Atherton High School

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About Atherton High School

Name Atherton High School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Ben Layzell
Address Hamilton Street, Atherton, M46 0AY
Phone Number 01942885500
Phase Academy
Type Free schools
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character Christian
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 509
Local Authority Wigan
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are proud to attend Atherton High School.

They value the positive relationships that they have with their teachers. Pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), feel happy and safe. They relish the warm and welcoming atmosphere at the school.

In the main, pupils are respectful of each other. Pupils work hard to meet the high expectations that the school has of their achievement. They are motivated to learn and maintain a positive attitude towards their learning.

As such, the learning environment is calm and purposeful.

The trust has worked with the school to improve the effectiveness of the delivery of the... curriculum. This supports teachers to help pupils to know and remember more.

Consequently, most pupils achieve well.

Many pupils make good use of the extra-curricular opportunities that are available. For instance, they are enjoying the preparations for their 'Little Mermaid' musical performance.

Such experiences build pupils' confidence to work with others from different classes and year groups. Some pupils also thrive in leadership positions, such as student council representatives. These roles enable them to make a positive contribution to the school and the local community.

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

The trustees and the local governing body have a good understanding of their roles and responsibilities. They provide appropriate challenge and support to the school. This helps the trust and the school to make the necessary improvements to policies and systems.

The school has increased its engagement with parents and carers over time. This means that staff are better informed about the barriers that prevent some pupils from attending school or achieving well. This is leading to positive action to help improve attendance rates and pupils' academic success.

The curriculum for pupils, including for those with SEND, is ambitious. It identifies the knowledge that pupils should learn and in the order in which subject content should be taught. The trust works closely with the school to review how well this curriculum is being taught.

Teachers value the time and guidance that they are given to develop their teaching practice. This makes their workload manageable and improves their confidence and effectiveness in delivering the curriculum.

In the main, teachers use their strong subject knowledge to design effective learning activities.

They place a strong emphasis on developing pupils' subject-specific vocabulary. This helps most pupils to connect their prior knowledge to new learning successfully.

The strategies that most teachers use to check and address pupils' misconceptions are typically effective.

This means that most pupils build on their learning well over time. However, on occasion, some teachers do not check and address forgotten learning effectively. For some pupils, this slows down their progress through the curriculum.

The trust has worked carefully with the school to improve how the needs of pupils with SEND are identified and met. Information about the needs of pupils with SEND is communicated with staff regularly. This enables them to make relevant adaptations to their teaching.

As a result, most pupils with SEND access the same curriculum as their peers and achieve well.

The school has suitable systems to identify and support pupils who struggle to read. Staff are equipped with the knowledge that they need to help these pupils to read fluently and confidently.

Most pupils enjoy reading widely and often.

Typically, pupils are polite and adhere to the school routines. The system to manage pupils' behaviour is used consistently well by most staff.

Therefore, learning is rarely disrupted by poor behaviour.

The school is committed to ensuring that pupils understand how to keep themselves safe online and offline. For example, they know about different types of relationships and how to resist negative peer pressure.

Pupils have a strong awareness of how to keep physically healthy.

Through the curriculum, pupils learn about the beliefs and opinions of different people. However, some pupils have limited meaningful and rich experiences of the diverse world in which they live.

Consequently, a small number of pupils are less understanding of the importance of respecting people who are different to themselves.

Pupils in key stage 4 benefit from a wide range of careers information, education, advice and guidance. They use this to prepare for their next steps in education or employment.

Nonetheless, some pupils across the key stages do not receive sufficient information and experience of the world of work. This means that they are not prepared as well as they could be for their future career pathways.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Occasionally, some teachers do not check that pupils have remembered their learning. At times, this hinders pupils from gaining a secure understanding of new concepts. The school should ensure that teachers make sure that any forgotten learning is identified and addressed.

Some pupils have limited opportunities and experiences to learn about life in modern Britain. A small number of pupils do not understand the importance of tolerance and respect for others as well as they should. The school should enhance its programme to promote pupils' personal development, so that they are prepared well for the diverse world in which they live in.

• Some pupils do not receive enough information about different career pathways. This means that they do not have the knowledge that they need to make informed choices about their next steps in education or employment. The school should improve its careers programme, so that pupils across all key stages are better prepared for their chosen careers.

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