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An OFSTED Report on a Special School 2010

(Oak Lodge School, Finchley, provided actors for the stage production of Death of a Nightingale.)

“Oak Lodge is an outstanding school. The care, guidance and support which all staff provide are exemplary, ensuring that students gain excellent personal, social and learning skills. All students make outstanding progress in their academic learning regardless of ethnicity, gender or their special educational needs. This is based on extremely high-quality teaching and learning. There are rigorous and robust systems in place to set challenging targets and monitor students’ progress. These are used extremely well by teachers in their planning. The school is beginning to use its data to make comparisons with similar schools, but as yet this underplays how well it isdoing.

Safeguarding procedures are exemplary and students indicate that they feel safe and secure in Oak Lodge. Relationships between staff and students are excellent and are a crucial factor in the school’s success. Students thoroughly enjoy school and say that lessons are fun. Attendance is good, even though a number of students have medical needs which require regular treatment. Behaviour is exemplary and staff manage challenging occurrences extremely well so that the learning of others is not disrupted. The curriculum is very carefully tailored to match students’ needs, and the school quickly adapts its provision to meet the changing needs of its population.

Through the focused development of their literacy, numeracy and information andcommunication technology skills (ICT) and their personal skills, students areextremely well prepared for the next stage of their education.

The school makes every effort to involve parents and carers actively in their children’s learning. Staff are aware that sometimes the distance between home and school makes immediate communication a challenge, particularly in helping their children at home. Plans to use the school website in a more interactive way to address the concerns of a small minority of parents and carers are at an advanced stage.

The head teacher provides the vision, commitment and determination to lead the school forward. She is well supported by the senior leadership team and they have established very effective teamwork between the teachers and support staff. Staff development is given the highest priority and the input of staff is highly valued and acted upon so that all strive to improve the school even further. The school uses its specialist status very effectively so that partnerships with others are used extremely well to promote the learning and well-being of its own students and those in other local schools and colleges. The sixth form has developed extremely well since the last inspection and is now a strength of the provision. The governing body provides excellent challenge to the school and ensure that all statutory requirements are met. The commitment of all staff and governors to getting the best for students ensures that the school is extremely well placed to maintain its current strengths and improve in future.”