Briarwood Post 16 – Overall Effectiveness

“Pupils in the sixth form make good progress. They are entered for a range of external courses that they can build upon when they leave school. The pupils are helped to run the ‘BriarBiz’, gaining enterprise and work-based skills. Here, pupils sell vegetable bags containing seasonal organic vegetables, print hoodies and make Christmas cakes (in season)”.

 “The sixth form is good. Senior leaders have increased the range of ‘working life’ experiences and activities for pupils”.

Ofsted, 2014

Since our last inspection in March 2014, Briarwood’s Sixth form has grown and developed significantly and is now situated in a self-contained and purpose built provision. Alongside reflecting the Briarwood ethos of Enjoy-Engage-Learn we are working towards achieving Sixth form provision of outstanding quality whilst ensuring that we concentrate on Preparing for Adulthood outcomes. Progress in working towards this aspiration includes the following:

  • Opening of a £6 million dedicated sixth form centre in September 2016, to include three classrooms, an art and vocational room, a common room and food technology areas
  • Identified as a centre of excellence by awarding body ASDAN with recognition of the strong contribution Briarwood Sixth form makes to supporting a wider network of practitioners
  • A new and improved curriculum in response to The Children and Families act 2014 and consequently the introduction of Preparing for Adulthood outcomes of; Independent living, Employment, Health and Community
  • Study Programmes have been developed and fully meet the principles of DfE guidance providing progression, stretch, WEX, and balance between accredited and non-accredited learning.
  • A greater focus on functional literacy and numeracy which is both embedded and delivered explicitly according to the needs of individual pupils
  • A fully inclusive approach with Post 16 pupils from Nexus (Briarwood Alternative Education Provision) and our PMLD cohort joining the SLD class to share the new building
  • Introduction of an accessible Post 16 Orchestra which uses ground breaking assistive technology to enable every child to independently participate in playing instruments
  • All pupils, including those who are part time, leave Briarwood sixth form with a minimum of an Award in Personal Progress with the majority achieving a Certificate and Diploma
  • A more detailed assessment system to scrutinise and monitor progress across the departments as well as recording attainment of qualifications
  • A clear and cohesive map of qualifications with flexibility for teachers to tailor programmes to fit their pupil’s prior attainment and to enable them to make progress.
  • Meaningful work experience opportunities including weekly WEX at an agricultural farm where pupils are able to complete repetitive tasks in a real work context
  • A developing partnership with the Sixth forms at three other LDD schools in Bristol enabling an innovative collaboration which sees pupils from all four schools meet and take part in courses together
  • Strong links with adult service providers and the PFA team to ensure that pathway planning is effective and pupil led, in response to the identified individual needs of each pupil
  • A tracking system to record and monitor transition work and destinations alongside a named transitions lead who works closely with health, care and education

Leadership and Management

“Leadership and management are good. Middle leaders are increasingly effective in initiating improved ways of doing things and helping senior leaders monitor and evaluate the work of the school. The leadership and management of the Early Years Foundation Stage and the sixth form are good”.

The Briarwood Sixth form lead has high expectations that all young people will make excellent progress and will achieve to their fullest potential. Rigorous monitoring of teaching, learning and assessment ensures that learners are accessing provision which supports their development in all areas. A particular emphasis is placed on relevant and contextual education with our main aim being to prepare pupils for the journey into adulthood. At the core of all that we do, is the assertion that we must prepare pupils for their next destinations, whether that is within educational or social care settings.

The Post 16 lead vigorously pursues excellence as recognised by feedback from her achievement of National Professional Qualification for Middle Leadership and she is currently working towards the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership. The Post 16 lead is a team teach trainer (positive behaviour support and physical interventions) and the school EVC (Educational visits coordinator), responsible for overseeing Offsite visits thus providing necessary expertise for such a community immersed curricular offer. Alongside this the sixth form benefits from the expertise of those with whole school responsibility for assessment, teaching and learning, attendance and behaviour. In addition:

  • Post 16 benefits from the safeguarding training of the head and senior leadership team. All staff receive regular safeguarding and WRAP training.
  • The sixth form department benefits from the whole school performance management, lesson observations and CPD cycles to improve teaching and spread good practice across the school.
  • Development of robust assessment systems and detailed analysis alongside a school based progression guidance to ensure that all pupils are making progress in line with their peers

The Post 16 lead has set up and leads a collaborative and inclusive project for all post 16 pupils from the Bristol wide learning difficulties schools (LDD). This has involved multi professional working with a number of external providers and management of resources, both human and financial.

