Grace Academy Darlaston

Name Grace Academy Darlaston
Ofsted Inspections
Address Herberts Park Road, Wednesbury, WS10 8QJ
Phone Number 01215683300
Type Academy
Age Range 11-19
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 934 (49.6% boys 50.4% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 15.5
Academy Sponsor Tove Learning Trust
Local Authority Walsall
Percentage Free School Meals 38.2%
Percentage English is Not First Language 14.8%
Persistent Absence 15.2%
Pupils with SEN Support 12.6%%
Highlights from Latest Inspection

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school Since the last inspection, leaders have set high expectations for staff, and for pupils' behaviour and progress.

As a result, academic standards are rising strongly. Leaders know their school well, and address effectively areas of comparative weakness. Teachers use detailed assessments to set work which is accurately based on what pupils can already do.

They demonstrate a thorough knowledge of their subjects. Staff consistently promote literacy by encouraging pupils to read and ensuring that they learn key vocabulary. Teaching across the school in mathematics is strong because pupils learn to think mathematically and apply their knowledge... to practical situations.

In 2016, disadvantaged pupils left key stage 4 having made progress that was below that of other pupils nationally. Although their progress is now rising, many disadvantaged pupils have some catching up to do to fulfil their potential. Some inconsistency remains in the quality of teaching and assessment when classes are taught by temporary or inexperienced teachers.

Governors and trustees have a detailed understanding of the school, and clear strategies for its long-term development. Strong routines and a good understanding of the importance of behaviour ensure that pupils' conduct in lessons and during social times is good. Pupils take a pride in their work.

Pupils learn well how to guard against a wide range of risks. They rightly feel safe in school. Safeguarding procedures are effective.

Students on 16 to 19 study programmes are generally making strong progress because they are following courses well matched to their abilities and interests, and teaching is good. In recent years, the progress of students on post-16 academic courses has not matched that of students on applied courses. Leaders' plans do not state clearly how leaders will judge the impact of their actions.

Some staff are uncertain about the school's priorities and the actions taken to address them. Teachers' questioning sometimes fails to probe pupils' thinking sufficiently to deepen their understanding of the work.

Information about this school

Grace Academy Darlaston is a smaller than average-sized secondary school where the number of pupils on roll is growing.

It is one of three academies in the West Midlands sponsored by the Grace Foundation. The majority of pupils are White British. Other pupils are drawn from several different ethnic groups.

The proportion of pupils recorded as having special educational needs and/or disabilities is below average. The proportion of pupils who are disadvantaged and receive support from the pupil premium is high. At key stage 4, a very few pupils with acute medical needs currently receive full-time alternative provision at the Shepwell School in Willenhall.

Further details are withheld in the interests of confidentiality. Although some subject leaders are new to their roles, staff turnover has reduced since the last inspection. The assistant principal with responsibility for 16 to 19 provision has been in post since April 2016.

In 2016, the school met the government's floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for the attainment and progress of pupils by the end of Year 11. The school meets requirements on the publication of specified information on its website. The school complies with Department for Education guidance on what academies should publish.