Skip to content ↓
Donate to
our school


Parayhouse School Self Evaluation 2016 - 2017

Context of the School

Parayhouse School is a non-maintained special school [NMSS] located in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham. Founded in 1964 as a small preparatory school it became an independent special school in September 1983.

Unusually, the School is co-located with a Further Education College [Hammersmith & Fulham College]  with its own secure, designated ground floor accommodation and some shared facilities such as sports hall, drama studio and lifeskills kitchen.  This co-location has been in place since September 2016,

Since 2001 the School has been a registered charity, administered by a Board of Trustees who are responsible for finances and premises, and who are accountable to the Charity Commission. The School’s Board of Governors are responsible for Teaching, Learning & Assessment, Personal Development, Behaviour & Welfare and Leadership & Management. Trustees sit on the Board of Governors Finance & Trustees sub-committee. The Chair of Governors is also a Trustee, and the Vice Chair of Trustees is also a Governor, providing a strong and clear link between the two Boards. Further information regarding the Boards of Governors and Trustees can be found on the School’s website –

The School is DFE approved for students in Key Stages 2, 3 and 4, with speech, language and communication needs [SLCN] and moderate/severe learning difficulties [MLD/SLD]. It is also very successful in meeting the needs of students with additional behavioural, emotional and social difficulties emanating from their learning and language problems, and those with a range of sensory needs.

The School’s students are drawn from Greater London, and it currently serves 14 London Boroughs, with the largest numbers coming from Westminster, Southwark, Lambeth and RBK&C. All but 10 students are transported by their Local Authority [LA], the others being transported by their family or on independent travel. As a NMSS the School is always parents’ first choice of school for their child, and all staff, Governors and Trustees are only too aware of the effort families make to support their child in an out-borough school. Given the size of our catchment area, the role of our Family Support Manager in developing and maintaining close, effective working relationships with our families is vital.


Student Profile

The majority of students arrive at Parayhouse in Year 7 from mainstream primary schools and complete their secondary education at the School before leaving for a range of further education placements at the end of Year 11. A smaller number of students join during Key Stage 2, and typically have more marked therapeutic, behavioural and sensory needs.  A very small number of students come from Alternative Provisions, CAMHS provisions or were out of school prior to arrival – currently 3 students.

84%% of students have SLCN with MLD; 16% SLCN with SLD; 5 have ASD identified on their Statements/EHCPs. Additional needs include diabetes, epilepsy, visual and hearing impairment, Cerebral Palsy and genetic disorders. Three students are currently involved with their local CAMHS or Behaviour Support service. Currently, 2 students are on the Child Protection Register, and 2 are deemed Children in Need [CIN].

24% of students are girls; 31% of students are White British, with the next largest ethnic groups being 18% Black-African; 42% are in receipt of Free School Meals [FSM]; 45% are eligible for the Pupil Premium Grant; 43% have English as an Additional Language [EAL]. Typically students are working within the P levels on entry.

Student attendance for the 2015/2016 academic year was 92.1%; for the Autumn Term 2016 was 91.8%

Transition at Year 11 is a carefully monitored and supported process, working with students, their families/carers and further education providers to ensure students are placed in the provision that will afford them the best possible further education. All students leaving Parayhouse go on to educational placements and the School continues its involvement with ex-students by welcoming their visits and inviting them to school functions and events throughout the year.

Over the last 10 years 100% of students in Year 11 successfully transitioned to a range of further education placements, including school 6th forms, FE Colleges and residential provision.


School Ethos

Parayhouse School is committed to ensuring that each and every student reaches his or her full potential. We focus our work on preparing students with special needs for the challenges they will meet when leaving school. We recognise that it is the development of social, language and thinking skills which enable our students to express themselves, to understand and to function optimally in the world. We also believe in the power of collaborative practice. Together, we face challenges, celebrate achievement and aspire to do our very best.

We deliver our mission in three essential ways.

Firstly, we provide a safe and nurturing environment where students feel secure and are confident and eager to learn.

Secondly, we create a highly specialised and individualised curriculum with speech and language at its heart, empowering students to learn.

Thirdly, we establish close working relationships between parents, carers, students and staff to support learning and behaviour at home as well as at school.

