Success is celebrated every day in this school. The corridors echo with the sound of pupils applauding each other's achievements in lessons.
Weekly 'Proud' events give pupils the chance to show off their work. Pupils are keen to tell visitors about what they have accomplished in school that day.
Leaders place no limits on what pupils can achieve.
Pupils are encouraged to 'make your best, even better'. Pupils rise to this challenge. They take immense pride in their studies.
The work in their books is of a consistently high standard. They behave exceptionally well and are a credit to themselves.
The school has a strong community spirit. ...r/>Pupils are encouraged to become active citizens. The vast majority of pupils, including disadvantaged pupils, attend an after-school club. Pupils support local charities.
For example, sixth-form students coordinate donations for a local food bank.
There is a genuine warmth between staff and pupils. Pupils feel safe.
Any rare incidents of bullying are swiftly dealt with. Peer mentors support Year 7 pupils to settle into school. Students in the sixth form are proud to help younger pupils with their reading.
As one parent put it, '[Dyke House is] much more than just a school. It's at the heart of the community.'
What does the school do well?
Leaders have established a curriculum that inspires pupils and students.
There is high ambition for all. This includes pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and disadvantaged pupils. Trustees pay close attention to the most vulnerable learners.
They hold leaders to account. This supports leaders to remain sharply focused on ensuring that all pupils achieve their best.
The curriculum is exceptionally well designed.
It enables pupils to build their knowledge over time, and to link their knowledge from different subjects. Pupils are adept at using subject-specific language when they talk about their learning. Teachers plan opportunities to include authentic texts in lessons.
For example, sixth-form students studying psychology read carefully selected journal articles. Pupils studying languages read extracts of 'Harry Potter' in Spanish. This helps pupils deepen their understanding of the subjects that they study.
Pupils with SEND are carefully considered by leaders when designing the curriculum. Individual pupils' needs are accurately identified. The right support is then put in place.
Teachers make skilful adaptations to lessons depending on the needs of individual pupils. As a result, pupils with SEND achieve remarkably well in all key stages.
Teachers use a range of methods, such as short quizzes, to routinely check pupils' knowledge.
Teachers address any knowledge gaps before moving on. Leaders use assessment information effectively to adapt and improve the curriculum.
Reading has a central importance in school.
There is a breadth of reading programmes for pupils. Pupils who need help with reading are swiftly identified. Pupils get the right support to catch-up quickly.
Pupils who are more confident readers are nurtured to develop a love of reading. Teachers can see the difference that these programmes make to pupils. Pupils are more engaged in their lessons because their reading ability has been strengthened by this work.
Pupils' conduct is superb. The impact of their strong relationships with staff is tangible. The very small minority of younger pupils who occasionally fall short of the school's high behaviour expectations are well supported to turn things around.
As a result, the school is calm and orderly.
The curriculum significantly broadens pupils' cultural horizons. For example, Year 7 pupils benefited from a recent visit to Durham Cathedral.
This helped them to link their religious education to what they have learned in history about Henry VIII. School elections for 'Student President' give pupils a lived experience of democracy. The 'Life' programme provides pupils and students with the vital knowledge that they need to be prepared for life in modern Britain.
The work to develop pupils' character is exceptional. 'Love to Learn' projects inspire pupils to work independently and read around topics that interest them. Pupils with leadership responsibilities are working with leaders to develop a sensory room to support pupils with their mental well-being.
Careers education begins in Year 7. Local colleges visit to talk about what options pupils have at post-16. Pupils and students learn about apprenticeships and university pathways.
Students are exceptionally passionate about their experience in sixth form. They feel that the school goes above and beyond to provide bespoke support. Students benefit greatly from work placements and visits to university masterclasses.
A high proportion of sixth-form students progress to Russell Group universities.
Leadership is strong at all levels. Staff universally buy into leaders' vision.
Everyone is pulling in the same direction. Staff consistently report high levels of consideration from leaders about their workload and well-being. They value the high-quality training that they receive.
This professional development has a material impact on the quality of education in school.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Staff have a clear understanding of the local risks that may affect pupils.
Regular training from safeguarding leaders means that all staff know the signs that might indicate that a pupil is at risk at harm. Adults in school recognise the additional vulnerabilities around pupils with SEND. Pupils are well supported to disclose concerns so that leaders can get all pupils help when they need it.
Leaders work well with external agencies that provide support for pupils.
The 'Life' programme teaches pupils how to stay safe and to understand what is right or wrong in a relationship. Pupils are also taught age-appropriate knowledge about sexual harassment.