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They learn well and have access to a wide range of opportunities to develop their skills and talents. They recognise that their teachers have high expectations of them, and this motivates them to think ambitiously about their futures. One parent summed up the views expressed by many: 'Charters feels like an exciting place to study, with lots of opportunities for children regardless of academic ability.
The teachers work hard to achieve high standards, and pastoral support is good.'
The behaviour of most pupils is very good and reflects the school's values of unity, respect and excellence. Pupils feel safe in school. .../> They know that there are lots of adults they can go to if they need help or advice. Although there is some unkind behaviour and bullying, it is dealt with effectively by leaders once reported.
Pupils appreciate that, even though this is a large school, they are known well by teachers and leaders.
Pupils enjoy being a part of the Charters community and experiences, such as trips, sports days and concerts, form a particularly important part of their time here.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Pupils achieve well here in a broad range of subject areas. Leaders have thought about what they want pupils to learn and how this should build over time from Years 7 to 13.
Teachers use a range of different methods skilfully to check that pupils are learning what they intend, and to identify any gaps in understanding. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) learn well as a result of recent improvements to the way their needs are identified and met in the classroom. When pupils fall behind, they benefit from additional help outside of their usual lessons to help them catch up with their peers.
This includes effective support for struggling readers. Students in the sixth form learn particularly well. Teachers use their impressive subject expertise to inspire students and motivate them to be curious.
Behaviour in lessons is calm and focused. Off-task behaviour is dealt with quickly by teachers, so that it does not prevent anyone from learning. At breaktimes, the majority of pupils behave well.
However, the behaviour of some pupils is boisterous at times. There are also a small number of pupils who are disruptive and sometimes defiant. Leaders have identified this and have put in place effective plans to help these pupils improve their behaviour.
Pupils' wider development is a clear priority at this school. Leaders ensure that pupils benefit from an extensive programme of clubs and enrichment activities. Opportunities include sports, music and drama as well as competitions and events linked to particular subject areas.
This is especially strong in the sixth form, where students have extensive enrichment opportunities built into their timetables. Many use this time to provide service to the school or their local community, for example, by visiting elderly residents in a nearby nursing home. Some take on student leadership responsibilities on the school council and its committees.
Leaders have made recent improvements to the curriculum for personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education. The plans they have introduced provide good coverage of the things pupils need to know to prepare them for life in modern Britain. However, these have been introduced very recently and have not yet had time to be fully effective.
Some pupils' experience of PSHE lessons has been repetitive or disjointed. Leaders have rightly identified that some groups of pupils do not feel well represented within the PSHE programme, particularly in the way that equality and racism is discussed.
Throughout their time at Charters, pupils are helped to make important choices about their futures.
Leaders make sure that, although the sixth form is the most popular option after Year 11, pupils know about alternatives, such as apprenticeships and vocational routes. The guidance and support given to students in the sixth form to identify and secure their next steps is highly beneficial because it is closely matched to their interests and ambitions.
Leaders and trustees know their school well.
They have an accurate understanding of its strengths as well as those areas which could be developed further. Trustees bring a range of expertise to their roles. They understand their responsibilities and provide effective support and challenge to leaders.
They use a range of methods to make sure that the information they are given by leaders matches what is happening in school.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders make sure that adults in school receive effective and regular training, so that safeguarding remains a priority.
Staff report any concerns about pupils' welfare, even if they seem small. Leaders take timely and appropriate action and help is secured quickly when needed. This includes working with external agencies and mental health professionals as required.
The necessary checks are carried out on new staff and any concerns are handled well. Pupils learn about how to keep themselves safe through the newly improved PSHE curriculum.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Although pupils generally behave well, behaviour at breaktimes is sometimes boisterous.
A small minority of pupils are sometimes defiant or disruptive. Leaders should make sure that staff are consistent in addressing behaviour which falls below the expectations set out in the school's behaviour policy. Leaders' recent improvements to the curriculum in PSHE are not fully embedded.
Some pupils do not remember what they have learned in these lessons. Their learning over time does not build consistently on what they already know. Leaders should evaluate the impact of the PSHE curriculum, so that they can continue to refine their plans.
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