Barclay Academy

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About Barclay Academy

Name Barclay Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Dr Matthew Laban
Address Walkern Road, Stevenage, SG1 3RB
Phone Number 01438748459
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 814
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils and students at Barclay Academy know that they attend a school where expectations are high for their achievement and their behaviour.

Leaders have made significant improvements since the school opened. In the majority of subjects, pupils do well. This includes those who are disadvantaged and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Everyone is encouraged to read for pleasure. Those who struggle are given good support to help them access texts in lessons.

Pupils and students are happy and feel safe here.

They are known well by staff. Behaviour on the corridors and around the school site is usually well ordered. Pupils re...port that any bullying is usually dealt with swiftly and fairly by adults.

The range of extra-curricular clubs is exceptional, due in no small part to support from the trust. This includes activities in the arts and sports, karting, rowing, and opportunities to experience trips to the theatre and abroad. Students in the small but growing sixth form are given opportunities to take responsibility and develop leadership qualities.

As a result of the excellent programme, pupils and students have a mature understanding of and respect for different personal characteristics.

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

Leaders have an ambitious vision for the curriculum. In the core subjects of English, mathematics and science, pupils achieve very well as the result of very well-designed, well-sequenced and well-taught programmes of study.

A strong programme of intervention work supports those who struggle to read when they join the school. A whole-school approach to reading for pleasure and a range of enrichment activities around literature also positively promote the benefits of reading to all pupils and students. Sixth-form students who have previously struggled with English and mathematics are given individualised support.

Leaders have introduced a greater range of demanding courses in Years 10 and 11 and in the sixth form. The number of pupils following courses that contribute to the English Baccalaureate (Ebacc) is rising, most notably in languages GCSEs because of pupils studying Latin from Year 7. Effective strategies are used in class to identify and support pupils with SEND, including whose needs are identified through education, health and care plans.

Pupils achieve well, overall.

In Years 7 to 9, pupils are offered a full range of subjects. In a few foundation areas, pupils' work is not yet of a consistently high quality.

This is due in part to further work being needed on planning or on ensuring that the knowledge and skills taught are demanding enough. Consistent classroom routines mean that pupils and students are required, and able, to focus on learning as soon as they arrive in lessons. This often takes the form of tasks where they are asked to recall previously learned knowledge or think about new concepts.

This is usually effective, but on occasion, pupils' misconceptions are not picked up or their responses are not given enough consideration by teachers.

Expectations are high for behaviour in and out of the classroom. Most, but not all, pupils and parents understand and accept the rules set by leaders, including for personal presentation and for being equipped for lessons.

A small but persistent number of pupils do not conform to teachers' repeated requests and do not self-regulate their behaviour. This leads to short periods of isolation or longer exclusion.

Provision for pupils' and students' personal development is exceptional.

All classes are taught personal, social and health education twice a week. These sessions are supported by visiting speakers and theatre groups that cover issues such as consent, bullying and moral choices. Pupils and students are encouraged to give their views and to be physically and mentally resilient.

They are taught how to use information technology, including social media, both safely and healthily. The trust gives strong support to character development and participation, including through the provision of a full-time co-curricular coordinator. Provision for careers education is also strong, both in the main school and in the sixth form.

Parents, staff, and trust leaders rightly recognise the determined and principled work of the headteacher and his leadership team in improving the school since it opened. Comprehensive ongoing training and support are provided for staff, who also appreciate the thoughtful and meaningful consideration given to their workload. Those in the early stages of their teaching careers are particularly well supported.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

All required checks are made on adults working at the school. Any concerns are managed swiftly and appropriately, including through referrals to the appropriate authorities.

Individual and accurate pupil records are kept, with help secured from outside agencies when it is needed.

Staff training in safeguarding is regular. Clear policies are in place and action taken in cases of abusive language or behaviour around the school.

Adults have an accurate understanding of how to spot any signs of concern, and about how to report these when they occur.

Leaders make regular checks on the well-being of pupils attending alternative provision, to ensure they too are kept safe.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In a small number of foundation subjects, leaders have not planned a curriculum that includes sufficient content or details of what pupils should learn.

This means some pupils do not produce work of a consistently high quality. Leaders should ensure that all subjects are planned and delivered in a way that enables pupils to gain high-level, age-appropriate knowledge and skills. ? A small minority of pupils are not yet able to self-regulate their behaviour effectively.

Subsequently, they are sent to isolation or require exclusion. This disrupts their learning. Leaders should continue to work with parents and pupils to support pupils to manage their behaviour and to reduce further the number of lessons that are disrupted.

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