Our most recent Ofsted inspection report was published in January 2022 and we were graded as Requires Improvement, although we retained our Good gradings for Personal Development and Behaviour and Attitudes.

Our Best Bits:

  • Demeter House is a school which places its pupils at the heart of everything it does.
  • Leaders and staff have chosen to work here because of their commitment to, and belief in, the pupils who attend. They are determined to support them as well as they can.
  • For many pupils and their families, Demeter House provides their first experience of a successful school life. Often, this has had a transformative effect for the better on their lives at home.
  • The school’s approach to carefully building, and earning, the trust of pupils and their families is what sits at the centre of Demeter House.
  • The school takes a nurturing approach to developing these relationships, focusing on what pupils need and then building a tailored curriculum around them.
  • Recently, leaders have started to plan to extend the academic curriculum as well as the personal development curriculum. There is more to do, but they have made a start.
  • Pupils feel safe at Demeter House. If bullying happens, or there is something worrying them, they have trusted key workers to tell and sort it out for them.
  • At times, pupils are well engaged because teachers have high expectations of what they can achieve.
  • The nature of many of the pupils’ SEND means that, often, their behaviour can be challenging. However, there are established systems in school to support staff in managing such behaviour.
  • Effective use is made of the ample premises, for instance, to provide ‘sensory’ and ‘reflection’ rooms to help staff and pupils with managing behaviour. During the inspection, pupils’ behaviour for the large majority of the time was calm.
  • Staff were unfailingly patient in their interactions with pupils. Much work has gone into building trusting relationships between staff and pupils.
  • There is a broad range of provision for pupils’ personal development.
  • Pupils’ opportunities to learn about the world around them is enriched with forest school opportunities, a physical exercise and team-building programme and ‘CycleRecycle’. These programmes are designed to build pupils’ respect, tolerance, resilience, independence and character.
  • Leaders are deeply committed to the school’s pupils. They want the best for them.
  • The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Leaders have ensured that they have trained staff in the necessary safeguarding knowledge.
  • The process for referring cases of concern to external agencies, such as children’s social care, are robust. Leaders know what to do to support pupils when worries emerge, and to get them the help they need.
  • There is a wide range of approaches to educating pupils about keeping safe, such as assemblies and in the wider curriculum.
  • Leaders have identified likely and particular risks and have ensured that appropriate risk assessments are in place. They understand the responsibilities for them to communicate with safeguarding bodies, such as the Disclosure and Barring Service, where this is necessary.
  • The school’s safeguarding policy is published on the school website. The policy is in line with statutory guidance.

Room For Improvement:

  1. There is no system of synthetic phonics in place. Teachers are expected to use whatever reading strategies they wish to use. This means there are various approaches to supporting the weakest readers. These approaches do not make use of phonics techniques. As a result, the weakest readers are not taught how to decode words and they struggle to read. As a matter of urgency, leaders should implement a system of synthetic phonics and ensure that staff are fully trained in its use.
  2. Across almost all subjects, the curriculum is only partially planned. Where it is planned, there is limited connection between years or key stages, especially between the primary and secondary phases. As a result, there is no clarity about what pupils should learn, or in what order. Consequently, pupils’ acquisition of subject knowledge, skills and understanding is patchy and does not equip them to achieve the best possible outcomes. Leaders should complete the full planning of the curriculum as soon as possible.
  3. Not everyone shares an understanding that the academic curriculum should be similarly aspirational and ambitious to the personal development of pupils. Leaders’ vision for what pupils could achieve is not clear. As a result, some subject planning, some teaching and the mindset of some staff are often too low in the expectations of what pupils could achieve. Leaders should take steps to ensure that all staff have high aspirations for what pupils could achieve in the academic curriculum.


Improvements Since the Inspection:

  1. We have purchased the Read, Write Inc. phonics scheme and all staff have received training for the Fresh Start reading intervention programme. This is now being delivered by a range of staff across the school.
  2. We have worked with subject teachers to produce standardised long term plans for all curriculum areas. These will eventually be available to view on the website for families and visitors. The teaching staff from all Key Stages have worked together on these to ensure that the curriculum is sequenced across all year groups and that appropriate focus is given to key study areas to enable students to achieve their potential at KS4. We have also included the key skills and knowledge that each of the areas will cover, so that we are able to identify any gaps in knowledge and support these appropriately.
  3. School leaders reviewed the aims and vision for the school and shared these with all staff.
  4. We appointed a Curriculum Manager to help support staff in their planning and assessment, in order to help raise academic aspirations for all students.


You can read the full report here:

Ofsted Report 2021