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Pupils describe the school as being like a family, where diversity is celebrated and equality promoted. They said that teachers always support them and have high expectations, and that they get lots of opportunities to learn.
Pupils' professional relationships with their teachers are especially positive and they get well-directed advice about next steps and careers. Pupils feel safe in school and know that teachers always have time for them if they are worried about something. Pupils' pride in their school is unmistakeable.
Occasional cases of bullying are sorted out effectively by staff. Teachers deal with concerns speedily and effectively. Behaviour is calm and orde...rly.
Pupils move quickly and calmly around the large campus with a minimum of fuss. Occasionally, pupils get a bit silly in classrooms but this is dealt with well by teachers. As a result, learning is rarely interrupted.
Leaders successfully prioritise pupils' personal development. The school's programme strongly encourages pupils to understand healthy relationships. This includes how to identify inappropriate behaviour and language from their peers.
For example, issues around consent are dealt with clearly in personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education lessons, and through assemblies and form time. Pupils are taught to report any concerns. Leaders respond to any issues effectively and swiftly.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
There is much that the school does particularly well. Leaders have made sure that their clarity of vision is translated effectively into a culture of mutual respect. There is a strong focus on pupils' well-being and learning.
Pupils are given a great deal of support to do well and many take the opportunities available to extend their learning. For example, there is a wide range of after-school clubs and activities as well as planned trips and visiting drama groups. The quality of the help available to pupils is a particular strength.
In many subjects, the curriculum is planned effectively to ensure that pupils build their learning in a structured and logical way. This is especially so in mathematics, where the attention to detail means that pupils learn exceptionally well. This is also the case in the sixth form.
The wide range of academic and vocational subjects offered means that nearly all students find a pathway that is right for them. Their achievements are first-rate.
In other subjects across the school, pupils learn well because the curriculum plans identify the essential knowledge needed to achieve at a high level.
For example, in art, pupils learn how to use colour in increasingly sophisticated ways. In history, the order in which the fundamental concepts are taught enables pupils to make connections. This means that they know more and remember more as they move up the school.
Teachers have a thorough understanding of their subjects. Subject leaders have done much to ensure that teaching plans identify the key content and skills that they want pupils to learn. For example, in design and technology, teachers have identified where they want pupils to get to and the knowledge needed to reach this point.
There is a strong focus on recalling knowledge so that pupils can build on previous learning.
However, in a few instances, these plans are not being implemented quite as effectively. This is partly the result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of working remotely.
Nevertheless, the quality of the work produced by some pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 is not as strong as it should be. In a few cases, the sequence of learning is not as carefully organised. In other cases, the work is occasionally undemanding.
These small inconsistencies mean that some pupils are not learning as much of the curriculum as they could.
Support for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), including for those who attend the additional resource unit, is well planned. The wide range of support available for pupils, and the well-devised systems to continually check their learning, contribute strongly to the development of pupils' knowledge and skills.
As a result, pupils with SEND gain the skills for later life.
Senior leaders' clear vision for the school ensures that staff are highly ambitious for pupils and students. Staff workload is managed effectively.
Leaders evaluate the school's work thoroughly. They know where the weaknesses are and tackle these pragmatically. For instance, an innovative project to develop pupils' confidence, as well as their technical vocabulary and creativity, is under way.
High-quality leadership in the sixth form ensures that students' personal and academic development is top-notch. Students are thoughtful and mature. They leave the sixth form very well prepared for their future lives.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders ensure that there are rigorous procedures to promote pupils' welfare, safety and well-being. Up-to-date policies mean that the most recent government guidance informs practice.
Teachers have a secure understanding of the safeguarding procedures and to whom they need to report concerns. Training for staff is comprehensive.
With the strong support of governors and trustees, leaders ensure that staff vetting checks are carried out effectively.
The strong links with outside agencies mean that help for pupils is provided quickly. Leaders employ an impressive range of support staff to enhance further the support they provide for pupils. The PSHE programme and assemblies ensure that pupils are taught about staying safe, including online safety, cyberbullying and peer-on-peer abuse.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• The school's curriculum has many strengths, for example in mathematics, geography and in the sixth form. Subject leaders are clear about what they want pupils to learn and by when. They have identified end points and the essential knowledge that pupils need to learn to reach these.
However, there are inconsistencies and variabilities in the way the curriculum is delivered in some subjects. This results in pupils not making as much progress in their learning as they should, especially at key stage 3. Curriculum plans need to be implemented effectively across the school, so that learning is carefully structured in all subjects.