Fortis Academy

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About Fortis Academy

Name Fortis Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Sarah Murcott
Address Aldridge Road, Great Barr, Birmingham, B44 8NU
Phone Number 01213666611
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1434
Local Authority Birmingham
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

This is a large school that is warm and welcoming.

The values of 'character, resilience and aspiration' underpin all that the school does. Pupils feel safe and are well looked after. They know that there is an adult to go to when needed.

The school provides strong pastoral care and everyone is welcome here.

Pupils behave well. They appreciate staff being consistently firm and fair.

This contributes to a calm and orderly environment throughout. Although pupils say that bullying occasionally happens, they are confident in the school's ability to deal with it.

Pupils study an ambitious curriculum, with most responding well to these demands.
Alongside this, the school offers a varied enrichment programme for all, including opportunities in sport, the arts, and curriculum linked visits. The school has established ties with local sports clubs and many pupils particularly enjoy basketball and table tennis. Pupils extend their learning further through special events, such as 'World Culture Day'.

Pupils and sixth-form students, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), are well prepared to take the next steps in education, employment or training.

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?

The school has been through a period of turbulence recently, including changes in staffing. The school has worked relentlessly to address these challenges and create stability.

Leaders have significantly improved the school, including in the curriculum, behaviour and attendance. They have successfully built a new culture at the school.

The published GCSE outcomes do not reflect the good quality of education that pupils are now receiving.

The curriculum has undergone significant and positive change and is ambitious. The school has prioritised increasing the numbers of pupils that study a language at key stage 4 by adjusting the curriculum lower down the school. For instance, teaching time has been doubled in languages at key stage 3 to help pupils deepen their knowledge and understanding.

This has led to more pupils studying the suite of subjects that make up the English Baccalaureate.

Pupils and students in the sixth form benefit from a well-sequenced curriculum. Leaders have thought carefully about the key ideas that pupils need to know and understand over time; pupils can explain these well.

The school ensures that topics are frequently revisited so pupils can recall their previous learning. For example, in English, pupils can confidently articulate their current learning and link it to previous work between Victorian novels. English is a real strength at the school.

At times, the work given to some pupils, including those with SEND, is not sufficiently adapted to allow them to understand what they are learning.Additionally, teachers sometimes move on to new content without checking that pupils have secured their understanding of key ideas fully. On these occasions, gaps can form in pupils' knowledge.

A love of reading is well-promoted, including for students in the sixth form. Pupils access a wide range of high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts. Pupils who have fallen behind with their reading are helped to catch up, including by using phonics.

Pupils with English as an additional language receive excellent support.

Pastoral care has a high priority in the school. The school provides effective support to both pupils and their families, including new arrivals to the school.

The school strives hard to overcome any barriers pupils may have in attending school and learning. Attendance, which was low last year, has improved rapidly because of leaders' actions. As a result, absence has significantly reduced.

Personal development is well promoted for pupils and students in the sixth form. The personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education is delivered through the school's 'The Edge' programme. Pupils understand important principles, such as building healthy relationships, as well as local risks, such as criminal exploitation.

In the sixth form, students continue to build their understanding of PSHE topics as they prepare for adult life.

The school has set high expectations for pupils. Behaviour has much improved in the last twelve months.

The school's high expectations are now reflected in pupils' typically positive behaviour and attitudes to learning. Those whose behaviour falls short of the expected standard are supported well to improve. All pupils have their uniform checked on arrival at school at the 'red line'.

Pupils do not object to this and willingly go to the 'uniform room' for a change of footwear or to borrow a tie. This is a strong example of where the school's new culture is accepted.

Diligent trustees and local governors make sure that the school is led and managed effectively.

The school is very well supported by trust leaders. Staff are proud to work at the school, feel valued and appreciate the school's efforts in managing their well-being.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Teachers do not always accurately identify gaps and errors in pupils' knowledge. This means that some pupils develop misconceptions or their understanding of key content is not secure. The school should ensure that teachers use assessment precisely to establish what pupils know and can do to help better prepare them for future learning.

• Teaching approaches are not always adapted precisely enough to meet the needs of some pupils, including those with SEND. This means that some pupils do not learn elements of the curriculum as well as their peers. The school should ensure that the needs of all pupils are met consistently and effectively.

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