Ark Greenwich Free School


Name Ark Greenwich Free School
Website http://www.arkgreenwichfreeschool.org/
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 11 February 2020
Address 403 Shooters Hill Road, London, SE18 4LH
Phone Number 02083193692
Type Academy
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 551 (62% boys 38% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 15.0
Academy Sponsor Ark Schools
Local Authority Greenwich
Percentage Free School Meals 15.8%
Percentage English is Not First Language 29.2%
Persisitent Absence 12.4%
Pupils with SEN Support 16.2%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available Yes

Outcome

Ark Greenwich Free School continues to be a good school.

There is enough evidence of improved performance to suggest that the school could be judged outstanding if we were to carry out a section 5 inspection now.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils at this school exemplify the school’s values of ambition, growth, fellowship and scholarship (AGFS). Leaders have high expectations for all pupils to achieve well academically. Equally important is the focus on pupils’ personal development. This is to enable them to ‘stand shoulder to shoulder’ with anyone they meet.

Staff constantly encourage pupils to believe that they will be successful. Pupils are proud of the achievements of those who have gone before them at the school, but they want to do even better themselves.

Pupils are polite, courteous and friendly. They get on with each other. They behave well in school and in the local community. Pupils feel safe in school. They told us that bullying is rare and that, if it does happen, it is dealt with quickly.

All pupils have access to plenty of enrichment opportunities. Pupils in Years 7 to 9 have these timetabled into their school day. This is so that everyone benefits from them. Pupils in all year groups enjoy regular ‘drop down days’ that allow them to participate in experiences outside of the regular curriculum. A range of after-school sports activities, music and drama clubs is also on offer.

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

All pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and those who are disadvantaged, have equal access to the full range of subjects and opportunities that are on offer. All achieve well.

Leaders have identified the key knowledge and skills that pupils need in each subject. They have designed programmes so that this learning is systematically built over time. Forexample, in Year 7 English, pupils learn how to structure and organise written information. In Year 8, they learn how to form an argument using persuasive language techniques.

Lessons are planned to allow pupils to apply what they already know and extend their learning. For example, in physical education (PE), from Year 7, pupils develop their knowledge of human anatomy. They then use this in practical lessons throughout their time at school to understand how physical activity affects their bodies and improves their sports performance.

Teachers are skilled at identifying and correcting pupils’ misconceptions, and the reasons behind them. Pupils get specific guidance to help them overcome these difficulties. They are given regular opportunities to practise their skills and apply their knowledge. This enables them to demonstrate how they know more and can do more over time.

Leaders across the school have prioritised reading. Pupils who have fallen behind are identified and supported to catch up quickly. Daily reading sessions also help pupils to improve their skills. They read demanding texts in all subjects to enhance their understanding of topics. Public speaking is also highly valued. Pupils have opportunities to practice these skills in all areas of the curriculum. They are confident and articulate speakers. Pupils carefully consider the contributions made by their peers. They show respect for views that differ from their own.

Recently there have been significant changes in the music department. Religious studies was introduced as a separate subject this academic year. The new leaders in these subjects know where the gaps are in pupils’ knowledge. These are being addressed through new programmes of study. Pupils are tackling increasingly demanding work in both music and religious studies.

Pupils’ behaviour in lessons and during social times is consistently positive. They understand the high expectations that leaders have of them. They know what the consequences will be if these expectations are not met. Staff are also consistent in their approach to behaviour management.

Leaders make sure that all pupils have regular opportunities to enrich their life experiences. This includes visits to museums, galleries, places of worship and universities. Pupils take part in residential trips to other countries, and as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.

Teachers understand that they must also meet the high standards expected of them. They welcome the time they get to plan together. They say it helps them to manage their workload.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Staff receive training so that they can respond appropriately when pupils are at risk. Leaders work with external agencies to ensure pupils quickly get the right support when it is needed. Record-keeping, including pre-employment checks, is thorough.

Pupils follow a programme that teaches them how to keep physically and emotionally safe. It covers a wide range of potential risks and includes sessions on gang activity, knife crime and online safety. Pupils also learn about consent and the dangers of pornography and sexting as part of the relationships and sex education programme.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

In music and in religious studies, new leaders have identified gaps in pupils’ knowledge and have planned out what pupils need to learn. School leaders should continue to monitor the impact of these changes to ensure that pupils do as well in these subjects as they do in other areas of the curriculum.

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 a section 8 inspection of a good school or non-exempt outstanding school. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find some evidence that the school could now be better than good or that standards may be declining, then the next inspection will be a section 5 inspection. Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the section 8 inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will convert the section 8 inspection to a section 5 inspection immediately.

This is the first section 8 inspection since we judged the predecessor school, Greenwich Free School, to be good in May 2016.