Abbey Park Academy

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About Abbey Park Academy

Name Abbey Park Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Ms Natasha Searby
Address Keighley Close, Illingworth, Halifax, HX2 9DG
Phone Number 01422246610
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 218
Local Authority Calderdale
Highlights from Latest Inspection


Abbey Park Academy continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are thriving at Abbey Park. They are encouraged to show respect, resilience, responsibility and reflection. This helps pupils to develop good character.

One of the ways that pupils learn to reflect is through the 'expectations for learning' policy. If pupils are unkind to others, they are encouraged to reflect on how their behaviour has made the other pupils feel. Pupils think about how they could have solved the problem without upsetting anyone.

They reflect on the impact of their actions. They apologise. This helps everyone to feel happy and safe at school.

There is v...ery little bullying. Most parents and carers are satisfied with leaders' response if their child is bullied. A small number of parents are not.

The new principal is aware that some parents would like leaders to improve communication with parents.

Pupils look forward to 'Proud Thursday'. Teachers choose pupils to share their good work with school leaders.

The culture of praise inspires pupils to try their hardest in lessons.

Pupils have positive attitudes to their learning. They behave well in lessons.

Staff have high expectations of pupils' behaviour and learning. Pupils are rising to the challenge.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

Leaders in the multi-academy trust expect all schools to follow the trust's policies and curriculum plans.

The trust's curriculum plans reduce teachers' workload.

Teachers have excellent subject knowledge in English and mathematics. These subjects are taught well in every year group.

Pupils are achieving well in these subjects.

Staff are expert teachers of early reading and phonics. Every class has a reading map that encourages pupils to read widely.

Pupils have a reading passport, and they enjoy getting stickers for reading each new book. Pupils who complete the reading map are allowed to go and choose a book from the vending machine. This is very exciting and helps pupils to associate reading with fun and enjoyment.

The mathematics curriculum is equally successful. Teachers use assessment skilfully to identify any gaps in pupils' mathematical knowledge. Right from the start, staff make sure that children in the early years learn numbers and numerical patterns quickly.

Teachers take every opportunity to embed this learning. For example, the teacher in Reception Year puts counters up on the flip chart when taking the register every day. Everyone counts together how many children are in school each day.

This daily practice is helping children learn to count verbally beyond 20.

The special educational needs coordinator (SENCo) has expert specialist knowledge. Leaders have trained teaching assistants to use diagnostic tests.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) take the test that is relevant to their specific learning difficulty. For example, the working memory test identifies whether pupils with SEND have difficulties with visual, sequential or numerical memory. Leaders give teachers ideas about how they can adapt their lessons to meet pupils' specific learning needs.

Teachers present information in the way that is most helpful for each pupil with SEND. This is helping pupils with SEND to make good progress in English and mathematics.

In September, leaders at Abbey Park introduced new curriculum plans in art and design, history and geography.

In preparation for this, leaders provided training on the new plans during the preceding summer term. Teachers are still getting to grips with these curriculum plans.

Teachers' subject knowledge is variable in foundation subjects.

In some cases, it is not good enough. As a result, teachers sometimes provide work for pupils that is not suitable. Pupils in key stage 1 do not have the building blocks they need to complete the work that is set successfully.

Pupils behave well in lessons. Pupils are regularly reminded to show respect for others. The curriculum for pupils' broader development is a strength of the school.

Pupils can remember what they have learned about different faiths and cultures. The multi-academy trust 'twins' schools within the trust to extend pupils' experience of cultural diversity. Pupils in Year 5 have exchange visits to meet pupils from their twinned school.

There are inter-school sports competitions within the trust. Pupils in Abbey Park took first place in the summer 2022 athletics tournament.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders make sure that all staff and volunteers are suitable to work with children.

Leaders keep a note of staff attendance at meetings when safeguarding updates are given. The well-being and attendance officer provides additional training for any staff who were absent.

This ensures that all staff training is up to date.

The pupil support, well-being and attendance officers follow up concerns that staff raise about pupils with the designated safeguarding lead (DSL). The well-being and attendance officer attends meetings with child protection professionals if these meetings are scheduled during school holiday periods.

Staff teach pupils how to keep themselves safe.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Leaders are at an early stage of implementing curriculum plans in foundation subjects. Teachers' subject knowledge is variable in these subjects.

Teachers sometimes set work that does not enable pupils to achieve the aims and ambition of the wider curriculum. Leaders should provide effective support to improve teachers' subject knowledge.


When we have judged a school to be good, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good.

This is called an ungraded inspection, and it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on an ungraded inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.

This is the first ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be good in June 2017.

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