Beckfoot Thornton

Name Beckfoot Thornton
Ofsted Inspection Rating Requires improvement
Inspection Date 17 September 2019
Address Leaventhorpe Lane, Thornton, Bradford, West Yorkshire, BD13 3BH
Phone Number 01274881082
Type Secondary
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1428 (52% boys 48% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 15.3
Academy Sponsor Beckfoot Trust
Local Authority Bradford
Percentage Free School Meals 24%
Percentage English is Not First Language 19.9%
Persisitent Absence 16.8%
Pupils with SEN Support 13.9%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils enjoy coming to school. They say that they feel safe and that they learn a lot. Older pupils told us that the school has really improved in the last few years. Teaching is improving too. This is helping pupils to achieve more than they would have done in the past. The school feels calm and friendly. Pupils move around the large building sensibly. They stick to the rules and one-way system so that corridors are safe. In lessons, most pupils try their best and do what teachers ask of them. Behaviour across the school is good. Teachers say that since the new headteacher arrived, pupils’ behaviour is much better. Pupils agree. They say that it is because the teachers have higher expectations of their behaviour now. Pupils told us that bullying does not happen very often. If it does, pupils say that adults in the school deal with it quickly. School leaders work hard to make sure that pupils are well cared for. Pupils can speak with counsellors or other professionals if they have a problem. If pupils need more help with their learning, staff are available to help them.

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

The quality of education requires improvement. Leaders have been successful in improving pupils’ behaviour and attendance. They are now starting to review the curriculum. However, leaders have only recently started to think about what pupils learn and in what order. Pupils in key stage 3 spend two years learning a curriculum. In Year 9, they pick their GCSEs, which reduces the number of subjects they study. This means that teachers teach about a broad range of topics but they do not explore subject content in depth. This leads to gaps in pupils’ understanding.

The quality of teaching, although improving, can vary. Sometimes, when teachers assess what pupils know, they do not use the results as well as they could. This is different in English. Teachers have noticed that pupils in Year 11 need help to evaluate written text. As a result, staff have redesigned subject plans in Year 7 so that pupils master this skill early on. Most teachers are now teaching pupils the subject content that matters the most, apart from religious education, which is limited. Staff are improving their own subject knowledge by sharing ideas and planning together. They also attend regular training sessions that experts lead. Pupils are beginning to show what they are capable of.

Pupils enjoy many opportunities to develop their wider skills. This complements focused activities that help to improve pupils’ understanding of mental health issues and the world of work. Careers education is a strength. Nearly all pupils go on to further education, employment or training when they leave school.

Staff help pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) to get the support they need. This happens in the specialist resource base and in lessons. Leaders say that SEND provision is a priority for them. Recently, staff with more experience have joined the school. This helps to identify early the learning needs of pupils with SEND. Occasionally, teachers do not use teaching assistants well enough to support pupils’ development. Leaders have plans to train staff to develop theirskills when they are supporting pupils with their learning.

Sixth-form provision is good. The sixth form is small, which means that students have lots of opportunities to receive help and support. This helps them to achieve well, especially in applied general courses. Teachers know their subjects. Carefully constructed subject plans ensure that students are taught well. Attendance is high and improving. Students are heavily involved in a wide range of leadership activities. For example, some students deliver whole-school assemblies or help younger pupils with their reading skills.

Leadership is strong. The headteacher, senior leaders and trustees work well together. Trustees ensure that they and other leaders know their roles and responsibilities in detail. Leaders’ successful systems ensure that they meet their statutory obligations relating to safeguarding, accountability and use of resources. Staff morale is very high. Nearly all staff who responded to Ofsted’s inspection questionnaire said that the school is well led and managed. They said that leaders do all they can to ensure that the school has a motivated, respected and effective staff. Trustees say that they want to create a ‘remarkable’ school. Initial signs are positive in this regard.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Leaders make appropriate pre-recruitment checks, making sure that staff are safe to work with pupils. Staff attend regular safeguarding training and can explain the risks pupils may face locally. Leaders ensure that pupils who attend alternative education provision are safe. Pupils know how to stay safe. They have a thorough understanding of the risks posed when using the internet. Systems are in place to check on vulnerable pupils through the pastoral system. For example, leaders would much rather provide support for pupils in school than elsewhere.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

Trustees and senior leaders have a sound rationale for the curriculum following extensive consultation between schools. However, school leaders know that it is very early days in relation to their new curriculum. Subject leaders have only just begun to discuss with staff what it is that they want to teach pupils and when. Conversations in this regard have been constrained to individual subject areas at this stage. Consequently, leaders must continue to generate and implement new subject plans, with clearly defined end points, so that pupils deliberately learn the most important content in a coherent order and in a way that enables them to progressively know more and remember more over time. . Currently, some pupils in key stage 3 do not cover subject content sufficiently well to be able to draw upon their learning in the future. This is because subjects such as religious education lack prominence in the curriculum. Additionally, the timepupils spend learning new content is limited in some subjects as teachers attempt to teach a broad and balanced curriculum that is commensurate with the national curriculum. However, time is limited, and teachers sometimes gloss over important learning points. This leads to gaps in pupils’ understanding. Leaders must ensure that pupils are afforded sufficient time to learn important subject content in detail for as long as possible, including in religious education. . Some teachers and leaders use assessment well to inform pupils of their next steps. They also use assessment effectively to alter teaching or curriculum plans so that recurring weaknesses in pupils’ understanding are addressed. However, this is inconsistent within and across subjects. Leaders must ensure that the use of assessment to support pupils’ learning is improved and inconsistencies in this area are reduced. . The use of teaching assistants to support pupils with SEND varies. Leaders should ensure that teaching assistants have access to meaningful training opportunities to improve their understanding of their role and the additional learning needs of pupils with SEND. . Pupils’ behaviour and attendance have improved significantly from a low baseline. Leaders should ensure that they sustain and improve further their good work in these areas so that pupils’ attendance is in line with that of other pupils nationally. Similarly, leaders should continue to improve pupils’ behaviour, particularly the small minority of pupils in key stage 4 who do not behave as well as they should.