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Kent Special Schools and Units

Index

  Profound, severe and complex needs
(also usually including pupils with severe ASD)

 The Beacon, Folkestone. This new school opened in September 2015 in new buildings. It was formed from an amalgamation of two previous Special Schools, Foxwood in Hythe, catering for children with PSCN, and  Highview in Folkestone, which had operated as a Federation under the leadership of Neil Birch, who remains head of the new school. It provides for children aged 4-19 years with Profound, Severe and Complex Needs (PSCN). in new buildings with a statutory roll of 270 pupils, but with 357 in October 2019, 

The school is to open a £4 million annexe in Walmer in September 2020, to admit a further 240 pupils with an ASD diagnosis. It will be a refurbishment on the site of the now closed Walmer Science College

The school has an Outstanding performance and reputation, with its Outstanding Ofsted in February 2019, building on two more at  Foxwood and Highview in 2014. All three schools achieved this feat under the leadership of  Mr Birch who is half of  a powerful duo with his wife Abbie Birch, Executive Head of the Cedar Federation in Gravesham, including Ifield School, itself a twice Outstanding Special School, see below. 

The Beacon Ofsted Performance
 
Inspection
Type
Outcome
Feb 2020*
No Formal
Designation
Safeguarding
Effective
Feb 2019 Full Outstanding
Jun 2014** Full Outstanding
 
* Following complaints to Ofsted. I have independently heard complaints about bullying at the school, but have not been able to verify these.
** Two separate Inspections as both Foxwood and Highview Schools, both judged Outstanding.

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 Five Acre Wood School, Maidstone. An outstanding all age (2-19) day District Special School for children and young people with Profound, Severe and Complex Learning Difficulties, including Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Designated number 465 pupils. total roll October 2019, 515 children, including 21 part time three year olds, by some way the largest Special School in Kent. The designated number of places is to increase from 465 to 600 (including Satellite and Nursery provision) from September 2020. The majority of the sixth form (Functional Learning Approach) and Formal Learning Approach Secondary classes are based at the Snodland satellite, and there is another satellite provision at Palace Wood Primary School, with 30 pupils in a KS1 and a KS2 class. 

Five Acre Wood Ofsted Performance
 
Inspection
Type
Outcome
Mar 2019 Short Continues Outstanding
Mar 2015 Full Outstanding
Jan 2012 Full Good
 
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Foreland Fields School The, BroadstairsForeland Fields, a Community Special School,  caters for around 220 pupils with Profound, Severe and Complex Needs including ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder), ranging from Nursery to Sixth Form. It also caters for Hearing Impairment or Deaf pupils. The school currently has 249 pupils on roll including 32 in the Sixth Form and is set in a new, purpose built, school completed in February 2017.  

Foreland FieldsOfsted Performance
 
Inspection
Type
Outcome
Nov 2017 Short Continues Good
Jun 2013 Full Good
Jun 2010 Full Good
 
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 Ifield School Gravesend. Foundation co-educational school for 246 pupils aged 4 to 19 years of age with Profound, Severe and Complex learning needs, including Communication and Interaction difficulties.  The majority of pupils have learning difficulties associated with Autism, Speech, Language and Communication and, in addition, some pupils have complex medical conditions.It is set in premises, which were mainly rebuilt around 2010. The school has a strong collaboration with North Kent College situated about one mile from the school site. 16 – 19 year old students attend Ifield Sixth Form based at North Kent College.  Ifield Sixth Form and North Kent College’s supported learning provision, Gateway, have recently moved into bespoke accommodation. Since September 2014 a small number of students have made the transition to Ifield’s Post-19 pilot provision where they follow programmes leading to supported  employment or supported living.

Personal Note: I became Chairman of Governors at Ifield in 2005, being parachuted in as the school was encountering difficulties created by members of the Governing Body. I remained Chairman for six years and a governor for twelve and keep up a connection with the school, Outstanding in so many ways, of which I am very proud. Ifield is federated with next door Kings Farm Primary School which has soared in terms of performance and in every respect since the union four years ago. Has enjoyed three outstanding Headteachers in my time, including current Executive Head, Abbie Birch, ex-HMI, with a close connection to The Beacon, also Ofsted Outstanding (above). Her two predecessors were both OBEs, most recently Pam Jones, a national figure on the education stage.  The school invented the concept of the SMILE Centre, offering a multi layered resource centre for professionals and parents, a concept which has subsequently been rolled out across Kent, along with many other initiatives.  

