Newark Orchard School is a vibrant, creative and inclusive school and its ethos focuses upon Individual Growth, Individual People which underpins all policies and practices to ensure all pupil needs are met and achievement secured. The school is a generic special school which recently moved to brand new, purpose-built premises It currently caters for 142 pupils from age 3 -18 who present with an extremely diverse range of needs with the profile continuing to change over recent years seeing a significant increase in pupils with ASD to 63%. The remainder of the cohort includes 4% PMLD, 19% SLD, 3% MLD, & 11% SEMH.
Also situated within the building is a specialist ASD hub which offers limited places to pupils with ASD and SEMH who are unable to sustain a mainstream placement due to a range of associated needs. The school is currently being extended to accommodate a further 30 pupils, 12 of which will attend a specialist primary ASD hub. This is in response to a growing number of younger pupils requiring specialist provision of this sort. The further 18 additional spaces will be provided across the school in response to the need for further special school places in Nottinghamshire. It is planned that this extension will be completed by January 2023 increasing to 170 on roll. The school has significantly grown in numbers over the last 7 years from 88 pupils to that of 170 pupils by January 2023
All pupils have an Education, Health Care Plan (EHCP) and are placed at the school via an admissions procedure administered by the local authority. As Nottinghamshire is an inclusive authority, this means that the pupils have increasingly complex needs. The number of pupils presenting with additional mental health issues and challenging behaviour is increasing as is the number of pupils with a diagnosis of ASD. Across the primary department, the majority of pupils are presenting with complex ASD, severe learning difficulties and nonverbal communication. Careful consideration is given to class groupings so that all pupils’ needs are met appropriately and safely and future provision is planned to meet the needs of the changing population of the school.
The curriculum offer is diverse, catering for the needs of pupils from early Engagement through to Level 1 qualifications
The school considers views of families and other agencies to ensure that all aspects of the pupils’ needs are being met as far as possible.
Social Background of students
- 41% of pupils claim free school meals
- 7% are looked after children and 6% have previously been in care or are living with relatives on a care order.
- 3% are part of the large travelling community in the Newark area
- 6% have English as a second language
Particular Areas of Strength
- An ethos of ‘Individual Growth, Individual People’ which values all members of the school community.
- High expectations and aspirations are evident and result in good learning and relationships throughout the school
- All staff have been involved in creating the curriculum intent. The Curriculum was redesigned in 2020 and has recently been reviewed and updated in response to the cohort of pupils. Pupils are motivated to learn as a result of our innovative tailored, flexible curriculum. Curriculum design is a major strength of the leadership team. The high staff moral and dedication of the teachers to provide the very best experience for all pupils means that all staff are completely on board with delivering a personalised curriculum to the pupils and are now knowledgeable about progression across all subjects.
- A variety of accredited courses and examinations on offer resulting in the vast majority of pupils moving on to college placements or employment
- A Tailor-made Assessment Pathway which recognises diversity and ensures programmes are adapted to meet the needs of all pupils
- The school quickly identified the need to adapt the quality assurance process to include Home Learning and the Recovery Curriculum to ensure that the provision for all the pupils continued to be of a good standard during the pandemic and beyond
- Overcoming barriers to learning and achievement as shown by the engagement and all-round progress made by the pupils
- Life skills, SMSC and RSHE are promoted throughout the school and are an important aspect of school life; it is the backbone to everything we do and supports the school ethos.
- The Travel Training Programme which develops independence and prepares students for adulthood.
- Supporting pupils to manage their behaviour and express their needs appropriately.
- Careers Education which meets the criteria outlined in the Gatsby Benchmark
- Partnerships are in place with many of the mainstream schools in Newark and this has developed over several years. The school supported the role of the Inclusion Lead for Newark when in post and has developed many initiatives over time to support SEND pupils across the area, one of which included The Autism Kite mark, recognised by the Autism Education Trust.
- The school also works closely with the other 10 special schools across Nottinghamshire which includes regular network meetings for the Head Teachers, School Business Leaders and Health Leaders. This collaborative approach ensures that good practice and initiatives are shared. This network was extremely strong throughout the COVID pandemic when the schools supported one another during this difficult time.
- The school works closely with the Local Authority and is responsive to developing the provision to meet the increasing demands for specialist provision.
- The school works closely with visiting Health professionals to ensure continuity of care and open communication.
- The Deputy Head Teachers regularly meet with the school’s link Educational Psychologist and CAMHS representative in order to target support where it is needed most.
- The Team Leader for careers has developed further business links and works closely with Ideas for Careers who is an independent careers advisor.
Significant changes since Ofsted June 2019
- There is now demonstrable and sustainable improvement due to the capacity created both at senior and middle leadership levels A staffing restructure in September 2020 has introduced new roles and responsibilities for SLT, Team Leaders, Level 5 Teaching Assistants and Level 4 Teaching Assistants utilising strengths and aligning roles to need as well as increasing staffing complement with the additional roles of an Assistant Head Teacher ( September 2022),Team Leader for Engagement (January 2022), EHC Coordinator (April 2022), level 5 Teaching Assistant for Behaviour for Learning (September 2022)
- Adjusting to working within a new purpose-built environment has enhanced provision and further building work is facilitating the school in meeting the needs of a larger cohort with an increase in the number of those with SEMH, ASD/SLD and communication needs and those Looked After
- Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on all aspects of school life (see individual sections)
- Governance has seen changes in membership but strength, skill set and resilience has been maintained and a new model of meetings adopted to enable scheme of delegation and functions to be achieved. They have a range of appropriate skills and provides good challenge and support. They are clear in their vision for the school and set high expectations alongside leaders.
A curriculum review has been undertaken to ensure provision and pathways caters for every pupil. Basic core subjects are delivered and a new Life Skills and RHSE curriculum has been introduced as well as a coherent, comprehensive approach to phonics. This has ensured coverage of essential areas and is carefully monitored to assess impact.
- In June 2019 the school was judged by Ofsted to be ‘Good overall with Outstanding in Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare’