Priestley Smith School

Primary & Secondary
Post 16
Special school
Perry Beeches Campus
Beeches Road
Great Barr
B42 2PY
2 - 19
Community special school
4 1 1 2 3 4
Ofsted Report
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School Description

This is a special school for pupils from nursery age through to the sixth form. All pupils have significant visual impairments and the large majority are registered as blind. Six children attend the nursery and Reception class (the Foundation Department), including one who attends part time. Almost two thirds of pupils have additional needs such as autistic spectrum disorders, social and emotional needs, moderate learning difficulties and medical needs. All students have a statement of special educational needs or an education, health and care plan, or are in the process of being assessed for one. The large majority of pupils are from Birmingham, although others come from nearby local authorities such as Wolverhampton, Solihull and Coventry. Most travel by taxi or minibus to school. A few older students travel independently. A high proportion of students, almost half, are supported by the pupil premium. This is the additional funding for disadvantaged pupils, which are those eligible for free school meals or looked after. Four fifths of pupils are from backgrounds other than White British. The largest group are from Pakistani and other Asian heritages. An increasing proportion are from Eastern Europe. A very high proportion, almost two thirds of all pupils, speak other languages as their main language; many are at the early stages of learning English when they enter the school. Priestley Smith is part of a teaching alliance with other Birmingham mainstream and special schools. Member schools support each other through reviewing the quality of each other’s work and providing staff training. About a third of children join the school in the Foundation Department or in Year 7. Over two thirds join at other times during their school-aged years, sometimes as late as Years 10 or 11, as well as in the sixth form. Almost a quarter of pupils transfer from Priestley Smith back into mainstream schools and colleges or into other special schools, particularly at the end of Year 11 but occasionally at other times in their school career. The school hosts the local authority mobility, reprographics and visual impairment technology services. It also provides an outreach service to other schools and families in conjunction with the local authority sensory support service. The school does not make use of alternative provision for its pupils.

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