Birches Head Academy

Name Birches Head Academy
Ofsted Inspection Rating Requires improvement
Inspection Date 26 June 2018
Address Birches Head Road, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST2 8DD
Phone Number 01782233595
Type Secondary
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 693 (51% boys 49% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 16.9
Local Authority Stoke-on-Trent
Percentage Free School Meals 26.3%
Percentage English is Not First Language 19.2%
Persisitent Absence 17.9%
Pupils with SEN Support 16.9%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about this school

The school does not meet the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for pupils’ attainment and progress at the end of Year 11. The school meets the Department for Education’s definition of a coasting school based on key stage 4 academic results in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Birches Head Academy is smaller than the average-sized secondary school. Leaders are applying for the school to become part of the Alpha Academy Trust. Currently governance is provided by the school, the local authority and members of the Alpha Academy Trust. Some support is provided to the school by a national leader of education. Most pupils are White British. The proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional language is above average. The proportion of pupils who have SEN and/or disabilities, including those who have an education, health and care plan, is broadly average. The proportion of disadvantaged pupils is above the national average. Eight pupils attend alternative provision at Stoke College, Sporting Stars, Alpha Learning and Created Academy, on a full-time basis.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a school that requires improvement Currently and over time in English, mathematics, science and a range of other subjects, too many pupils make poor progress. Those who have special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities, disadvantaged pupils, those who are middle attaining and the most able are among this group. Leaders, including governors, have not ensured the effective use of the additional funding they receive to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils and those who have SEN and/or disabilities. These pupils’ performance and attendance continue to lag behind others. The quality of teaching, while improving, is too variable. Too often, teaching is not planned at the right level to challenge pupils’ thinking and move their learning on. Teachers do not routinely share the best practice that is now more evident in the school. Plans to improve the school are not focused with precision upon those areas which will make the greatest difference to teaching, behaviour and outcomes. When teachers do not set work which interests pupils or meets their needs, some become bored and easily distracted. A small minority of pupils display poor behaviour in social times. While improving slowly, the absence and exclusion rates at the school are too high. The school has the following strengths Leaders, including governors, have established an inclusive and ambitious culture. Since the last inspection, leaders have taken stronger action to address weaknesses and capacity for further improvement is evident. Pupils with low prior attainment and those who speak English as an additional language make good progress over time. Pupils report that they enjoy school more because teaching and behaviour are improving. The school’s extra-curricular and careers programmes contribute much to pupils’ development. Safeguarding is effective and pupils understand how to keep safe in and out of school.