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Pupils enjoy coming to Abbot's Lea School. They look forward to learning with their friends.
Pupils are happy and safe. Staff provide effective support to new pupils so that they settle in quickly.
Pupils, and students in the sixth form, benefit from a well-planned curriculum.
Teachers have high expectations of pupils. They follow pupils' individual support plans carefully. Teachers are successful in ensuring that pupils work towards their education, health and care plan (EHC plan) objectives.
Consequently, pupils progress well through the curriculum.
When pupils are upset or anxious, they receive effective support from staff. Pupils know th...at staff will quickly resolve any occasional fallouts or incidents of bullying.
Most pupils behave well throughout the school day. All pupils, and students in the sixth form, said that they felt safe in school.
Pupils carry out their leadership roles well.
More pupils now serve on the school council, increasing pupils' involvement in decisions that affect them. Pupils are keen to help others.
Pupils are well prepared for their next steps in education.
Older pupils, and students in the sixth form, receive high-quality careers information, advice and guidance. Pupils learn to travel independently, manage their time and write an effective curriculum vitae.
Currently, there are unresolved tensions between leaders and some staff.
While this is not affecting the overall quality of education for pupils, it is preventing ongoing school improvement.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders and governors have set out a clear and ambitious vision for the school. A significant majority of staff share leaders' and governors' vision.
They appreciate the training and support that leaders provide so that they can do their jobs well. However, a significant minority of staff do not support the changes that leaders have made to how the school operates.
Leaders and governors continue to work with staff to find a path forward to maintain the smooth operation of the school.
However, there remain some issues that require ongoing mediation to resolve. These relate to the school's policies and procedures. While inspectors found that these issues are a concern, they are not currently having a detrimental impact on pupils' learning and welfare.
Leaders have introduced new curriculums in English, mathematics and personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE). These curriculums successfully build on already established curriculums to enable pupils, and students in the sixth form, to achieve well. Effective curriculum planning ensures that teachers are able to break down learning into small steps.
Teachers frequently review pupils' progress to check that they remember what they have been taught.
Even though the curriculum is ambitious, in some subjects, leaders do not ensure that some older pupils, including sixth-form students, work towards a full suite of recognised qualifications. Leaders are in the process of reviewing this aspect of their curriculum.
All pupils in the school have an EHC plan. Specialist staff provide effective support and advice when pupils are struggling with their learning and behaviour. They identify any additional needs efficiently and effectively and then plan and deliver bespoke programmes to help pupils catch up.
All pupils move on to education, employment or training when they are ready. Staff keep in touch with pupils and students as they move into the next stage of their education, employment or training to check that they settle in well.
Leaders ensure that every pupil learns to read as soon as possible.
Younger pupils have daily phonics sessions. Older pupils who have not yet learned to read continue to follow the school's phonics programme. Leaders keep a close eye on each pupil's progress.
They make sure that additional support is in place for those pupils who are struggling to keep up. Pupils enjoy listening to the stories and poems that their teachers read to them. Pupils relish visits to the library.
A minority of staff raised concerns about pupils' behaviour. However, inspectors found that pupils typically behave well, both in class and around school. The majority of staff work together well to provide support that is carefully tailored to meet individual pupils' needs.
When a pupil is in crisis, staff provide effective care to help the pupil calm down and get back into class quickly.
Carefully planned activities promote pupils' wider personal development. Trips and visits to local landmarks help pupils to learn about the city in which they live.
Pupils in key stage 3 have attended taster days at a local university. All pupils enjoy taking part in the wealth of clubs on offer across school, such as Lego club, yoga club and coding club.
Despite the issues between leaders and a minority of staff, leaders routinely check whether there are any issues that are impacting negatively on their colleagues' well-being.
Leaders and governors invest considerably in supporting staff's career development. Leaders provide effective support for teachers who are at the early stages of their career.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders prioritise staff's training so that all staff understand their roles and responsibilities to keep pupils safe. The safeguarding team follows up all safeguarding concerns. Leaders work effectively with external agencies to ensure that pupils and their families receive the timely support that they need.
Staff teach pupils how to keep themselves safe, both in school and in the community. Leaders ensure that staff know how to report any concerns about any adult's behaviour that may pose a risk to pupils.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• There is ongoing tension between a minority of staff and leaders.
While it does not directly affect the quality of education that pupils are receiving, it has created a divide in the staff. This is hindering ongoing school improvement. Leaders and governors should continue to engage meaningfully with these staff to resolve the ongoing tensions.
• Leaders do not ensure that some pupils in key stage 4 and students in the sixth form work towards a full suite of recognised qualifications. On occasions, this hinders some pupils and students from achieving as highly as they could. Leaders should continue to review the qualifications that pupils and students can access to enable them to fulfil their potential and career aspirations.