Leaders have high expectations of pupils. They are ambitious for pupils’ learning and conduct. For example, leaders expect pupils to be polite and courteous. Pupils speak positively about this expectation, and they live up to it. They know that leaders are preparing them to be respectful members of society.
Ofsted said: “Interactions between leaders and students demonstrate care”
The school has a calm atmosphere where pupils feel safe. Pupils behave well so that learning is not disrupted. Pupils talk positively about their learning.
Ofsted said: “Overwhelmingly, positive behaviours and attitudes to learning seen”
There is a strong emphasis on developing pupils’ character. Staff reward pupils when they demonstrate the school’s values of ambition, endeavour and respect. Pupils appreciate that leaders celebrate pupils’ exemplary contributions to school life.
Ofsted said: “Character education very strong, well embedded and keenly felt amongst the students”
“Students said they could see how PD education related to their personal growth”
Relationships between staff and pupils are respectful. Pupils describe adults in the school as good role models. Older pupils take on leadership responsibilities. Sixth-form students are keen to make an active contribution to the school. They, too, set a positive example for younger pupils. On the occasions that bullying occurs, leaders take effective action to resolve it.
Ofsted said: “Bullying is not tolerated; students are safe and feel secure in their routine”
Leaders are ambitious and determined that every pupil will follow a broad curriculum. For pupils at key stage 4, the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is at the heart of leaders’ educational vision. Leaders have made changes to the design of the curriculum to make this possible. They have improved the quality of teaching at key stage 3. As a result, more pupils are studying EBacc subjects. In the sixth form, leaders have devised ambitious programmes of study that prepare students for future success.
Ofsted said: “there is ambition in the curriculum and the students’ entitlement was a theme throughout”
Leaders have designed the curriculum so that pupils learn knowledge in a clear sequence. They have carefully considered the most important knowledge that pupils need to remember. Leaders ensure that there is a consistent approach to teaching across all subjects. This approach is drawn from educational research about effective teaching.
Ofsted said: “There is a strong purpose to the curriculum its development is a priority”
Teachers present information in a clear and deliberate manner and check pupils’ understanding. They respond quickly to correct pupils’ misconceptions and use assessment to adapt curriculum plans. This helps pupils to learn the curriculum that leaders have planned. At times, however, teaching does not promote appropriate discussion of subject knowledge. As a result, pupils sometimes do not embed knowledge as fluently as they could.
Ofsted said: “The culture is all about learning, with a strong work ethos” and that “learning is the core of all that happens”
Leaders identify pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). They provide useful information to teachers about how to meet the needs of pupils with SEND. Where this is used well, teaching meets the needs of pupils with SEND effectively. However, sometimes the information is not used as well as it could be.
Ofsted said: “School provides effective and targeted support for SEND students” and that “the SEND team is structured thoughtfully with expert leads as part of the structure”
Leaders have recently implemented a reading programme for pupils whose reading is weaker. As it is in its infancy, the programme is not as effective as leaders intend. Some pupils in the early stages of reading are not gaining the fluency and accuracy they need. This means that they do not always learn the wider curriculum as well as they could.
Leaders have planned a coherent curriculum for pupils' personal, social and health education (PSHE). Pupils learn about protected characteristics and the importance of respecting people from other backgrounds. PSHE in the Sixth Form does not build on the programme in the lower school as effectively as it could. Leaders have reflected carefully to ensure that relationships and sex education content is age appropriate.
Ofsted said: “Students could speak fluidly about keeping themselves safe and healthy” Students told them: “they don’t just care about academic, but our health and wellbeing too”
Pupils, including students in the Sixth Form, receive effective careers advice, information and guidance. This meets the requirements of the Baker Clause which requires schools to provide pupils in Years 8 to 13 with information about approved technical education qualifications and apprenticeships. This helps pupils prepare for the next steps in their education. The school makes useful links with local education and training providers. Pupils say that this helps build their aspirations for the future. Pupils participate in meaningful experiences that help them encounter the world of work.
Governors have a clear vision for the school. They have ensured that leaders have implemented a strategy to improve the quality of education. Governors engage with partners in the community to help realise the school’s ambitions for pupils.
Leaders provide effective support to develop teachers' subject and pedagogical knowledge. Staff are very positive about the support they receive from leaders. They are proud to work at the school. Those newest to teaching speak particularly highly of the support they receive. Leaders listen carefully to staff. This helps them manage staff well-being and workload.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Staff understand the importance of identifying and responding appropriately to safeguarding concerns. Leaders provide effective training. Leaders keep abreast of emerging local and national safeguarding issues. This helps them raise awareness among pupils about how to keep safe. This includes keeping safe from sexual harassment and abuse, including when online.
Leaders engage with safeguarding partners to secure the help that pupils need. Leaders challenge providers to ensure that appropriate support is put in place. Processes for the management of safeguarding are effective. The necessary checks are carried out on adults working at the school.
Ofsted said: “Students are safe” and that “Students feel safe”