  • This has supported the sharing of good practice across special schools and sixth forms ensuring consistency and equity for pupils with SEN within the local authority.
  • This has provided opportunities to influence strategic decisions and the planning of future provision across the city.
  • Recognised as pioneering, the Post 16 lead has presented the LDD model to head teachers and Governors across all special schools and to decision makers at the Bristol local authority and other key stakeholders such as City of Bristol and Weston colleges, with the aim of improving both Educational entitlement and quality of provision across the city.Since the previous inspection, the Post 16 lead has significantly improved transitions for pupils leaving Briarwood school through the introduction of the following:
  • A newly created data monitoring system to ensure that transitions are well planned for and managed
  • Created an extensive support network with other schools to influenced strategic thinking around EHCPs and future education providers as well as ensuring equity between schools
  • Worked closely with the PFA (Preparing For Adulthood) social care and educational teams to ensure that young people who have an entitlement to an EHCP are able to get them, and that those who do not qualify, are on suitable pathways
  • Worked multi professionally with a range of future destinations providers to improve practice and ensure that the needs of pupils can be well met in high quality and well suited provisions
  • Taken a lead with child health teams and the adult Community Learning Disability teams to ensure that a robust system is in place to support the sharing of vital information and safe and smooth transitions, particularly for those with complex medical needs and/or challenging behaviour
  • Presented to a large audience at University West of England to increase awareness and understanding of the issues faced when supporting young people with learning disability and challenging behaviour to transition into adult services

Areas for Improvement

  • Develop coaching as a strategy to raise performance and support teachers to identify their own developmental areas.
  • Continue to develop and strengthen the multi professional links to support the vision of high quality Post 19 provision for all leavers both within educational and social care settings

Quality of teaching, learning, assessment and outcomes for pupils

“Community links are a significant strength. Through the ‘PROPS’ charity there are good opportunities for pupils aged 19 to 25 years to participate in enterprise and vocational work. This enables pupils to prepare for the next steps in their life and to retain supportive links with the school after they leave”

A new and improved curriculum in response to DfE’s 16 – 19 Study Programmes alongside, The Children and Families act 2014, and the introduction of Preparing for Adulthood outcomes, has increased opportunities for pupils to access a challenging, relevant and broad curriculum. A curriculum based on PFA outcomes; Independent living, Employment, Health and Community sits alongside a range of possible study programmes which enable achievement of nationally recognised qualifications.

By June 2016

  • 100% of pupils achieved nationally recognised qualifications
  • For the first year all YR 14s got an ASDAN Certificate in Personal Progress
  • All Yr. 13 and YR 12 got an Award in Personal Progress.

Since our last inspection, the teaching in Post 16 has remained effective with the majority of lessons good or outstanding. This has been sustained over a period of immense upheaval including moving site every year for the past three years and long term and ongoing sickness of one teacher.

Outcomes for Sept 2014 – July 2015 showed that 83% of lessons were good or outstanding.

Outcomes for Sept 2015 – July 2016 showed that 100% of lessons were good or outstanding.

In Sept 2016 the whole department moved into a new build and two out of three teachers were off long term sick. Despite this challenging transition; Outcomes for Sept 2016 – Feb 2017 have so far showed 50% of lesson as good or outstanding and during a Learning walk in Feb 2017 100% of lessons observed were deemed good or outstanding.  During the learning walk, participants commented on the high engagement, enjoyment and celebration of learning of the pupils in the Post 16 department.

A cohesive accreditation map has been created providing equity across cohorts and breadth and balance across the curriculum areas. Importantly, it offers flexibility of accredited modules supporting the introduction of flexible individual study programmes resulting in the following outcomes for pupils:

  • 100% of pupils achieved a nationally recognised Award/Certificate/Diploma in Personal Progress in June 2016 (Briarwood sixth form was identified as a centre of excellence in Sept 2016)
  • 100% of pupils are involved in running successful and profitable business enterprise projects
  • Development of the new curriculum has supported teachers to plan a more immersive experience to raise levels of engagement and positively affect outcomes.
  • Improved work experience opportunities including a local agricultural farm where pupils are able to complete repetitive tasks in a real work context
  • Development of interventions including; attention autism, intensive interaction, sensory diets, wellbeing, individual support programmes, has meant each pupils gaps are identified and we are working to ensure all the pupils needs are met to best support progress.
  • Community access opportunities have been widened and our Nexus cohort are now regularly accessing suitable activities including WEX and supermarket trips successfully
  • All leavers are accessing courses offsite with peers from other schools enabling generalisation of skills in readiness for transition
  • A large number of pupils are members of the school orchestra and have mastered use of highly adapted assistive technology to participate in performances including the Colston Hall
  • The innovative LDD sixth form partnership has enabled pupils to take part in new courses including shin tae do, sculpture, yoga, sensology, enterprise, music and dance with peers and specialist teachers from within the partnership as well as:

– Shared good practice and resources including expertise in specific subject areas

– A consistent and equitable offer across schools within the local authority

– An opportunity for full inclusion with young adults who will form future peer groups and share services

  • A more detailed fine level assessment system to scrutinise and monitor progress individually, per class and across the departments supports identification of pupils who need interventions
  • Introduction of a recording attainment to monitor breadth and attainment of qualifications.

Areas for development

  • Develop coaching and mentoring programme alongside the Deputy Headteacher to ensure that all teaching is consistently good or outstanding.
  • Explore an accessible sports option for pupils in partnership with other schools and external partners
  • Ensure that all staff working within the department are competent ICT users to support delivery and evidencing ASDAN qualifications

Personal development, behaviour and welfare

The purpose built centre has provided dedicated building designed to boost independence and as a result pupils are confident and conduct themselves well.  This has provided an important opportunity for inclusion as it has enabled pupils with a diverse range of difficulties and barriers, to learn together and share space, as they will in adult services. High quality inclusive activities have included:

  • A big British bake off competition within the department
  • Planning, decorating, catering for and hosting ‘Christmas karaoke’ for peers in key stage 4
  • Planning, decorating, catering for and hosting a Barn dance
  • Cross department groups accessing learning both on and offsite
  • Accessible work experience at an agricultural farm
  • An accessible school orchestra using assistive technology

Young people who formally accessed our Nexus provision are now integrated into sixth form which has enabled them to access community based activities including work experience. Despite this big transition, they have embraced and risen to the challenge and incidences of challenging behaviour have continued to remain low.

Interventions are in place to support those who have been identified as being in need of extra support including:

  • For pupils who have identified behavioural needs, PHP’s are developed and followed to support staff to work in a consistent and effective way. In line with whole school policy the assistant head support staff practice and systems of recording and evaluation mirror that described in our whole school policy.
  • All pupils have an engagement profile
  • Attendance in Post 16 is in line with the main school. In the school year 2015-2016, 3 pupils received attendance interventions in line with school policy, mainly due to medical concerns.

We have access to a family link worker and work closely with parents to support them to navigate the transition process and keep them fully informed of what to expect as well as supporting them to apply for and maintain benefits once their young people reach 18. Parents are informed of their child’s progress and achievement through annual reviews and EHCP meetings and through parents meetings and formal reporting.

We have an accessible Post 16 Orchestra which uses ground breaking assistive technology to enable every child to independently participate. This was initially set up and supported by Open up Music who found ways to make instruments and music fit around the young people by utilising eye gaze technology, ipads and traditional instruments. This has resulted in successful collaboration with two other school Orchestras who joined us to perform at the Colston Hall and also at the whole school achievement event. Two members of the Post 16 staff team have since taken the lead with support from Bristol Plays Music and have received technical training to ensure that this excellent opportunity remains available to pupils.

Pupils demonstrate that they feel and are safe with no incidences of bullying since arriving at the new centre. They are proud of their sixth form and are encouraged to take responsibility for their centre and are helpful and supportive to each other and staff. Pupils conduct themselves well and contribute to the wider school community by planning and delivering activities which benefits younger peers.

Pupils leave school with a diverse and individualised portfolio of qualifications ensuring that they do not leave school and simply repeat previous learning within an adult service.  Achievements are recognised during weekly assemblies where certificates are issued as well as at an end of year whole school achievement service. Pupil well-being is of high priority and pupils are able to take part in creative and therapeutic activities with work being displayed for all to enjoy. We contribute greatly to the whole school achieving Gold Arts Mark.

Areas for Development

  • To further develop relationships with parents by holding annual workshops to support understanding of issues such as the Mental capacity act, transitions, changes to benefits and services available Post 19
  • To continue to work with a range of external providers to further widen activities available to pupils.