Ifield Ofsted Performance
 
Inspection
Type
Outcome
May 2018 Short Continues Outstanding
Feb 2014 Full Outstanding
Jun 2011 Full Outstanding
 
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 Meadowfield School, Sittingbourne.  Another Outstanding Ofsted School that serves pupils aged 4-19 with profound, severe and complex needs including autism.The school is built for 320 pupils, although it has a designated number of 348, currently (Jan 2020) with 309 including 38 in the Sixth Form, and also includes Assessment and Observation pre-school. 
Meadowfield Ofsted Performance
 
Inspection
Type
Outcome
Mar 2019 Short Continues Outstanding
Nov 2014 Full Outstanding
Oct 2011 Full Good

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Milestone Academy, New Ash Green, for children aged 2-19 with Profound, Severe or Complex Needs; Severe Communication & Interaction Difficulties (with  Autism). It is the only Kent Special School that is an academy, part of the  Leigh Academy Trust, based in Dartford, although there will be the new Snowfields Academy opening at Bearsted in September  for pupils with ASD. Another Kent Special School with three consecutive Outstanding Ofsteds. Claims to be one of the largest schools of its type in England, with 345 pupils, but Beacon School with 360 and about to open a new annex, and Five Acre Wood with 550 with the same specialism are two larger schools in Kent.  

 Milestone Ofsted Performance
 
Inspection
Type
Outcome
Dec 2019 Full Continues Outstanding
Mar 2016 Short Outstanding
Nov 2011 Full Outstanding
 
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Nexus Foundation Special School, Tonbridge, It is the Tonbridge and Malling District school for children and young people with profound, severe and complex needs, many of whom are on the Autistic Spectrum catering for children. Previously called Ridge View School, it failed its Ofsted in 2016 following a serious safeguarding incident in February 2015, the Inspectors also finding other multiple issues. This inspection happened just a year after the school was found Outstanding.  Not connected, but the school was completely rebuilt on a new site in 2017. The following year it opened a satellite provision at the far end of the Tonbridge and Malling District adjacent to Wouldham Primary School (itself also rebuilt) to accommodate an additional 48 pupils. The school changed its name and the long serving head after the highs and lows, presumably to achieve a new start, before the 2019 inspection. This found that  'While the school is improving, it is still not providing a good quality of education'. The new premises are built for 228 pupils but only had 197 in January 2020, including 12 in the Nursery provision and 17 in the Sixth Form, unlike most other Special Schools, full to capacity. 
 
 Nexus  Ofsted Performance
 
Inspection
Type
Outcome
Sep 2019 Full Requires Improvement
May 2017 Full Requires Improvement
Nov 2016 Full Serious Weaknesses
Jun 2015 Full Outstanding
Nov 2011 Full Good
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 Oakley School,Tunbridge Wells. It is the District school for children and young people with profound, severe and complex needs, (including autism), aged from 2 to 18 years, all of whom have severe and/or complex needs, with associated communication and learning difficulties. Total roll 220 including 38 in the Sixth Form. There is an Executive Headteacher for Oakley School and Oakley College,  a recently established college provision in Tonbridge for 18 to 25 year olds with learning difficulties in West Kent and surrounding areas.

 Oakley  Ofsted Performance
 
Inspection
Type
Outcome
Apr 2019 Short Continues Good
Mar 2015 Full Good
Jul 2013 Monitoring Effective Action
Mar 2013 Full Requires Improvement
 

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St Nicholas' School, Canterbury.  for pupils aged 4-19 with severe, profound and complex learning needs. It is situated in the historic city of Canterbury and serves the Canterbury district. St. Nicholas operates on a number of sites and works closely with partner schools and Canterbury College. It has 285 designated places, with currently 293 pupils, including 40 in the Sixth Form. 

 
St Nicholas Ofsted Performance
 
Inspection
Type
Outcome
Jul 2018 Short Continues Good
Mar 2014 Full Good
 

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Wyvern School, Ashford. For children with severe, profound and complex needs that caters for learners from 3-19. The school has 270 designated places and 306 pupils on roll, including 39 in the Sixth Form. 

 
 Wyvern  Ofsted Performance
 
Inspection
Type
Outcome
Sep 2017 Short Continues Good
Sep 2012 Full Good
 

 

 

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Last modified on Sunday, 26 July 2020 17:35
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