Airedale Academy

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About Airedale Academy

Name Airedale Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Principal Miss Lyndsey Proctor
Address Crewe Road, Airedale, Castleford, WF10 3JU
Phone Number 01977664555
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1039 (48.2% boys 51.8% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 17.1
Academy Sponsor Northern Ambition Academies Trust
Local Authority Wakefield
Highlights from Latest Inspection


There has been no change to this school's overall judgement of good as a result of this ungraded (section 8) inspection. However, the evidence gathered suggests that the inspection grade might not be as high if a graded (section 5) inspection were carried out now.

The next inspection will therefore be a graded inspection.

What is it like to attend this school? '

Ambition, bravery and respect' are the shared values of Airedale Academy. Pupils and staff understand these values.

They can explain how the school puts them into practice. Leaders at the school want the very best for the pupils. Many staff go the extra mile to provide wider opportunities beyond the curriculum.
They do this because they know that some pupils lack the opportunity for cultural experiences and trips beyond the local area. An example of this is the commitment to enrichment opportunities and educational visits, every summer, known as 'Airedale on tour'. Pupils appreciate these opportunities, and they take advantage of them.

Pupils trust the adults in school, and they feel safe. Relationships between staff and pupils are good. Pupils enjoy their lessons.

They work hard and participate.

The majority of pupils are well behaved. The school has a clear behaviour policy that staff apply consistently.

However, some pupils need more guidance and support to meet the expectations of leaders. Although there is some bullying, most pupils believe teachers deal with it effectively.

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

Leaders have planned a curriculum with breadth and ambition.

The opportunities this curriculum offers are open to all, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Along with the core subjects, the curriculum at key stage 3 gives pupils a broad experience of the arts, humanities and languages. At key stage 4, all pupils can study a range of subjects, which are collectively known as the 'English Baccalaureate'.

All pupils take either history or geography at GCSE; fewer pupils take a language. The small sixth form caters for students who want to study an extended diploma in either business studies, health and social care or performing arts.Learning is logically organised.

There is a particular emphasis on widening pupils' vocabulary to support their understanding of key ideas. The school calls this a 'vocabulary vault'. This is an important part of the curriculum, but leaders know there is more to do to ensure that pupils can remember this knowledge and then apply it effectively.

Leaders and teachers recognise the importance of accurate assessment. There has been an investment in staff training in this area. There are many examples of teachers using assessment to gauge accurately what pupils know and understand.

However, some teachers move learning on while some pupils still have misconceptions. Teachers need to use assessment in the classroom more effectively.

Leaders have prioritised reading.

They believe that this will have a positive impact on pupils' education. There are clear systems in place to assess reading. Support for weaker readers to improve their reading fluency and comprehension is in place.

Tutor time in the morning involves reading activities for all pupils to develop their love of reading. This is having a positive impact.

Most pupils attend school regularly, including those in the sixth form.

However, a significant minority of pupils have poor attendance. The school uses a range of strategies to promote good attendance and follow up absence. Attendance is a priority for leaders.

Some pupils are still absent from school too much. Leaders recognise that these pupils must attend regularly to benefit from what the school has to offer.

Most pupils are able to follow the routines of good behaviour very well.

Behaviour in lessons is good. There is a small, but significant, minority of pupils who need more support to improve their behaviour. Some of these pupils also have additional sanctions, such as suspension.

Suspensions and the use of the behaviour referral space do interrupt the learning of the curriculum for these pupils. Leaders make some adjustments to the behaviour policy for individual pupils. For example, they use a range of external agencies to support pupils with social and emotional difficulties that may be affecting their behaviour.

In most cases, this is effective, and leaders are working to reduce the incidence of suspensions.

The school makes a considerable effort to provide wider opportunities for pupils. There are many trips and educational visits available.

The school ensures these opportunities are available to everyone. 'Airedale on tour' is the programme of summer trips. Pupils and staff look forward to this event and an additional winter tour is being planned.

During the inspection, pupils were very positive about a recent careers fair and the quality of careers guidance. They understood about the range of jobs and further education opportunities open to them.

Many of the staff and the governors have close links to the local community.

As a result, they are very committed to the school and they show ambition for the pupils. Staff report that they are proud to work at the school. Teachers have had the opportunity to receive additional training and to work with other schools to develop the curriculum.

Teachers say that leaders have supported them in their professional development and are mindful of their well-being and workload.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

There are good systems in place to safeguard pupils.

Safeguarding information is shared appropriately and effectively. Staff are well trained to understand the risks that pupils face, particularly those issues in the local area. The school has safer recruitment practices in place.

Leaders draw on support from a wide range of external agencies. These agencies support safeguarding and other problems pupils face, such as mental health and well-being. Pupils know where to seek help and support.

There is a designated safeguarding area in school, which provides pupils with security and privacy to raise any concerns.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In some subjects, the curriculum is not deepening students' knowledge effectively enough. Pupils often have a superficial understanding of the key knowledge.

Leaders need to ensure that teaching is focused on developing a deeper understanding so that pupils can make connections in their learning and work in greater depth. ? The attendance of some pupils is not high enough. Leaders are aware of this, and there are a number of strategies in place to encourage good attendance.

Leaders should maintain their focus on finding the most effective measures to improve attendance and therefore access to the curriculum. This should include considering how pupils who are subject to behaviour sanctions, such as suspension, or those pupils who are temporarily in alternative provision can keep up and catch up with their work.Background

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 September 2017.