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Please find below the report following our Healthy Schools Inspection

Assessment date: 9th.July 2019
Chris Coverley

Outcome: Based on the findings of the visit, I am pleased to confirm your self-validation to maintain Healthy School Status.

Information about the assessment process

  •  The school self-evaluated current Healthy Schools practice within the four core areas, Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE), Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH), using the School Health Check prior to assessment. The school judged themselves in each area using Ofsted style grade descriptors.

  • The assessor interviewed groups of pupils, parents, staff, governors, senior leaders and the

    head teacher.

  •  A tour of the school was conducted by members of the School Council to observe Healthy

    Schools in practice. 

  • Relevant paperwork was presented as stated in the agreed list of documentation.

The school has the following strengths


  • On entry to the school I immediately felt the friendly and welcoming atmosphere from both staff and pupils. There was an impressive calm and relaxed feeling which was mentioned and praised later by the parents and carers I interviewed.

  • Castle Hill School presents an attractive two-storey building in pleasant grounds. The interior is spacious, well-designed to enable access to pupils, many with very complex learning needs and/or physical disabilities, some needing wheel-chair access. Their quiet order, greeting of staff and organised entry to their class was a pleasure to witness and a credit to all involved.

  • The school website is an excellent example of how a helpful, user friendly and informative guide to the school’s vision and ethos can also be used as a major communication tool with parents, carers and governors. Everything that should be on a school website is there with particular emphasis given to Health and Wellbeing and policies associated with PSHE, a thread running through everything the school does.

  • Parents and carers praise the variety of ways of communication developed specifically to keep them informed. Personal daily contacts with staff, newsletters, the home school diary, Parents Evenings and annual reviews are all part of the important development of the home and school relationships.

  • The Castle Hill Healthy School Coordinator is fully supported by the headteacher and senior management and the Healthy Schools Programme is well led, very effectively managed and has a high profile throughout the school.

  • Classroom displays celebrate topic work achievements and can be found in most rooms of the building with any messages of wellbeing particularly emphasised. Activities relating specifically to School Council involvement can be found showing healthy eating displays, ‘Herb Enterprise’ and ‘Fruit Week’.

  • In order to understand how and why the development of a bespoke and personalised curriculum for every pupil is a major and vital strength of the school it is essential that the reader recognises that every Castle Hill School pupil has some form of complex layered needs which could include a range of physical/health disabilities, sensory and/or multi-sensory impairments, severe or profound learning difficulties and be diagnosed as having autism with communication and behaviour difficulties.


  • The fundamental principle behind curriculum design at Castle Hill School is personalisation and this is planned on entry to meet the needs and identify priority areas for each pupil. There is a PSHE action plan which is coordinated by a subject lead and delivered by teachers and teaching assistants using a range of different teaching styles and enrichment opportunities in a topic themed curriculum to accommodate and meet the different learning abilities of individual pupils. PSHE is very well led and is acknowledged throughout the school as a cross curricular subject which underpins the whole school ethos and is the thread running through all areas of health education at Castle Hill.

  • The PSHE policy is excellent and reflects the diverse needs of the pupils. It has clear

    information on aims, practice, curriculum and assessment and links are made to other policies such as the very good Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) policy which includes key information for staff on practice and curriculum organisation.

  • Pupil assessments and monitoring of the main curriculum core areas including PSHE are made through the use of several layers of assessment tools. Mapping and Assessing Personal Progress (MAPP) is used to show small steps of progress. The short-term objectives are taken from the Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) and progress and provision are measured. MAPP targets are broken down into smaller steps (PIP) Progress in Provision. Further evidence of pupil progress can be found in Class Progress files and the Orange evidence books.

  • PSHE subject coordinators write termly curriculum guides to support teaching and learning. They also carry out Learning Walks with link governors to analyse data and identify teaching and learning in the subject.

  • As well as the NHS staff who are based at the school there are dieticians and speech and language therapists plus representatives from external agencies that also support the school and its pupils. This could include therapists in music and dance and a variety of sports coaches.