Parayhouse School is committed to providing a safe, nurturing environment as a firm foundation for learning for its students, many of whom are educationally fragile and arrive with poor self-esteem, low self-confidence, and undeveloped basic skills. On entry, many students have difficulty managing their behaviour and being able to take responsibility for their actions and, for some, their behaviour actively impacts markedly on their ability to learn. We focus specifically in the early months of a placement on ensuring that students feel safe and supported, so that they are ready to learn. Once that is in place, students are able to significantly accelerate their learning.

The ethos of our School promotes the values of acceptance, tolerance and mutual support achieved through the maintenance of close relationships and open communication between staff, students and parents.

A major strength of the School is the close-knit multi-professional team and their collaborative practice that permeates every aspect of the curriculum and school life. This feature has been very highly commended in all of the School’s Ofsted reports, as well as those for the Investor in People award and Inclusive School’s Award.


What has changed since July 2014?

  • The areas for improvement identified in the previous inspection report were that the progress of a few of the most able students was slower than that of their peers; there were not enough qualifications available for the most able students at KS4, and teachers’ marking did not always lead to improvement in knowledge and skills in writing, particularly for the most able students.

  • All these areas were addressed immediately. More able students make at least good and mostly outstanding progress, in line with their peers, as a result of early identification that places them on a pathway leading to external qualifications. Examination results from Summer 2015 onwards show increased entries, and more non Y11 students entered.

  • The range of external accreditation has been increased to include Level1 Maths and English, and more able students are entered for Entry Level Certificates across Key Stages 3 and 4 when they are ready to do so.

  • The School’s marking policy was revised, including regular “book looks” by Senior Leaders, and staff training through the regular Best Practice meetings.  We are now also trialling greater use of verbal feedback for less able students, in line with the DFE advice [Eliminating unnecessary workload around marking 2016] and the Teaching & Learning Toolkit [Sutton Trust/EEF 2016].

  • The major change and impact has been provided by our move to Hammersmith & Fulham College, in September 2016. We are now in one cohesive, spacious, ground floor area of the college, with our own hall and play area , allowing us to timetable our day to suit our children’s needs rather than fitting in with the prior demands of our previous host school. Importantly, with our own entrance,security cameras and entryphone we are now in sole charge of who enters and leaves our building.[In staff, parents & student surveys, January 2017, 100% responded Agree or Strongly Agree to the question “Children are safe in this school”].

  • We are on the same floor as the college’s Inclusive Learning 16+ provision, and have already established good links with them, socially [inviting them to events and supporting a student in his Enterprise project]and in the provision of WEX for some of their students. We are also able to use their purpose built Lifeskills kitchen on a weekly basis, rather than cooking in our staff room, which is leading to far greater independence as students have their own work stations.

  • Our two older and more able groups of students now take their lunch in the main college canteen, allowing them greater independence and choice over their meals.


Leadership and Management

  • The Middle Managers team – only 6 months old at the time of the inspection -   is now firmly established, the two senior teachers moving to Assistant Heads following the departure of our Deputy Head in July 2016.  Along with our Head of Therapy, Headteacher and School Business Manager, they now form the Senior Leadership team.

  • Senior leaders have become a solid and valued source of coaching, mentoring and modelling for their colleagues. Their regular Best Practice meetings, open to all staff, introduce new ideas, support classroom practice and help to develop improving and new staff. [In January 2017 96% of staff Strongly Agreed/Agreed that the Senior Leaders support best practice for all staff, and improve the quality of teaching].

  • The School continues to make excellent provision for CPD, investing in staff to improve their teaching and boost the achievement and wellbeing of students. The staff is very stable and there have been few changes since the last inspection. This has allowed our collaborative staff teams to develop a stronger and deeper understanding of our students’ increasingly complex needs and to know how, as a team, they can move students forward in their learning, language and independence. This was validated in January 2015 when the School achieved the Investor in People Award at Silver Level.[In January 2017 96% of staff Strongly Agreed/Agreed that the School makes appropriate provision for their professional development].

  • The Governing Body has been led by a very strong Chair, with long term experience of the School, who is credited with completely overhauling the Board 4 years ago and leading it to its current outstanding level of practice.  [see Annual 360 reviews of Chair].

