based on the average child making the expected progress of 2 sublevels during the course of a year. These results are particularly impressive considering that all our children have specific learning difficulties ranging from dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, ASD, ADD, ADHD etc. or a combination of these. Out of the 70 children at the school in June 2016, 12 had Statements of Education Needs or the equivalent. These assessments allow us to monitor the progress the children make with their reading and spelling. 


Pupil Questionnaire

In September 2016 we completed OFSTED pupil questionnaires with the following results:

I enjoy school 97%
My school helps me to be healthy 94%
I feel safe when I am at school 99%
I learn a lot in lessons 100%
Behaviour is good at my school 97%
Adults in my school care about me 100%
Adults at school are interested in my views 100%
I know how well I am doing at school 88%
Adults explain to me how to improve my work 99%
My school helps me to get ready to move into my next class 94%
The Headteacher and Senior Staff in my school do a good job 97%

The results are very promising. The only area of slight concern is the results to Question 8 where 88% of children were happy in knowing how well they were doing in school. This means that 12% were not sure.  We have responded to the 12% of pupils who may not be sure how they are doing at school by updating our Marking and Reporting Policy to improve further how we feedback information to pupils.


Conclusion

The school has made huge strides over the last 18 months. We are very fortunate to have an incredibly well qualified staff and a staff/pupil ration of 1:3. We currently have 69 children at school and 26 very well qualified members of staff.

The school development plan for the next 18-24 months will deliver further improvements. We want to ensure that we offer the very best education possible for our children to help ensure that they do achieve their very best.

Andrew Day, Head Teacher
 

 


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