A recent Ofsted report at a specialist school in Herefordshire has praised how ‘pupils thrive at the school’.

Westfield School in Leominster was described as ‘good’ in a recent Ofsted inspection that took place on 24th and 25th October.

The report said:

“Pupils thrive at Westfield School. They value the positive relationships they have with staff. Staff are nurturing and caring, and, in turn, pupils are kind to each other. 

“Pupils feel safe and so they are willing to try new things. As a result, pupils achieve well.

“Staff know their pupils exceptionally well. 

“Staff understand pupils’ wants and needs, and so pupils flourish. Parents are extremely positive about their children’s education. 

One parent summed up the staff when they said, ‘They believe in the children and nurture their uniqueness.’ It is because of this that pupils make such good progress from their starting points.

“The school makes sure that pupils are known in their community. Pupils are taught to use the local leisure centre, library, cafes and shops. 

“Older pupils attend local work experience placements, and younger pupils are supported to explore their surroundings. 

“Pupils are prepared well for adulthood.

“Pupils remain part of the school even after they have left. Ex-students visit the school to share their news. Staff support them if they are finding their new placement hard. 

“These continued relationships help current pupils feel confident that they can be successful in the future.

“Every pupil is welcomed and included at Westfield School. The school has made sure that the well-planned curriculum is flexible. It builds from each child’s starting point and matches their individual needs. Teachers have strong subject knowledge. They make regular checks on pupils’ learning to make sure that pupils are making the progress they should. 

“Students in the sixth form follow a curriculum that matches their talents and interests. 

“They can choose to learn about things that interest them, such as radio production, driving or plant care. 

“Well-considered work experience helps students to make the right choices about their future placements.

“The teaching of communication is a strength. Pupils sign, use symbols and speak with confidence. Children in Nursery and Reception happily engage in morning routines with their peers at the start of the day. They learn to communicate well with others.

“The school has prioritised reading. There is a well-considered phonics curriculum in place. Staff use adapted materials to make sure that pupils understand what they are reading. Pupils practise reading books that match the sounds they are learning. 

“Older pupils learn to follow and write instructions to prepare them to be independent. Pupils enjoy choosing books from the well-stocked library.

“Personal, social and health education (PSHE) is threaded through all aspects of the school. Pupils learn about keeping safe, about careers and about money so that they are ready for their next steps. 

“Each year, students in the sixth form attend a week-long residential. They learn how to plan, buy and prepare meals, plan activities and share living spaces with others. They are taught to become increasingly independent.

“Pupils enjoy a wide range of trips and visits. 

“They visit places of worship and a local farm, and they have strong links with the local church. They visit the theatre and sing in local school concerts. Older pupils visit local colleges and adult placements to help them choose the most appropriate next steps after they leave the school.

“Westfield School is a calm and purposeful learning environment. Pupils are taught to identify their emotions so that they can begin to manage their behaviours. Pupils learn to be accepting of one another’s difficulties and to look out for one another. 

“Pupils who are finding it tricky to manage their behaviours are supported through focused behaviour plans. 

“Staff are adept at spotting the smallest signs that pupils may need help and so make sure that pupils’ needs are met.

The headteacher leads with compassion. She is a determined advocate for pupils in the school. She works with exceptional drive and commitment. This ensures that pupils receive a highly effective education. 

“However, too many systems rely on the hard work of a small number of leaders, and some work, such as policy development, is at risk of slipping as a result.

“Those responsible for governance are knowledgeable and committed. They appreciate that leaders in the school work tirelessly and support them by prioritising aspects of their work. 

“However, this means that some important tasks do not get completed. Although those responsible for governance have reviewed the leadership capacity in the school, the actions they have taken do not address this well enough.”

Full report – https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50234556