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Pupils' experience at this school has improved considerably over the last two years.
Leaders and staff want the best for all pupils. They place as much emphasis on pupils' personal development as they do on academic achievement. Most pupils are confident and well-mannered.
They behave well, attend school regularly and have good attitudes to learning.
Pupils have access to an appropriate range of subjects. They now study most subjects in enough depth.
However, pupils encounter a mixed experience when learning different subjects. This is because some subjects are less well planned than others. There remains too much variability in how well subjects are... delivered.
Pupils benefit from strong support from staff. As a result, pupils feel safe and know that they are well cared for in school. They trust adults to help them if they have problems.
For example, although bullying is rare, pupils know that staff will treat any incidents seriously.
The school's growing sixth form provides students with many opportunities to develop employability skills. Students play a full part in the life of the school.
Pupils support many local charities and community organisations. They are keen to serve the local community in Ellesmere Port. For example, the school provided food for local families during the recent national lockdowns.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
This school has improved considerably, in all areas, since the previous inspection. The headteacher, senior leaders and governors are determined that the school should continue to improve. They are committed to the school's mission that pupils should 'have life and have it to the full'.
They know the school's strengths and shortcomings well. They have successfully addressed the weaknesses that were identified when the school was last inspected.
The school's staff form a strong team, committed to pupils' education and well-being.
Most agree that the school is well led. They believe that leaders treat them with respect. They appreciate leaders' work to ensure that their workload is reasonable.
Senior leaders and subject leaders have worked effectively in order to improve how subjects are planned and taught. Pupils now study a broad range of subjects in Years 7 to 9. In most subjects, learning is well planned.
It builds from year to year and teachers take into account pupils' needs and abilities. This is not the case in some subjects, especially for lower-ability pupils. This means that some pupils struggle to understand the content they are learning.
As a result, they do not remember what they have been taught.Leaders have provided teachers with training about the characteristics of effective teaching in different subjects. Subject departments apply this training so that teachers know what it means to teach their subject effectively.
However, the way in which teachers put this training into practice is variable.
The remaining weaknesses in how subjects are planned and taught are much less evident in the sixth form. Here, all subjects are planned appropriately and delivered well.
This means that students learn effectively.
Leaders' work to promote pupils' personal development is strong. There is a well-planned personal development programme.
It includes specific lessons, assemblies and themes that span subjects. Pupils learn what it means to be a citizen in modern Britain. They learn to respect people who are different from themselves.
They learn how to keep themselves safe.
Leaders promote the personal development of sixth formers particularly well. For example, all students undertake work experience.
Wherever possible, placements are matched to students' career aspirations. Students play a full part in the life of the school. They mentor some younger pupils and help others to improve their reading.
As a result, students gain valuable life and employability skills.
Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are supported well in school. Leaders assess their needs accurately and put in place a wide range of effective support.
In some subjects and classes, learning is less well planned for lower-ability pupils. When this is the case, pupils with SEND are affected less because of the extra support that staff provide.
Most pupils enjoy school and attend very regularly.
Many pupils told inspectors how glad they were to be back following the recent partial closure of the school. Pupils generally behave well in lessons and most enjoy learning. The school is calm and orderly throughout the day.
The conduct of sixth formers is exemplary. They provide excellent role models for younger pupils.
Staff work hard to support pupils who struggle to behave appropriately.
They provide a great deal of extra help to ensure that all pupils can learn. A small number of pupils study away from the school at an alternative provider. Pupils attend for 12 weeks and then return to school.
This provision is proving successful in re-engaging pupils with their learning.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
The school has a strong culture of care for pupils and for keeping them safe.
Comprehensive and regular training mean that staff are alert to the signs that pupils might be at risk or need extra help. Leaders deal with concerns quickly. The pastoral team ensures that pupils get the support that they need, whether from within school or from outside agencies.
Parents and carers who completed Parent View, Ofsted's online questionnaire, and staff who responded to their inspection survey agreed that pupils are safe and well cared for in school.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Leaders have sought to ensure that the curriculum is well suited to pupils of different abilities. Much of this work is proving successful.
However, in some subjects, the curriculum is not well enough adapted for lower-ability pupils. Consequently, these pupils do not understand what they are being taught. They do not learn the subject content and cannot remember what they have learned previously.
Leaders should ensure that curriculum plans are suitably adapted so that these pupils can make the progress that they should through the planned curriculum. ? Teachers appreciate the investment the school has made in providing training. In many departments, teachers have the taken generic training about aspects of pedagogy and applied these to their delivery of the subject curriculums.
However, this is not true for all subject departments. This means that there is variability in how well the planned curriculum is delivered. Leaders should ensure that all teachers use appropriate and effective approaches to teaching their subject to ensure that pupils are able to learn the content of the curriculum effectively.