Healthy Eating:

  • The selection of food on the menu was excellent and looked very appetising as I observed a section of the primary and secondary pupils enjoying eating their lunch in their ground floor dining room and staff were making every effort to encourage the pupils to make good food choices There was very little noise and I ate my lunch with some older pupils and their Lunchtime Support Assistants, all of whom have regular training in their vital role to ensure that the changing and diverse needs of their pupils are understood and met. I found the whole of the lunchtime a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Kirklees Catering Service supported the consultation, preparation and provision of the meals and the efficient and caring school catering team were obviously experienced in helping the pupils and have recently been awarded Gold level accreditation.

  • Healthy Eating is very well led and Castle Hill School Healthy Eating Policy is outstanding and makes every effort to implement healthy eating messages and recognises the importance of introducing and providing healthy options in order for the pupils to increase familiarity with a variety of foods. Pupil voice has clearly been taken into account with the help of staff asking for their feedback through hand or body movements and recognising facial expressions when pupils find it difficult to communicate by voice. Many pupils require special diets that do not always meet the requirements of the new Food Standards. Some have severe allergies and some pupils with Autism experience great difficulties in making food choices which could lead to them eating a very restricted diet. All the pupils have significant difficulties with communication and staff have become adept at recognising different ways in which they can establish a meaningful communication ‘voice’. This includes pupils making food choices or requesting desired items through gesture, signing, vocalisations, eye pointing or the use of photos or symbols. Efforts are made to include healthier options although this is not always possible. Some pupils need to learn through food therapy activities to combat their reluctance to try different textures of certain foods. In these sessions the learning emphasis is placed on experiencing and having fun with food and not always about tasting and eating.

  • Healthy Eating learning sessions permeate throughout the curriculum and the Knowledge and Understanding curriculum team incorporate teaching and learning ideas into the Design Technology section of the termly curriculum guides.

  • Sixth form pupils help to prepare their own snacks and younger pupils have the opportunity to learn about where food comes from and grow herbs and vegetables as part of a ‘Living Things’ topic. School Council are involved in delivering a wide range of fruits to each class in school as well as holding well-attended Family Fruit Mornings.

Physical Activity:

  • The Physical Development of all pupils is a major priority in Castle Hills daily school life and is delivered throughout the whole curriculum. It is extremely well led with the leadership very well supported by the many partners involved in the development of the personal and bespoke pupil programmes. The policy is strong and detailed and whilst acknowledging the wider benefits of health and fitness, the school also aims for individual’s success with physical challenges according to individual needs. The aim is to enable all pupils to participate in enjoyable, exciting physical activities as part of their daily routine and at a level personal to them. All classes are meeting the nationally recommended target of at least two hours of Physical Activity per week and classes of pupils with profound and multiple learning difficulties in particular, were greatly exceeding that target.

  • Assessment is ongoing during each physical development session and data is collected and progress measured formally twice each year by using the MAPP process. Progress and evaluation of achievement is recognised through teacher lesson evaluations, ongoing monitoring of pupils’ work, photographic and video evidence. These are all noted in learning journals, annual reports and the EHCP review process.

  • Senior leaders in school have carried out lesson observations this year based on the physical

    development of pupils and provided feedback to all teachers.

  • A wide range of resources are available with great consideration being given for their usage

    to meet the differing and complex needs of the pupils. The provision of external partners to support staff in specific and specialised activities and resources are a major support. Omnis is a group of specialist sports coaches experienced in disability sports. They support staff in school and coach some enrichment activities including during dinnertime and after school club.

  • Amongst the many physical activities made available for pupils at Castle Hill are dance,

    wheelchair dancing, physio, New Age Kurling, cycling, swimming in the hydro-pool, walks around the area, boccia and yoga. Additional funding via the Sports Premium allocation (£16,570) is now carefully allocated and the school is looking forward to expanding its activities and staff training opportunities. As a result of the Pupil Premium spending, dance enrichment sessions on a one to one basis have become very popular and have led to some good developments in engagement and learning through physical activity.

  • The school has been awarded the gold mark for its action plan and subsequent development of inter-school sports and giving pupils the opportunity of participation in the area School Games.

Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH):

  • SEMH has a very high profile in the school and it is well led and managed. The Behaviour policy is excellent, is reviewed annually and has clear objectives linked to the curriculum and provides staff with clear guidance on procedures and expectations. The Anti Bullying policy has a focus on positive behaviour linked to the ethos of the school. Both policies are clear strengths of the school.

