Child learning at The Children's Trust School

Quality of education

The Children's Trust School continually reviews its quality of education as part of its Self-Evaluation Form (SEF).

Quality of education


Finn in a music session

Moving from 'Requires Improvement' Ofsted rating

  • Sam Newton and Launa Randles joined The Children’s Trust School as Head and Deputy Head respectively
  • Audits undertaken to establish staff skills, resources and analysing pupil need
  • External views sought and a quality improvement plan created
  • Implementation of a new curriculum, planning, assessment and moderation framework
  • All school staff are recognised as a 'Leaders of Learning'


Child touching and learning about animals

Restructure, renew and re-energise

  • Restructure of the school teams into ‘classes’ with a qualified teacher and support assistants 
  • The school year structured into ‘academic’ terms 
  • Weekly training to upskill all staff in teaching 
  • Began to re-shape and re-balance education, health, therapy and care with focus to ‘age respectfulness’ teaching methods, which recognises age and cognitive ability when teaching
  • Updated the school environment and invested in specialised equipment
  • Welcomed external scrutiny, challenge and support through trustee visits 
  • By May 2017, secured an overall Ofsted rating of ‘Good' with 'Outstanding' Leadership and Management


Kenny rolling a ball

Embedding and looking forward

  • Whole-school approach to the Rochford Review strengthened engagement to learning
  • Staff upskill in engagement, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and wellbeing
  • Implemented the adult engagement scale to raise pupil outcomes
  • A restructure of therapy services increased staff skills, specialisms, and created a multi-tiered delivery
  • Raised staff ability to articulate learning across education, health, therapy and care
  • Improved monitoring systems and communication to Governors and Trustees on new practices to seek feedback and offer support
  • Best practices shared at Raising the Bar II conference and within PMLD Link articles ‘Meaningful Time’ (issue Spring 2018) and 'Understanding the needs of individuals' (issue Summer 2018)


Guy in a pet therapy session

Expanding and growing

The growth and expansion of all services increased quality, incidence and access to personalised learning for all children. Growth of services included:

  • School based AAC team (Augmentative and Alternative Communication)
  • A pilot of nursery provision
  • Special Yoga
  • Total communication approach with TaSSeLs: Tactile Signing for Sensory Learners
  • External contract with ‘Great Waves’, swimming lesson provider
  • Staff with clinical research skills and specialisms across dysphagia, movement disorders, upper limb management, splinting and prolonged disorders of consciousness

We began to discuss our ambition to expand and grow in a new building.



Reviewing, planning and doing! Responding to COVID-19

  • Reviewed staff skills and interest to develop curriculum areas, sixth form provision and EYFS
  • Protected time to research into curriculum practice 
  • Reviewed the intent, implementation and impact of curriculum 
  • Remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and maintained a safe, secure service
  • Went digital and adapted to virtual platforms to stay connected and facilitate virtual teaching
  • Progressed with our ‘New Build’ aspirations and secured the funds to get detailed planning
  • Appointed clinical moving and handling advisor working within classes and on residential houses 


Child learning

Recovery and reconnection

  • COVID Operational Guidance outlined the need to reshape our curriculum to ensure the safety and subsequent recovery of our school community 
  • Secondment by Melanie Burrough as Integrated Service Lead focussing on best practice through transdisciplinary and waking day models 
  • Streamlined the Quality of Education action plan into expertise subject specialised areas to support a Systems Leadership approach 
  • Externally shared our good practice with Hirstwood Sensory Festival, PMLD Link and others


Finn in a rebound session

Becoming MUSST

  • Introduction of the ‘MUSST’ principle, Making Us Subject Specialist Teams, to develop lead professional excellence
  • Revised Pupil Charter to support best practice in the delivery of the curriculum
  • Achieved several accreditations and awards including Communication Access UK, Music Mark and Eco-School Silver award