Blacon High School, A Specialist Sports College

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About Blacon High School, A Specialist Sports College

Name Blacon High School, A Specialist Sports College
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Rachel Hudson
Address Melbourne Road, Blacon, Chester, CH1 5JH
Phone Number 01244371475
Phase Secondary
Type Foundation school
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 716
Local Authority Cheshire West and Chester
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are typically happy in school. They feel safe and well cared for because of the nurturing environment that staff provide. The school takes a proactive approach to supporting those pupils who struggle to engage with their education.

Nevertheless, while pupils' rates of attendance are improving, some pupils do not attend school as often as they should.

The school wants the best for pupils, irrespective of their personal circumstances or the challenges they may face. To this end, the school has ensured that pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), access a suitably ambitious curriculum.

However, due to flaws in ho...w the curriculum was designed in the past, some older pupils have acquired gaps in their learning. Added to this, there remain some inconsistencies in how well the curriculum is delivered. As a result, by the end of key stage 4, some pupils lack the knowledge that they need to succeed in national examinations.

The school has rigorous and appropriate processes for managing pupils' unacceptable behaviour. In the main, staff and pupils said that, since the previous inspection, pupils' behaviour has improved. This means that, during lessons, pupils can focus on their learning.

Typically, classrooms are calm, and pupils behave sensibly during social times.

Many pupils, including disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND, appreciate the wealth of wider opportunities on offer. For example, older pupils are keen to support their younger peers in their roles as mentors.

Others enjoy participating in a range of extra-curricular activities they may not have experienced before, such as rowing.

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

The school and the governing body have an accurate understanding of those aspects of the quality of education that they need to develop further. For example, the school has acted successfully to provide a more ambitious curriculum for pupils in key stage 3.

In addition, the school has also ensured that teachers are typically clear about the knowledge that pupils should learn and when this content should be delivered. Increasingly, this is supporting staff to design appropriate learning for pupils.

Typically, staff are knowledgeable about the subjects they teach.

Some staff use their expertise well to design suitable learning activities for pupils. However, other staff lack the confidence to design learning that supports pupils to learn aspects of the curriculum. Some staff are not fully equipped to check that pupils have remembered and understood earlier curriculum content.

This prevents some pupils from building securely on what they have learned previously.

The school has high numbers of pupils with SEND. It manages the identification and assessment of these pupils' additional needs well.

For example, in key stage 3, a small number of pupils with SEND benefit from carefully considered support to help them with the transition to secondary school. The school has ensured that staff receive sufficient information about how to adapt their delivery of the curriculum successfully for pupils with SEND. However, weaknesses in the delivery of the curriculum mean that some pupils with SEND do not achieve as well as they could.

The school accurately identifies those pupils who struggle with reading. However, the support for these pupils, particularly those in key stage 4, is not as effective as it could be. This is because some of these pupils do not attend as regularly as they should.

This prevents these pupils from catching up with their reading knowledge quickly.

The school has recently strengthened its approach to improving pupils' rates of attendance. While the impact of this approach is tangible for many younger pupils, some older pupils do not attend school as often as they should.

Typically, the atmosphere around the site is calm and orderly. During lessons, most pupils listen attentively to their teachers and follow instructions carefully. The school provides carefully considered support to help those pupils who find it more difficult to regulate their own behaviour.

The school provides an appropriate programme to support pupils' personal development. Pupils learn about age-appropriate aspects of topics and issues that are relevant to them. Staff receive suitable training and guidance to deliver the personal, social, health and economic education curriculum.

This helps pupils to be well prepared for life in modern Britain. Pupils are suitably informed about the careers and further education opportunities that are available to them. The school supports pupils to be aspirational for their next steps.

For the most part, staff appreciate that they are consulted about how new initiatives impact on their workload. The school has carefully balanced the well-being of staff while introducing the improvements necessary to develop the quality of education that pupils receive further. The school has taken decisive and appropriate action to implement accurate improvement priorities since the previous inspection.

However, from time to time, the school does not check on the impact of aspects of its work as effectively as it could.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• At times, staff lack the confidence that they need to deliver aspects of the curriculum well.

This hinders some pupils, including those with SEND, from learning the curriculum as successfully as they should. The school should ensure that staff are supported to deliver the curriculum as intended. ? In some subjects, staff are unable to check well enough on whether pupils have understood what has been taught.

This means that some pupils' misconceptions are not dealt with effectively or quickly enough. The school should ensure that staff are suitably equipped to identify and address pupils' misconceptions before introducing new learning. ? Some pupils, particularly in key stage 4, do not attend school often enough.

This interrupts these pupils' learning and prevents them from achieving as well as they should. It also prevents some of them from overcoming the gaps in their reading knowledge. The school should ensure that it removes the barriers that prevent these pupils from attending school regularly.

• From time to time, the school does not evaluate the impact of aspects of its work effectively enough. This hinders the school in prioritising those strategies that are most effective in driving forward improvements. The school should ensure that it checks fully on how its actions impact positively on the quality of education that pupils receive and use this information to inform its next steps.

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