  • SEMH is delivered by individual class teachers to match the needs of pupils. PSHE coordinators provide staff with curriculum guides to support teaching and learning. Recent links have been developed with the local community, linking the school with mainstream schools, local Care Homes and work experience providers. All staff have positive behaviour and wellbeing training and they follow an impressive six-point plan and procedure to support them when pupil behaviour is not as positive as it could or should be. They all know and recognise when a pupil is calm and ready to learn and distraction-free teaching areas are provided to support individual pupils to self-regulate as necessary.

  • PSHE leads and senior staff carry out lesson observations and provide feedback to teachers. Learning walks with link governors also help to monitor and evaluate SEMH provision.

  • All pupils have SEMH targets. Pupil achievements are rewarded either through an individual class reward scheme or by receiving the ‘Star of the Week’ in assembly. Parents are invited to the assemblies and certificates, photos, home/school diaries and newsletters ensure that families are informed about their successes. Specific assemblies address various aspects of wellbeing.

  • Castle Hill School has a Pupil Wellbeing policy and a Staff Wellbeing policy both of which help to create and exemplify the school ethos. The pupil policy gives details of a Wellbeing corner in the Chill Den which enables staff to tailor pupil activities to support needs, sometimes using resources such as emotion puppets and vibro-tactile massage tools. There is a wellbeing working party which meets monthly and links with behaviour wellbeing groups and updates wellbeing practices and articles on classroom wellbeing boards.

  • In September 2018 a staff survey found overwhelmingly that the majority of staff were proud of and enjoyed working at Castle Hill School. The staff Wellbeing policy contains details of support for staff and recognises that teaching, particularly in as special a school as at Castle Hill, can be very stressful. To help to combat this there are inspiring provisions such as a staff Wellbeing champion who coordinates monthly meetings which include details on physiotherapy and counselling, information, encouragement to attend some professionaldevelopment, a massage scheme, a secret friend buddy, a red triangle placed on the outside of a classroom door to signify that a member of staff needed a short break and change of environment. This is a true strength of the school and is acknowledged by a grateful staff.

Areas for development General:

  • No general areas for development were identified on the assessment day.


  • In the Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco Policy, clarify procedures for dealing with drug related

incidents and who will be responsible for implementing them.

  • Clarify how the school will support staff, pupils or parents who use drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

Healthy Eating:

  • Continue to check through the lunchtime menu to ensure it complies with the school food standards and consider how the school could give advice to parents and monitor food brought in by pupils.

  • Check through the policy wording for the menu pertaining to the After-School Club and clarify where necessary what can or cannot be offered to pupils with no specific dietary requirements.


Physical Activity:

  • Consider stating in the policy how the pupil voice is taken into consideration when deciding on enrichment activities.

  • Clarify how the school monitors and ensures that all pupils have 30 active minutes every day.


Social, Emotional & Mental Health (SEMH):

  • Adjust the Anti Bullying policy to add in information about cyber bullying and bullying linked to sexuality or gender.


Quotes from the assessment visit



NB. Pupil voice as it exists in mainstream schools is not appropriate here... so the question was...


Q. Do you like coming to Castle Hill School?


A. A pupil with severe learning difficulties indicates he is keen to go to school by getting up early

and putting on his uniform, every day, even at weekends. He also points to his lunch box to check with his mum that it is a school day. (He is 11years old)


“It’s really positive and rewarding working here.”
“Being at this school I have every opportunity to go on a course and the school sees it as vital.” “I’ve got the resources I need and I’ve got the support I need and I just like coming to work.” “Children will not learn unless they are happy. I see my job as building up relationships.”



“Relationships underpin every part of this school and that is vital.”
“We are informed about everything that happens in this school.”
“In my governors monitoring visit I did a learning walk with one of the pupils.”
“We are invited to events and assemblies.”
“When we are informed about things such as Sports Premium allocation we can always make a challenge at this point.”
“I come here every day and it’s really noticeable that I never see an unhappy face going into the school. The children love it.”
“Pupils are encouraged to drink water as often as possible throughout the day.”


Thank you for taking the time to be a part of the assessment process and for making me so welcome on the day.


Kind regards

Chris Coverley


Healthy Schools External Assessor
On behalf of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Service

Please note that your Healthy Schools Status is valid until September 2021

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