This is a school that requires improvement Leaders and governors are too generous in their evaluation of how quickly the school is raising standards. The improvements that have been made have not had sufficient impact on the progress that pupils make.
The quality of teaching is too variable. The school's policy on feedback to pupils about their work is not routinely followed. Therefore, pupils do not know clearly enough how well they are doing and how they can improve.
Teachers do not use assessment information well enough to plan teaching for the full range of pupils' abilities. The most able pupils are not challenged to think deeply about their learning so t...hat they reach the highest standards of which they are capable. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are not supported well enough to access tasks at the appropriate level.
Pupils are compliant but, where teachers' planning is weak, they lose focus and do not take responsibility for their learning. Where teachers' expectations are not high, pupils leave tasks unfinished or complete them in a cursory way. Pupils do not habitually take pride in the presentation of their work.
Middle leaders are increasingly knowledgeable about the importance of their roles. However, they are not yet sufficiently skilled to support senior leaders to raise standards. They do not challenge strongly enough when teaching falls short of expectations.
The school has the following strengths Pupils behave well around the school. They are confident and articulate. The rate of attendance has improved and is now in line with national averages.
The proportion of pupils who miss school regularly has also reduced. Pupils take part in a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities. Staff support pupils' social, moral, spiritual and cultural development well.
Information about this school
The school received a short inspection in November 2018. Although the school was judged still to be good, the inspector identified some priorities for improvement. Dorchester Middle School became a single academy trust on 1 June 2012.
The school is part of a loose federation of schools known as the Dorchester Area Schools Partnership. The school is a middle deemed secondary school catering for pupils from Year 5 to Year 8. It is smaller than the average-sized secondary school.
Most pupils are of White British heritage. The proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional language is below the national average. There is a specialist resource base on site, which is led and managed by the school.
It caters for pupils with physical disabilities. The proportion of pupils with SEND, including those supported by an education, health and care plan, is above the national average. The proportion of disadvantaged pupils is below the national average.