Churnet View Middle School

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About Churnet View Middle School

Name Churnet View Middle School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Steve Fryer
Address Churnet View, Leek, ST13 6PU
Phone Number 01538384939
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 9-13
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 470
Local Authority Staffordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school Senior leaders and governors are passionate and ambitious for the school and its pupils. Together with other staff, they form a dedicated and committed team. In recent years, the school has improved considerably in many areas, including behaviour, attendance and pupils' progress.

Leaders at all levels use assessment information well. They identify pupils who need extra support and then provide help to ensure they do not fall behind with their work. The curriculum contributes well to improving pupils' basic skills and to their personal development.

Consequently, pupils are well prepared for high school when they leave at the end of Year 8.... A very strong culture of care and support for pupils exists across the school, with all staff playing their part. Consequently, pupils feel safe, happy and well cared for in school.

Support provided by the Talentum Learning Trust has not supported inexperienced senior leaders and governors as well as it should. Consequently, some leaders' evaluations of the school have been over-generous. Some improvement plans are unclear and some training has not been as well targeted as it could have been.

Teachers use their strong subject knowledge well to explain ideas and concepts. Pupils value their teachers' expertise. Positive, respectful relationships in classrooms mean that pupils trust their teachers.

Pupils are happy to ask questions and try tasks, secure in the knowledge of their teachers' support. Although teaching is good, some aspects are weaker. Some teachers do not use questions well to check on what pupils know or to deepen their understanding.

At times, teachers do not ensure that tasks are well matched to pupils' abilities and/or needs. Pupils make good progress over the four years they spend in the school. This is the case in most subjects, including English and mathematics.

Attainment has improved considerably over recent years. Disadvantaged pupils make good progress. Good teaching and well-focused extra support have led to the differences in attainment between these pupils and other pupils nationally closing considerably.

Most pupils behave well in lessons. They enjoy their learning and are keen to do well. However, at times, when tasks are not well matched to their abilities or needs, some pupils become distracted.

Teachers do not always deal with this low-level disruption well. The school is calm and orderly throughout the day. Pupils behave well at breaktime and lunchtime.

Most are mature, courteous and polite.

information about these pupils, including strategies to meet their needs when planning

lessons. Teachers are using this information with increasing confidence, although there is some way to go until its use is consistently strong.

Leaders have worked very hard to improve parents' engagement with the school and their efforts have been successful. For example, the number of parents attending parent consultations has increased considerably, and parents now hold the school in high regard. Increasing numbers are choosing to send their children to the school.

Almost all parents who responded to Parent View said they would recommend the school to another parent. Links between the school, local first schools and the trust's two high schools are strong. The headteacher has been instrumental in setting up a local inclusion panel that includes many of these partners.

It works proactively to provide support for vulnerable pupils in these schools. For example, the panel has secured funding to provide additional support for pupils who need help with their mental health. The inexperience of some senior leaders is evident in their over-generous evaluation of some aspects of the school's performance, most notably the quality of teaching.

They have mistakenly equated improvement with excellence. At the start of the inspection, senior leaders evaluated the quality of teaching as outstanding. It is not.

Despite having regularly checked on the quality of teaching jointly with middle leaders, senior leaders had not used this information to inform their overall view of the strengths and weaknesses in teaching. Consequently, although leaders provide teachers with regular training that they value, not all training is well targeted. It has not always been focused effectively on those aspects of teaching or the individuals where improvement is most needed.

This means that, in some respects, teaching has not improved as much as it might have done. Despite this, the overall quality of teaching across the school has improved over recent years and is now good. The Talentum Learning Trust has not provided effective support for the school's inexperienced senior leaders and newly established local governing body (LGB).

It has failed to ensure that senior leaders' evaluations are based on evidence rather than opinion. It has failed to ensure that the LGB is able to challenge leaders about some aspects of the school, including the quality of teaching and the content of some improvement plans. Governance of the school Members of the LGB possess an appropriate range of expertise.

They are committed to the school, its ethos and its vision. They are very supportive of the school's leaders and, in many areas, they also provide effective challenge to leaders. For example, they scrutinise pupil premium spending plans, checking that spending is having the desired impact on disadvantaged pupils' attendance, behaviour and progress.

Similarly, their scrutiny has played its part in the improved provision for pupils with SEND. They regularly question subject leaders about standards within their departments. However, at the time of the inspection, they shared senior leaders' over-generous evaluation of some aspects of the school's effectiveness, including the quality of teaching.

This is because some governors have accepted evaluations that were based on leaders' opinions rather than insisting that they should be based on concrete evidence. The LGB has been in existence for less than 18 months and, as such, is an inexperienced body. The trust has failed to ensure that members of the LGB are properly able to hold leaders to account for all areas of the school that the trust's scheme of delegation suggests they should be.

Safeguarding The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. All safeguarding policies and procedures are fit for purpose. This area is well led.

Leaders have ensured that staff are well trained to spot the signs that pupils might need additional support. Staff readily pass on any concerns they have to leaders. Leaders deal with concerns speedily, involving outside agencies appropriately to ensure that pupils get the help they need.

All staff understand that keeping pupils safe is their top priority. A strong culture of care and support is evident throughout the school. All staff who completed Ofsted's survey said that pupils are safe in school, as did almost all parents who responded to Parent View.

Quality of teaching, learning and assessment Good Relationships between pupils and teachers are strong. Because pupils like and trust their teachers, they are not afraid to tackle demanding activities. They are happy to offer answers to questions and contribute to discussions.

Teachers know their subjects well. They explain new concepts clearly. During lessons, teachers regularly check on individual pupils' learning, providing extra help when it is needed.

They provide pupils with immediate feedback about their work, with clear guidance about how to improve it. Many teachers use questioning well to gauge how well pupils understand their work. They also use questions to deepen pupils' understanding by insisting they develop and refine the answers they provide.

However, this practice is inconsistent across the school. Some teachers use questioning less skilfully and so are unaware when pupils have not grasped an idea. They are also too ready to accept brief responses from pupils, rather than drawing out pupils' knowledge about a topic.

Much of teachers' planning is effective, with tasks well matched to pupils' abilities and building well on what they already know. Leaders' efforts to ensure that teachers provide a greater level of challenge are proving successful. Tasks that teachers set now usually provide a good level of challenge for pupils, including the most able.

However, this is not always the case and at times some work, particularly for the most able, is too easy and pupils complete it quickly without having to think deeply. There is a more inconsistent picture in teachers' planning of activities for low-attaining pupils. Although there is much effective practice in school, inspectors observed several examples where low-attaining pupils were unable to attempt tasks because the tasks were too difficult or not well enough structured.

Often, this was because of teachers' over-ambitious intention to stretch and challenge these pupils. Teachers' promotion of the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic is effective in several subjects. Teaching is strongest in English and mathematics and this supports the development of these skills particularly well.

Pupils who join the school with weak basic skills make good progress in improving them. The effectiveness of teaching pupils with SEND is mixed. Teaching assistants and teachers provide some highly effective support in class and at other times, especially when pupils are falling behind with their work.

Leaders provide teachers with helpful

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