Special school told it has 'no clear curriculum strategy' given worst possible Ofsted rating

A special school has been ordered to improve after being handed a damning inspection report by Ofsted.

By Nick Frame
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 7:35 am

Camphill Wakefield was given an 'inadequate' overall rating, the worst possible outcome, after the findings of the watchdog were published recently.

The school, off Wood Lane, Newmillerdam, is an independent specialist college that provides further education and training for learners with 'high needs' aged from 16 to 25.

Following a three-day visit by inspectors in March, they gave the college the lowest possible mark in three of the five key areas, including the quality of education on offer, the leadership and management and the provisions for those with higher needs.

The college on Wood Lane.

The students' personal development received a 'requires improvement', while only the behaviour and attitudes received a 'good' mark.

A registered charity and a private company - Pennine Camphill Community Limited - Camphill Wakefield offers residential and day provision across a 40-acre site, with most learners attending the college daily.

The campus contains community houses, practical craft workshops, a market garden, a farm and a riding school, and at the time of the inspection, had 66 students on it books.

But the report reads: "Leaders and managers do not have a clear curriculum strategy to support their vision of providing a high-quality curriculum that prepares learners with high needs to transition successfully to adulthood.

"The curriculum is too narrow, offering either a land-based or crafts pathway, and does not support learners well enough to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours that they need to progress to their next steps, particularly in relation to employment.

"Leaders and managers do not have effective oversight of the quality of teaching.

"They have not developed sufficient links with employers to secure enough high-quality work placements for learners."

Following the report, the chief executive officer of Camphill, James Heaton-Jennings, pointed to the inspectors' comments about the school being regarded as a safe environment, that safeguarding is effective, and that the behaviour is good.

He added: "Whilst we are disappointed with the overall grading, it is important to highlight their positive comments, our current situation and our trajectory.

"The inspectors recognised that Camphill Wakefield had been through a significant period of disruption and acknowledged that there is now an effective senior leadership team in place, with a clear understanding of the areas that need to be addressed and a realistic plan to address them.

"They also recognised the considerable progress since the new team was formed in January, however they highlighted that it was too early to be able to evaluate the impact of these changes.

"The absolute fundamentals are in place and strong - we are a safe, caring community, and this is backed by our current CQC Good grade – but Ofsted identified that the structure necessary to measure and evidence educational progress needed more development."

He said that since the inspection, the college has made changes with a new curriculum and says they are confident there will be improvements.