Ofsted Inspection 2021

Inspection of an outstanding school: Greenmead School

Inspection dates: 3 and 4 November 2021


Greenmead School continues to be an outstanding school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils really enjoy attending Greenmead School. The nurturing atmosphere helps pupils to
thrive. Staff are experts in communicating with pupils. They are also skilled in helping
pupils to develop their confidence.

Leaders have high expectations of what pupils are able to achieve. Through carefully
planned learning, pupils develop their knowledge and understanding very well in all
curriculum areas. Staff also ensure that pupils gain valuable knowledge and experience of
the wider world. Pupils’ needs are understood and planned for effectively, and staff make
sure that all pupils are included in the planned learning. As a result, pupils achieve
exceptionally well.

The school is calm, friendly and welcoming. Pupils said that they feel safe. They get on
very well with staff and with each other. Pupils value the friendships that they make and
enjoy the time they spend together. All of this contributes to pupils’ excellent behaviour in
school. Staff encourage pupils to follow the five school values in all aspects of school life.

Bullying is highly unusual. If any incidents were to happen, staff know how to deal with
them effectively. Well-trained staff help pupils to cope with any anxieties or worries that
they may have. This means that any friendship issues very rarely escalate.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

In each subject, leaders have planned pathways that set out what pupils will learn and
when. These pathways are both broad and ambitious. The teaching of new knowledge
and skills is carefully sequenced. Learning is introduced in manageable chunks that
recognise pupils’ existing knowledge and then build on it.

Staff and external therapists meet regularly to agree how best to support pupils’ learning.
Each pupil has personalised goals to support their progression through the curriculum.
Teachers and health professionals work together closely to review and refine these goals.

For example, input from speech and language therapists helps staff to build up pupils’
communication and social skills step by step. Pupils behave exceptionally well around the
school and low-level disruption is rare. They are enthusiastic about their learning and try

Developing pupils’ ability to communicate is at the core of the curriculum. All staff are
experts in developing pupils’ language and communication skills. They use signs, symbols
and pictures to help pupils to express their feelings and to make choices. Over time,
pupils grow in confidence and begin to communicate verbally, supported by staff and
other prompts. Some pupils have several systems in place to support them with
communication. This means that they are always able to make themselves understood,
wherever they are and whatever equipment they have.

Reading is also very prominent across the school. Leaders ensure that staff are trained to
teach and promote reading effectively. Teachers are skilled in developing pupils’ reading
ability and check pupils’ understanding carefully. They ensure that pupils learn phonics
knowledge, along with other reading and communication strategies, so that pupils get
better at reading over time. Pupils enjoy reading regularly.

The mathematics curriculum is well planned. Teachers have strong subject knowledge.
They organise learning so that pupils build very effectively on what they have already
learned. Pupils are encouraged to use and apply their mathematical knowledge regularly,
including when learning in other subjects. This helps to deepen their understanding.

Support for pupils’ wider development is of exceptional quality. This begins as soon as
children join in the early years and continues throughout the school. By the time pupils
leave, they are well prepared to move on to the next stage of their lives. For example,
staff help pupils to become more confident in different social settings and learn how to
get along with others.

Leaders and staff make sure that the curriculum helps pupils to be ambitious about their
futures. Pupils’ learning is linked to the wider community and is relevant to pupils’ needs
and interests. For example, this term pupils are taking part in a singing project with
another local school and will perform songs in the community once it ends.

Parents and carers appreciate that staff are approachable and always on hand to help
their children. They also value the way in which the curriculum is planned to meet pupils’
needs. Leaders ensure that parents are kept well informed about the next steps in their
children’s learning. Parents are very happy with the school.

Leaders have positive relationships with staff and are well aware of any workload
pressures that exist. They continue to take positive steps to reduce unnecessary
workload. Governors are knowledgeable and understand their role in the school. They
challenge and support leaders appropriately.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Staff work together as a team to keep pupils safe. They know pupils and their families
extremely well. Staff are highly vigilant about keeping pupils safe because they are well
trained. Regular training updates ensure that safeguarding is firmly at the forefront of
everyone’s mind.

Staff know about the risks that pupils may face. They report any concerns about a pupil’s
welfare promptly. Leaders work effectively with other agencies and professionals to keep
pupils safe.

Parents said that their children are kept safe in school. Pupils are able to explain who they
would ask for help if they had a problem and are clear that they feel safe at school.


When we have judged a school to be outstanding, we will then normally go into the
school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains outstanding. This is
called a section 8 inspection of a good or outstanding school, because it is carried out
under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on a
section 8 inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a
higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a section 5 inspection. Usually this
is within one to two years of the date of the section 8 inspection. If we have serious
concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the
section 8 inspection as a section 5 inspection immediately.

This is the second section 8 inspection since we the school to be outstanding in January

Information about this school

Greenmead School specialises in supporting pupils with severe learning difficulties and
in addition those with physical disabilities, communication difficulties and complex
medical needs. Some pupils have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.

Information about this inspection

This was the first routine inspection the school received since the COVID-19 pandemic
began. Inspectors discussed the impact of the pandemic with school leaders and have
taken that into account in their evaluation.

Inspectors met with the headteacher and other senior leaders. They also met with a
range of staff and therapists and spoke with a representative from the local authority
and with four governors.

Inspectors carried out deep dives in these subjects: reading and communication;
mathematics; personal, social, health and economic education; and creative arts. This
involved visiting classes, looking at pupils’ work and speaking with pupils, subject
leaders and teachers.

Inspectors also looked at samples of pupils’ books and learning in other subjects.

The inspection team talked to leaders about safeguarding, staff recruitment and
training relating to safeguarding.

Inspectors also scrutinised a range of other school documents, including the school’s
self-evaluation and school improvement plan.

The 19 written responses to Ofsted’s online questionnaire, Ofsted Parent View, and 14
responses to the staff survey were also taken into account.

You can download the full inspection report from the downloads section below, alternatively you
can request a paper copy by contacting the school.

You can view Greenmead Schools Ofsted webpage here: Ofsted | Greenmead School

You can read what parent / carers have told Ofsted about Greenmead school and share your own
views here: Ofsted | Parent View

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Photo of a pupil at Greenmead School
Photo of a pupil at Greenmead School
Photo of a pupil at Greenmead School

Friends of Greenmead

The Friends of Greenmead (FOG) is the registered charity of Greenmead School. It depends on the support of parents, friends and staff for its success. Through FOG’s fundraising activities, Greenmead pupils have access to a range of facilities which would not otherwise be available. This includes funding Music Therapy. New parents are encouraged to join. If you would like to make a donation to the school please contact the school office or go to www.justgiving.com

Charity Name: Friends of Greenmead Charity No.: 1012795