Hill Top School
Catchment Area, Reviews and Key Information

Post 16
Special school
11 - 19
Community special school

How Does The School Perform?

Ofsted Inspection
Full Report - All Reports

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Pupil/Teacher ratio
Persistent Absence
Pupils first language
not English
Free school meals
NE10 8LT

School Description

The leadership team has maintained the good quality of education in the school since the last inspection. Hill Top School is part of a hard federation with Dryden School, another special school. Following the last inspection, the federation executive headteacher left and another executive headteacher was appointed in January 2015. This senior leader left at the end of autumn term 2017. Governors have recently reviewed the federation leadership and, as result, you were promoted from head of school to headteacher four weeks before the inspection. You are supported in your role by the headteacher at Dryden School, who has responsibility across both schools for safeguarding and the quality of teaching and learning. The school’s broad and balanced curriculum enables pupils to learn practical skills in literacy and numeracy and to develop their personal and social independence. The school’s motto of ‘believe, achieve, succeed’ is evidenced by pupils’ pride in their work and the increasing number of accredited certificates and awards that pupils achieve. Pupils speak confidently about their achievements, and their plans for what they will do when they leave school. Thinking about a recent exam, a pupil in key stage 4 proudly said that he was pleased as he had tried his best. The school’s aim of ‘preparing for adulthood’ is evident throughout the school. Key stage 3 pupils with autism learn independence skills at a local supermarket and in the community. Key stage 4 pupils and those in the sixth form follow a wide range of accredited courses in literacy and numeracy and to develop their vocational skills. For example, a group of key stage 4 pupils successfully completed a course in hairdressing using the school’s hairdressing salon. This experience effectively prepared pupils for work experience placements and part-time work. Pupils are helped to make choices about the next steps in education, employment or training by specialist careers advisors. This support is valued by parents and carers. Although most pupils travel to and from school on school transport, some pupils have learned to travel to school independently using public transport. One carer spoke proudly about her child being able to catch two buses for each journey, to and from school. Pupils with additional complex needs learn practical skills because teachers use carefully chosen activities which also develop pupils’ sensory awareness. Pupils with communication difficulties learn well because staff use symbols, signing and alternative communication strategies effectively. At the last inspection leaders were asked to increase the overall quality of teaching to outstanding, to raise students’ achievements further by ensuring that there is consistent and useful feedback in books and to consistently challenge all students to make the best possible progress. Leaders have reviewed the school’s assessments and progress tracking systems and have recently introduced a more rigorous system for setting targets and recording pupils’ progress. A review of pupils’ workbooks across the curriculum demonstrates that the school’s marking and feedback policy is implemented consistently and that pupils are given constructive feedback to improve their work. Leaders were also asked to develop the role and impact of middle leaders. Leaders, including governors, described the development of a more open culture in school where staff have a shared ownership for every pupil’s progress. Leaders have developed the role and impact of subject leaders who work closely with senior leaders to check the quality of teaching and learning, and pupils’ progress. Subject leaders attend meetings of the senior leadership team and the governing body to report on pupils’ progress and the quality of teaching and learning. Leaders use this information to identify development priorities. Governors highly value their meetings with subject leaders. As a result of an increase in the number of pupils with autism and those with social, emotional and mental health needs, leaders described their plans to review the curriculum to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of all pupils. Leaders described proposals to develop further the curriculum and assessment arrangements for pupils with complex autism, and to increase the number and variety of vocational courses at key stage 4. Governors are proud of the school and have high aspirations for pupils and staff. They describe the inclusive ethos, purposeful atmosphere and the focus on meeting each pupil’s special educational needs. The work of the experienced chair of the governing body is highly valued and he is ably supported by governors with a wide range of experience. Governors develop their skills through school-based, local authority and independent training programmes. Governors described the development of an open culture in school, the sharing of responsibility for pupils’ progress and the improving impact of subject leaders. Governors have confidence in school leaders because of the way you, and other leaders, share information. Governors hold you in high regard, they value your commitment and the impact that you are making as headteacher. Governors effectively evaluate the school’s performance and identify development priorities. An examination of the record of governors’ meetings demonstrates that they hold you and other senior leaders to account.

Hill Top School Parent Reviews

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Hill Top School Catchment Area Map

Official pupil census data is not available for this school and we are unable to offer a heat map or likelihood of admission tool at this time.