Framwellgate School Durham

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About Framwellgate School Durham

Name Framwellgate School Durham
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Andy Byers
Address Newton Drive, Framwellgate Moor, Durham, DH1 5BQ
Phone Number 01913866628
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1318
Local Authority County Durham
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Framwellgate School has improved since the last inspection. Leaders and governors have kept to their vision and sustained their efforts through a challenging period. They have systematically improved the culture in school.

Pupils behave well. They are polite and courteous to one another and to the staff. Relationships between pupils and adults are friendly.

Teachers meet and greet pupils at the start of lessons. Pupils appreciate the kindness shown to them.

The headteacher has raised expectations.

Pupils wear their uniform with pride. They get to school on time. They all follow the COVID-19 (coronavirus) rules unquestioningly.

Most pupils wo...rk hard and present their work with care. There are good opportunities for pupils interested in the arts, sport and vocational subjects. Pupils are increasingly choosing to study more academic subjects.

Pupils say that bullying happens occasionally, but that the staff deal with it. Leaders show strong moral leadership. They do not shy away from difficult issues.

They have opened up debate about sexual harassment between pupils. They do not tolerate derogatory or racist language.

The school has been hit by the pandemic.

This term, pupils in several year groups have had to self-isolate at home. The school has managed to provide remote learning effectively. Pupils and parents and carers are grateful for this.

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

The headteacher has sustained efforts to improve the school. He has skilfully navigated a course through the pandemic, without losing sight of what needed to improve. As a result, the school now provides a good quality of education.

Parents are overwhelmingly supportive of the changes made. They praise the improvements in behaviour and the academic rigour that is now firmly in place. The culture of higher aspiration that was noticeable when Ofsted last visited has now firmly taken root.

The curriculum model introduced three years ago brought better examination results in 2019. Better teaching has also encouraged more pupils to choose academic courses. Next year, over three quarters of pupils in Year 9 will follow the suite of subjects in the English Baccalaureate.

This shows the school's increased ambition. However, pupils opt for examination courses in Year 8. This means that pupils drop some subjects before they are taught all of the prescribed knowledge in the national curriculum for key stage 3.

This means that pupils miss out on some important areas of knowledge, such as geography fieldwork.

Within subjects, the teaching of knowledge is carefully sequenced. Teachers have identified the knowledge to be taught and use assessment effectively to check what pupils know and remember.

The improved quality of curriculum planning is supporting better and more consistent teaching. In a few subjects, curriculum planning is less thorough, and this results in less precise teaching. Pupils who have weaker reading skills get suitable extra help.

Nevertheless, leaders have ambitious plans to strengthen the teaching of reading next year.

Teachers receive a rich diet of training and professional development. This has helped to retain new teachers to the profession.

The training received has improved teachers' practice. Typically, teachers revisit previous knowledge at the start of lessons. This is helping pupils to recall more of what they are taught.

Support for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) has improved. Pupils' support plans provide teachers with strategies to help pupils access the curriculum fully. Teachers make use of these plans.

Some younger pupils learn in a nurture class that meets their needs well. Teachers give extra time in lessons to pupils with SEND and to disadvantaged pupils. Most pupils with SEND make good progress.

The curriculum caters effectively for pupils' personal development. Content about staying safe, anti-bullying, relationships and equalities is woven across the curriculum. Pupils are taught about the importance of democracy, respect and tolerance.

Pupils speak knowledgeably about the negative impact of derogatory and racist language. The school has an active lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) group. In recent weeks, leaders have led sessions to raise awareness and challenge sexual harassment between pupils in school.

This has encouraged healthy reflection and discussion. Impartial careers guidance systems are well developed and help pupils to take their next steps into further education, employment or training.

The sixth form is well led and managed.

The numbers of students progressing into the sixth form are growing. The school offers a broad range of academic and some vocational courses for post-16 students. Similar improvements have been made to curriculum planning and teaching as are seen lower down the school.

The most recently available examination results from 2019 showed that students achieved highly.

The headteacher and other leaders are considerate of staff workload. The headteacher meets every teacher each year to gather their views.

Staff see leaders as approachable and ready to listen. Leaders have made changes to the school's marking policy to reduce the burden on teachers.

Leaders show integrity and want the best outcomes for pupils.

The school only enters pupils for meaningful qualifications. They do not off-roll pupils. Every effort is made to help pupils who have problems with health or attendance.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

This is a caring school. Leaders acted quickly to identify and support more vulnerable families when the pandemic struck.

They ensured that regular checks were made on pupils when schools were not open to everyone. Leaders have appointed more pastoral staff and a family liaison manager so that they can respond more effectively. Leaders have fostered a strong safeguarding culture.

They ensure that vetting checks on adults who work in or visit the school are thorough. Appropriate actions are taken to protect pupils at risk of harm. Leaders challenge external partners if they are not satisfied that enough is being done.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Pupils currently opt for their examination courses towards the end of Year 8. In practice, this means that pupils stop learning some subjects early and are not taught all the content set out in the national curriculum. The school should review its curriculum model and ensure that pupils receive a broader range of knowledge before embarking on examination courses.

• Since the last inspection, curriculum leaders have reviewed and rewritten their curriculum plans. In most subjects, curriculum planning is rigorous and detailed. This is helping teachers to improve what is taught.

In a few subjects, curriculum planning is not as detailed. This results in some teaching that is less well sequenced or precise. Leaders should check the range and quality of curriculum planning across subjects and support curriculum leaders to refine planning, where necessary.

• Around one in five pupils in Year 7 entered the school with a reading age below their chronological age. Leaders recognise that weaker reading skills are a major barrier to pupils' progress through the curriculum. Leaders now need to implement their planned strategy to develop reading skills and foster a love of reading across the school.

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