A POORLY planned curriculum and lack of leadership saw a special school ranked inadequate as it dropped two Ofsted grades.
Inspectors said staff at Newman School had not taken the correct steps to address declining performance or evaluate the school’s work.
Staff did not have knowledge of the safeguarding risks that pupils may face and not all the team had skills to manage pupils in crisis, Ofsted said.
A team of three inspectors visited Newman — based on East Bawtry Road in Whiston — in November and the report was published last Monday (14).
The paper said: “Senior leaders, including governors, have not taken appropriate action to ensure that safeguarding arrangements are effective.
“Staff do not have knowledge of the safeguarding risks that pupils may face.
“Leaders have not ensured that timely and appropriate action is taken to protect pupils who are at risk.
“Not all staff have the skills to manage pupils in crisis. Behaviour plans are not reviewed regularly. “When pupils are in crisis, this lack of up-to-date information and training means that staff struggle to respond effectively to support pupils’ needs.”
Part of the problem was a lack of high expectations of pupils, Ofsted said, with a poorly planned curriculum and lack of ambition hampering youngsters’ progress.
Reading was highlighted as a weakness. Staff had not been trained correctly on phonics, Ofsted found, which meant the weakest readers among the pupils were not receiving effective help to catch up quickly.
The report added: “Pupils are taught how to keep themselves safe through weekly personal, social, health and economic lessons. This includes how to stay safe online, and about healthy relationships.
“However, as with other areas of the school curriculum, leaders are not checking that pupils have a strong understanding of the important concepts that are taught.”
The school’s inclusive environment was praised, while the staff were described as attentive, kind and skilful at listening and responding to pupils’ verbal and non-verbal communications.
“Pupils enjoy lessons,” Ofsted’s report said. “Despite the shortcomings in the school’s safeguarding arrangements, pupils feel happy and safe at school. Pupils say that staff resolve any issues involving bullying quickly.”
Another strength highlighted by inspectors was a “preparing for adulthood” course, where pupils are introduced to employers and supported in engaging with the wider community.
But the school’s overall rating was inadequate, down from good in 2014 and outstanding in its previous two inspection reports of 2011 and 2008.
Ofsted said: “Leaders should ensure that they gather and review appropriate information to accurately evaluate the school’s performance, in order to take prompt action to improve aspects of the school’s work.”
Headteacher Paul Silvester was unavailable for comment this week.