Independent school near Shrewsbury 'requires improvement'
An independent school near Shrewsbury for boys with autism or learning difficulties has been told it requires improvement, with pupils not making enough progress and a number of staff absent.
Cruckton Hall School, in Cruckton, has been visited by Ofsted inspectors who have given it an official rating of ‘requires improvement’.
It says the school, which has 34 pupils, has undergone a major period of change and said teaching in mathematics is “weak”.
Jonathan Keay, lead inspector for Ofsted, said: “Leaders and managers have ensured that the independent school standards are fully met. However, the progress that pupils make is not yet consistently strong across the curriculum.
“Senior leaders have made many difficult decisions and are very committed people.
“However, their oversight of the curriculum and additional funding requires greater rigour.
“There has been a significant amount of change within the school and the Kisimul Group over time. A number of staff are absent from school. Overall, the quality of teaching and the impact it has on learning is variable.
“Assessment systems require development. Assessment criteria do not fully align to teachers’ plans and sequences of learning are sometimes muddled. It is difficult to ascertain how well some pupils are progressing. The teaching of mathematics is weaker than that found in other areas of the curriculum. Some of the curriculum goals established in mathematics are not challenging enough.
“Middle leaders have greater responsibility than in the past and are dedicated. However, they require further training and support to ensure that their evaluation of the school’s effectiveness is accurate.”
Mr Keay did say that the school had made progress since its last inspection.
He added: “A range of improvements have been secured since the additional inspection in September 2018.
“Despite the level of change, the quality of education is better and staff morale is improved.
“Kisimul Group have appointed further leaders who have considerable expertise and experience in this sector.
“They are reflective and want to get things right.
“Staff are positive and committed. Staff build strong relationships with pupils and have developed some exceptional strengths in subjects such as English and the arts.
“Staff work effectively to bring about improvements in pupils’ behaviour and personal development. Pupils want to come to school and attendance is rising.”
A Cruckton Hall School spokesperson said: "“At Cruckton Hall School our focus is on providing high quality education and care for all the children and young people we support.
“Our pupils have highly complex needs and associated challenging behaviours. We work hard to provide them with the support they require to develop the academic and social skills they need to succeed in later life.
“Our latest inspection report highlights a number of areas of strength, reflecting the improvements we have made since Ofsted’s visit in September 2018. We are pleased that it has been recognised that we are fully meeting all independent school standards and that we were rated Good in terms of supporting pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare.
“Ofsted also highlighted the strong relationships built with pupils and our strengths in subjects such as English and the arts.
“Ofsted did however identify some areas where we can improve our provision. We have already begun work to address these points, including the continuing implementation of our new assessment system and the recent appointment of a new headteacher and other senior staff. We are pleased that Ofsted acknowledged the strength and commitment of our newly appointed senior leaders. They will continue the progress made to date in addressing the issues identified by Ofsted.
“We are committed to continuing to provide a high quality learning and care environment for our pupils, so they can have the support they need to flourish in all areas of their learning and development and lead happy and fulfilling lives.”