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Leaders have high expectations for pupils. The changes they are making are having a positive effect on improving the quality of education. Recent improvements in the early years mean that children are getting off to an effective start with their education.
Leaders have put in place an ambitious curriculum across the full range of subjects. There has also been a focus on making sure that pupils secure the important basics in reading, writing and mathematics. The teaching of reading is top priority.
However, many pupils need to urgently catch up with learning to read.
The wider curriculum includes opportunities for pupils to learn about healthy relationships, a...nd to be supported with their mental health and well-being. Programmes such as 'This girl can' and 'Be a gentleman' provide children with positive role models.
Pupils said that they feel happy and safe at school. There are positive relationships between pupils and staff. Pupils have learned about different types of bullying, and are confident that they would report any issues to a trusted adult.
The school rules, 'ready, respectful, safe', are known and understood. Most pupils behave well. Some have not developed consistently positive attitudes to learning.
Pupils reported that the behaviour of others sometimes disturbs their learning.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Trustees and the academy improvement board are highly ambitious for the school. They are a source of support and challenge for school leaders.
They have an accurate view of the recent improvements, and know what is still required.
Leaders are making important improvements. Changes to the early years, the curriculum and provision for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are starting to make a difference.
Subject leaders have carefully considered the curriculum. They have received support and training from the trust. This is giving them greater confidence to lead their subjects.
Units of work in each subject are sequenced appropriately so that pupils' knowledge can build effectively over time. Plans give sufficient attention to securing the basics of reading, writing and mathematics. They also allow for the revisiting of important concepts, so that pupils can secure and embed this knowledge.
The way the curriculum is being implemented is not consistently effective. Many pupils have gaps in their learning. Teachers do not always check and address these effectively.
Teaching sometimes moves too quickly to more complex tasks when pupils have not secured the necessary prior learning. This is particularly the case in subjects such as phonics and mathematics, where knowledge is built sequentially.
Provision for pupils with SEND has continued to improve.
These pupils' needs are carefully identified, and fitting targets are set. The special educational needs coordinator (SENCo) works closely with staff to make sure that pupils are well supported to access the curriculum.
Leaders have acted on previous recommendations to improve the teaching of reading.
Phonics lessons, from Reception, now incorporate spelling as well as reading so that pupils can see the reversible nature of the phonics code. There is greater consistency in the teaching approaches used. However, many pupils remain behind with reading.
Struggling readers in key stage 1 are not catching up as quickly as they need to. They have extra help beyond their phonics sessions. In their phonics lessons, though, they do not spend enough time practising the phonics for their stage.
They are not able to keep up with the expectations of the phonics programme for their age, as they do not have the necessary prior knowledge. These pupils are often expected to work independently too quickly, without further modelling and checking that they are on the right track. As a result, in phonics lessons, these pupils receive less practice than their peers, when they need more.
Pupils in key stage 2 who have still not mastered the phonics code are now receiving carefully tailored support. This is helping some to catch up and be able to access an age-appropriate curriculum. Others still require significant support if they are to catch up with their peers.
Most pupils behave well. However, some do not have such positive attitudes to their learning. They are easily distracted and sometimes interrupt the work of others.
Attendance for some pupils remains low. Leaders have effective systems for dealing with pupils' absence, and promote the importance of good attendance. Rewards and prizes, such as laptops, are encouraging pupils to come to school every day.
A pastoral team supports pupils' personal development and emotional well-being. The team identifies pupils who might need additional help. Daily well-being check-ins and attendance at breakfast club are examples of how pupils are supported to have a safe and settled start to school each day.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders have put effective systems in place to make pupils' safety a priority. Leaders deliver regular training and updates for staff on safeguarding issues.
This enables adults to be alert to possible signs of concern. Leaders make good use of partnerships with other agencies. For example, the local police help to educate pupils and families about risks in the community.
Assemblies and the wider curriculum provide plentiful opportunities for pupils to learn about keeping themselves safe. Pupils learn about possible dangers they may encounter. For example, they learn how to manage risks when online, crossing a road or riding a bicycle.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Many pupils in the early stages of learning to read have fallen behind. Phonics lessons are not always providing the amount of practice needed for pupils to become accurate and automatic with the phonics knowledge they need. Pupils spend too much time trying to access the same learning as their peers, when they do not have the phonic knowledge to do so with success.
Leaders should make sure that work is well matched to pupils' stage in their phonics learning, and that pupils get as much practice with this as possible. Teachers and teaching assistants should make ongoing checks of pupils' understanding so that they can correct any errors and give pupils plenty of practice in each lesson. ? Subject leaders have developed effective curriculum plans.
They now need to work with teachers to develop their expertise in implementing these plans as effectively as possible. For example, teachers should be supported to address typical gaps in pupils' learning and ensure that pupils can apply key concepts fluently. Senior leaders should make sure that subject leadership is increasingly effective in improving pupils' achievement.
• Pupils do not always have positive learning behaviours. This means that their own learning, and that of others, is affected. Leaders should ensure that all staff have consistently high expectations of pupils' behaviour.