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Leaders and staff nurture pupils' aspirations and self-belief from the moment they join this school. Pupils work hard in their lessons and they enjoy plentiful well-planned opportunities outside the classroom. The science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) club is especially popular.
Pupils also spoke enthusiastically about the rich range of activities offered in the creative arts. They are particularly proud of their school drama productions.
Leaders are ambitious for all pupils.
They plan pupils' learning so that all achieve highly across all subjects. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) study the same broad r...ange of subjects as their peers. For example, all pupils learn French until Year 11.
In Years 7 to 9, pupils enjoy reading several Shakespeare plays as well as important world literature such as 'To Kill a Mockingbird'.
Pupils said that they enjoy school and feel safe. Pupils manage their own behaviour very well.
They are respectful to one another and to staff. Bullying and name-calling are not tolerated in this school. Staff encourage pupils to 'call it out' if it occurs.
Pupils told inspectors that bullying is rare. On the few occasions it does happen, pupils know who to speak to and they trust their teachers to resolve it.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Most parents and carers would recommend this school.
It is easy to see why. Leaders make sure that all pupils receive an excellent education, both in and outside of the classroom. Pupils know that staff want them to excel and aim high for the future.
The curriculum is designed to make sure pupils develop and deepen their knowledge in a wide range of subjects. Subject leaders make ambitious and deliberate choices about the essential knowledge pupils need to know by the end of their courses. They also give careful thought to the order pupils learn new subject content.
For example, in psychology, Year 11 pupils learn about memory shortly before they revise for exams.
Leaders are just as ambitious for students in the sixth form. There is a broad range of subjects for students to choose from.
Teachers are experts in their subject areas. Subject leaders plan the teaching of knowledge and skills with the same care as throughout the school. For example, in English, students learn about the treatment of women in Victorian Britain to understand the portrayal of women in Bram Stoker's 'Dracula'.
In all subjects, teaching is planned to increase pupils' knowledge step by step. Teachers check pupils' understanding thoroughly and expect pupils to apply prior learning. They set pupils demanding work and revisit subject content if pupils need more practice.
Leaders give reading a high priority. Pupils read a wide range of novels, plays and poems from the start of Year 7. This includes books chosen to reflect the school community.
Staff check that pupils read often and widely. Pupils were keen to share their favourite books with inspectors.
Pupils with SEND receive the support they need to succeed in the full range of subjects.
This includes those pupils who attend the resourced provision. Teachers know and plan carefully for each pupil. They provide support which is matched precisely to pupils' needs.
Leaders check that this support enables pupils to overcome any barriers to learning. They do not hesitate to make changes to ensure that pupils' needs are fully met. Pupils with SEND achieve very well in this school.
Pupils learn well because there is very little low-level disruption. In classrooms, pupils focus on their work. They want to learn and they are curious.
Pupils follow teachers' instructions without delay. Well-practised routines contribute to the school's calm, orderly atmosphere. Parents who responded to Ofsted's survey agreed unanimously that the school makes sure that pupils are well behaved.
High expectations for pupils extend beyond the classroom. This is clear in how leaders plan for pupils' personal development. The diverse range of extra-curricular activities is popular and well attended.
Examples include clubs for sports, performing arts, games and debating. Pupils also learn about healthy relationships, diversity and how to keep themselves healthy, both physically and mentally. Leaders have developed a well-structured careers programme, including in the sixth form.
Pupils receive information about non-academic courses and colleges, for instance at an annual careers fair.
Teachers, including early career teachers, value support from leaders immensely. This includes the training they receive to strengthen their expertise.
Teachers also appreciate how leaders ensure that their workload is manageable. Staff enjoy working at this school and they are proud to work there.
The executive board of trustees meets regularly and holds leaders to account.
For example, trustees ask leaders helpful and challenging questions about the curriculum, safeguarding and finance.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Staff at all levels receive safeguarding training.
Training in school is supplemented by additional online training modules on topics such as peer-on-peer abuse and radicalisation. Leaders check that staff understand the information and guidance they receive. Staff are aware of the risks pupils may encounter in the school and the local area.
They can identify signs of potential harm and they know how to report them.
Leaders work closely with outside agencies to provide support to pupils when necessary, for instance through the early help service. Leaders and staff know the procedures to follow if there are concerns about an adult working in the school.
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