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Leaders have created a strong sense of community in this school.
Staff and pupils are proud to be part of the school. One pupil described the school as 'a big family'.
The principal and all other staff have high expectations of how pupils should approach their studies.
Pupils are keen to learn, and enjoy a broad curriculum. In lessons, pupils pay attention and respond positively to questions and the activities that teachers plan.
The school has clear behaviour and rewards policies which pupils understand.
Pupils are rewarded for positive behaviours and achievements ...in all aspects of school life. Pupils said that they feel safe in school and trust teachers to sort out issues such as bullying if they arise.
The school has distinct systems in place to support pupils and help them develop personally.
As one pupil said to an inspector: 'It is not just about lessons.' Pupils can explain the ethos and values of the school. They enjoy the wide range of opportunities offered by the school to develop their talents and interests, for example sporting activities, choir and language speaking clubs.
Pupils also write articles for the published school bulletin on issues such as air pollution, bullying and unconscious bias.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders' high ambition for all pupils is evident day-to-day in the broad, knowledge-based curriculum offered, which also focuses on the core aims of the school.
The curriculum is well thought out and gives pupils the opportunity to study a range of subjects in key stage 3 and key stage 4.
Subject leaders are knowledgeable. Regular meetings with other subject leaders allow them to develop their knowledge and skills further.
The curriculum is ambitious and is fully embedded in most areas.
In subjects such as mathematics and English, leaders and teachers work together to plan, review and refine the curriculum. In English, staff have made the decision to allow pupils to study three Shakespeare plays in key stage 3. Pupils can recall the key knowledge from the plays and link the different personalities of the characters.
In languages, the curriculum is not yet fully embedded. However, the leader has revised curriculum plans so that they include threads of knowledge that are built over time. This has been adopted by the teachers, and is being delivered.
Leaders and teachers have sustained their determined approach to curriculum delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. The school quickly adapted to delivering lessons remotely. The seamless link between remote and in-class teaching is still in place to support pupils.
Pupils and parents appreciate the help and support offered by the school in this area.
Teachers have a deep understanding of their subjects. They are given the freedom to choose how to deliver the planned curriculum in their subject area.
Teachers are clear about what they want the pupils to know and remember over time. They help pupils to make connections to previous learning. In geography, the different topic areas selected are linked, and pupils can explain their relevance to each other and society today.
Assessment takes many different forms. Teachers check understanding in lessons, and are quick to correct any misconceptions. Information from tests is used by teachers and leaders to support pupils, and to refine the curriculum plans.
Pupils appreciate the support teachers offer. One pupil said to an inspector: 'Teachers always offer additional support.'
Leaders and teachers work together to ensure that pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) benefit from an ambitious curriculum.
Leaders are continually working to improve and develop the support pupils need. Plans to support pupils are reviewed regularly. Staff are trained and provided with appropriate information to help support pupils with SEND.
When new information is provided, leaders adapt and change plans accordingly.
Reading has been prioritised by the school. Leaders have appointed pupil reading mentors who help and support younger pupils to improve their reading.
Pupils also attend school regularly before lessons start, to read in organised support sessions. Opportunities for pupils to read in class and to read for pleasure are structured.
Pupils are given a rich diet of activities which are designed to build character and prepare them for the future.
The wider curriculum does much to shape and develop pupils' understanding of society and how to keep themselves safe. Pupils receive regular planned careers education and enjoy different experiences, such as virtual work experience, meeting employers and interacting with guest speakers from a range of post-16 providers.
Staff are overwhelmingly positive about working at the school.
They feel supported and valued by all leaders. All staff who spoke to inspectors made it clear that the leaders in the school genuinely care about them and their well-being.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Staff receive regular training and weekly updates on safeguarding. Staff know what to do if they have a concern about a pupil. Pupils feel safe in school and know that they can speak to any member of staff if they have a worry or a fear.
The designated safeguarding lead works with all staff in school, and meets regularly with the pastoral team to identify and provide support for those pupils who need it. Leaders work with a range of external agencies to provide support for those in need.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• The recently revised curriculum plans in languages are not yet embedded.
Leaders should ensure that curriculum plans in languages clearly identify the knowledge pupils need in all areas, and that the curriculum is reviewed and refined while being implemented. This will help to make sure that pupils in languages develop the required depth of knowledge and understanding.
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 or outstanding school, because it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, 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 deem the section 8 inspection as a section 5 inspection immediately.
This is the first section 8 inspection since we judged the school to be good in March 2016.
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