  • The number of Governors has increased to 13, and accordingly so has the size of each of the 4 subcommittees, on which Senior Leaders also sit. The subcommittees are Leadership & Management [L&M]; Teaching, Learning & Assessment [TLA]; Personal Development Behaviour and Welfare [PDBW] and Finance & Trustees [F&T]. All review the School Development Plan, report to each main Board meeting, and take questions.  [See subcommittee Minutes; main Board Minutes].

  • Governors and Trustees have remained stable, thereby increasing their knowledge and understanding of the School, and their ability to offer robust and clear challenge and support to the staff. As well as our Governors I/C English and Maths we now have Governors for SLT, which is a great strength of our school.

  • The role of the Family Support Manager [FSM] has become even more critical in ameliorating the impact of distance and EAL on our families, as more students travel in from further away, and the number of EAL families has increased. The FSM is always available by phone/email and makes home visits to suit families, often at weekends or evenings. She also supports families with applications for benefits, housing and associated form-filling, and helps families access support and activities for their child in their own borough.

  • Work has started with a website company to rebuild our School’s website, with input from staff, Governors and to be trialled with students and their families when it nears completion. The website will have WIDGIT pointer, which will bring up symbols to allow greater access for our EAL families and our own students.

  • Students and staff are due to take part in a DVD for the website – “A Day in the Life of Parayhouse” – which will again increase access to the website for our families and students.


Teaching, learning and assessment

  • The School moved to a needs-based curriculum in September 2014, grouping students according to learning and language needs, and focusing on the development of an ever more personalised curriculum. The move to our new premises has allowed us to construct two separate timetables, with 3 classes following a more primary based structure and 2 classes following a more secondary based day.

  • The senior leadership team has further developed the quality of education in the School since the last inspection, through a rigorous programme of drop- ins and peer “walkabouts”, and regular Best Practice meetings. See Reports of focused visits from Governors, lesson observations with feedback from our external advisor.

  • Therapeutic support has been increased to provide a further f/t SLT and a p/t Art Therapist, as well as the training of a LSA in SEN Yoga. The fitting out of a designated Sensory Room, due to take place in the Summer Term, will be a great resource for the OT and staff supporting students with sensory and behavioural needs.

  • Since the departure of our Deputy Head, assessment has been taken over by the Key Teacher of our most complex class, whose focus has been to provide staff, parents and governors with clear accounts of student progress now that progression guidance and NC levels have been withdrawn. Importantly he has instigated the development of more consistent and rigorous moderation, both internal and external.[See assessment files, moderation reports, reports to the main Board].

Personal developement, behaviour and welfare

  • The outstanding behaviour of students in and out of school continues to be achieved through strict adherence to the Behaviour Policy, constant communication amongst staff to ensure Behaviour Plans are maintained and the involvement of parents and carers in supporting plans and targets.[see subcommittee Minutes; Incident Book].


Outcomes for children & learners

  • All students from all starting points make good or outstanding progress; there are no differences in progress amongst any of the School’s vulnerable groups.

  • Speech and language therapy is integrated across the school day including breaks, lunch time, school outings and residential trips. Through collaborative practice all students achieve optimum communication skills, including the use of augmentative aids.

  • Families feel extremely well supported through processes such as transfer from Statements to EHCPs, visits to 16+ placements, interviews and applications. The Family Support Manager [FSM] provides 7 days a week contact for all families, including during school holidays.

  • Students are well prepared for their transition, and all proceed to further education placements, and are entered for all relevant externally accredited qualifications up to and including Year 11. Staff attend college/school visits with students and their families, arrange familiarisation time prior to entry, and keep in touch with families and students after Y11.

  • Wherever possible students are supported to be involved in their targets, progress and decisions about their future. All Y11 students attend work experience and FE college Link Courses to support their growing independence and 16+ transition.

  • The School’s “Wider Achievements” programme offers all students an impressive  range of cultural experiences, sports events, educational visits, involvement in projects with other organisations, social events including our after school club and annual residential trips for all students. This contributes significantly to students’ spiritual, moral, social &  cultural development and personal development.


The School's Judgement of it's Overall Effectiveness

JULY 2014

Ofsted judgement

2016– 2017

School’s judgment

Overall Effectiveness


Overall effectiveness


Achievements of Students


Effectiveness of leadership & management


Quality of teaching


Quality of teaching, learning & assessment


Behaviours & Safety of Students


Personal development, behaviour and welfare


Leadership & Management


Outcomes for children & learners