A SCHOOL has been told it must improve after inspectors found ‘weaknesses’ in curriculum affecting pupils’ reading.

The Lion Works School, in Wallisdown Road in Poole, was previously rated ‘inadequate’ by the education watchdog but has been upgraded to ‘requires improvement’ in its latest visit.

The independent special school mostly teaches pupils with a diagnosis of autism, from the ages of 11 to 18.

Since opening in January 2021, the school has had three headteachers with the most recent starting her role in August last year.

The report said leaders are working ‘determinedly’ to bring about necessary improvements each month.

However, inspectors found ‘weaknesses’ in the school’s curriculum and that its strategy to ensure all pupils read well is not fully effective.

“Pupils do not get enough practice to develop their fluency in reading.”

The report added: “Teaching can miss important steps.

“This makes it difficult for pupils to progress through the curriculum with confidence.”

Inspectors said whilst there are ‘plenty of improvements’ at the school, the proprietor ‘does not demonstrate that it consistently meets the independent school standards in full’.

However, the report also said that pupils felt safe and are ‘very positive’ about the difference the school is making to them.

“Pupils learn the school’s routines and expectations on arrival.

“Typically, pupils settle quickly after previous unsuccessful school placements.”

The school has also recently introduced a qualification to support independent living and employment for sixth form pupils.

The report identified some pupils miss a lot of school but that staff had raised its expectations of what pupils can achieve by supporting families to increase attendance.

"The more they attend, the more they learn, including how to regulate their behaviour and deal with any anxieties they have."

A spokesperson for The Lion Works School said: “The school thanks Ofsted for their recent visit and their overwhelmingly positive feedback.

“With the ongoing support from our wonderful parent community, as well as local authority partners, the school continues to improve the outcomes for our students and their families.”