Ark Walworth Academy

Name Ark Walworth Academy
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Address Shorncliffe Road, London, SE1 5UJ
Phone Number 02074509570
Type Academy
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1023 (59.1% boys 40.9% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 16.0
Academy Sponsor Ark Schools
Local Authority Southwark
Percentage Free School Meals 39.4%
Percentage English is Not First Language 48.3%
Persisitent Absence 13.6%
Pupils with SEN Support 11.7%
Catchment Area Indicator Available Yes
Last Distance Offered Available No
Highlights from Latest Full Inspection (22 October 2014)
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Information about this school

The Principal took up post in January 2013. She is a National Leader of Education and was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2014. The academy is slightly larger than the average-sized secondary school with a small sixth form which is increasing in size. The school has far more boys than girls in Years 7 to 11, with a smaller gap between them in the sixth form. The approximate percentages of the students attending the academy are: 30% Black African, 20% White British, 10% of other White heritages (mainly European), 10% Black Caribbean, and smaller percentages from several other minority ethnic backgrounds. A well above average proportion of students speak English as an additional language, of whom a small number are at an early stage of learning English. A well above average proportion of students receive support through the pupil premium, which is additional government funding for specific groups including children who are looked after and students known to be eligible for free school meals. The academy has several looked after children. The proportion of disabled students and those with special educational needs supported through school action is well above the national average. The proportion of students supported at school action plus or with a statement of special educational needs is also well above the national average. The most common needs relate to students with speech, language and communication difficulties. About one in five students is eligible for Year 7 catch-up funding, which is for students who did not achieve the expected Level 4 in reading or mathematics at the end of Key Stage 2. Five students from Years 10 and 11 attend LIFE, a small school run by a charity which supports students who find normal school challenging. A few sixth form students attend Globe Academy (also ARK) for lessons in sociology, and philosophy and ethics, not taught at the academy. The academy meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school. The percentage of students achieving good GCSE grades in English and mathematics has been at least above average since the previous inspection. In 2014, the percentage of students attaining the EBacc qualification matched the national average. Students behave well and all of them get on well together. The vast majority are ambitious and work hard in lessons. Students make good progress in practically all their lessons and standards are rising rapidly. The sixth form is good. It has been transformed during the last couple of years. Students study carefully balanced combinations of subjects which prepare them well for their future lives. Students mature into confident young adults. The pastoral care and support for students are outstanding. Students value the safety and security the academy gives them. They and their parents and carers appreciate its valuable work in the community. Students enjoy academy life: ‘I like loads of things, especially the staff’ (Year 9 student). The Principal’s dynamic leadership has generated rapid improvements in many areas of the academy’s work. She is ably backed by the ARK organisation and the governing body. The senior leadership team, middle leaders and all other staff are fully supportive of the Principal’s plans for the future; they work effectively and energetically to deliver them. Senior leaders organise high-quality professional development for all staff and regularly use external specialists to validate the academy’s work. Both these contribute to focus on success for all. Teaching has moved into a higher gear in recent months. Teachers and support staff are equally focused on making students’ learning enjoyable and successful. The range of subjects taught is innovative. Provision for students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is strong. Health and safety issues which students encounter outside school are tackled head-on and fearlessly by the academy. It is not yet an outstanding school because: Standards and progress are not strong enough in a few GCSE and sixth form subjects. Too few students attain the top examination grades. The quality of marking varies in a few subjects. Work given to the most able students is not always hard enough for them. Lessons to improve students’ reading and writing are not as effective as they need to be. Progress of students with special educational needs is held back if, as their learning develops, adjustments are not made to the support they receive.