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The school helps them to develop their interests and talents. Many pupils take part in school productions, dance performances and sporting activities. Pupils say the school provides a wide range of courses that match their interests.
Students in the sixth form say they enjoy their studies.
Pupils' conduct in lessons means they can usually learn without disruption. However, pupils, staff and parents have mixed views about behaviour.
Behaviour at social times is not as strong as in lessons. Bullying, although infrequent, is dealt with effectively by staff. Pupils know how to keep themselves safe and how to... raise a concern.
Pupils do well in subjects where their learning is well planned. However, there are weaknesses in how the school's curriculum is planned and taught in a number of subjects.
Pupils are tolerant of different beliefs and cultures.
They enjoy putting democracy into practice in school council elections. Pupils have been keen to help others by training as mental health first aiders. Pupils appreciate the support the school gives them to prepare for their next steps.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Pupils follow a broad curriculum. Pupils and parents appreciate the breadth of choice the school offers at GCSE and in the sixth form. However, most pupils do not study a language beyond year 9.
The school has changed the structure of the curriculum so that more pupils can learn a language for longer. This is having some impact.
Leaders have developed a curriculum that reflects the school's values, such as integrity or creativity.
While these values have guided curriculum leaders, the curriculum has not always been well thought out. For example, in some subjects, leaders and teachers have not thought carefully enough about what pupils should learn earlier in the school in order for them to do well later on.
Pupils do well when teaching helps knowledge to stick, for example in history and science.
In these subjects, pupils remember what they learn and have the confidence to answer more complex questions. Students in the sixth form value teachers' specialist knowledge. This helps students to develop their own subject expertise, as is evident in their work.
Sometimes, teaching has lower expectations for some groups of pupils, particularly those with lower prior attainment. For example, in languages, time is wasted on activities that do not help pupils to develop their use of vocabulary or key verbs. The provision for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) is uneven.
Sometimes, teaching for these pupils is not planned carefully enough.Leaders have not checked on how effectively the curriculum is implemented in the classroom.
Leaders have successfully encouraged better attendance, including in the sixth form.
Pupils now understand the importance of attending regularly. Sixth-form students are responding to the clear expectation for them to attend every lesson. Pupils are attending school more frequently, including those who had high rates of absence.
Relationships between staff and pupils are usually respectful. However, staff do not apply the new behaviour policy in the same way and pupils think this is unfair. A small number of pupils are taking longer to adapt to the school's expectations.
Leaders have developed a strong programme of personal development across the school. Pupils told us about the importance of a healthy diet and exercise and how they help their mental well-being. Pupils learn about different cultures and beliefs.
They learn about the experiences of refugees. This helps the school to support pupils with this background. Pupils appreciate the careers guidance they receive, including help to secure useful work experience placements.
Students in the sixth form feel particularly well supported. Sixth-form students say they have had much help and guidance to secure appropriate university courses or apprenticeships.
The principal has been determined to change the culture in the school.
This has driven leaders to make recent improvements to the school curriculum. Leaders and many staff share the principal's vision. Governors are supportive of the principal and provide effective challenge.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Governors and staff are well trained and knowledgeable about safeguarding. Staff know how to spot and report a concern.
They do this well. The pastoral and safeguarding teams pick up concerns quickly and act appropriately.
The safeguarding team acts quickly to support pupils and their families.
Leaders are creative in securing outside help for pupils who need it.
The school supports pupils with complex needs well. This helps to prevent problems escalating.
School counsellors are supporting pupils with their mental health needs while pupils wait for external support.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
Staff do not apply the school's behaviour policy consistently. As a result, some pupils are not rising to the expectations of good behaviour that the school has of them.
Leaders should ensure all staff apply the behaviour policy in the same way across the school. Leaders should make better use of the information the school holds on behaviour. This would help them to be more proactive in identifying and understanding which groups of pupils are not responding and why.
. In some areas, the curriculum is not coherently planned. This interferes with pupils' learning.
Senior leaders should support curriculum leaders and teachers to sequence the curriculum better. Curriculum leaders should make sure teaching ensures pupils have the right building blocks in place to support future learning, particularly in key stage 3. .
Leaders do not check closely enough that the curriculum is implemented as they intended. This hampers their ability to develop the curriculum further. Leaders should ensure that teaching uses effective activities and strategies so that all pupils, including those with low prior attainment or pupils with SEND, learn and achieve more.
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