Great Western Academy

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About Great Western Academy

Name Great Western Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Mr Graham Davis
Address William Morris Way, Tadpole Garden Village, Swindon, SN25 2PP
Phone Number 01793209700
Phase Academy
Type Free schools
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 878
Local Authority Swindon
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Leaders are ambitious for pupils to excel.

The school's vision of 'achievement, care and excellence' is evident through the curriculum. As the school has grown, adding a new Year each year, staff have developed strong relationships with pupils.

Leaders aspire to give all pupils a rich experience of the wider curriculum.

A broad enrichment programme is part of the whole school curriculum. The programme includes a geography club, the school newspaper, coding and various arts and sports. Many pupils complete the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme.

Sixth-form students are active in the school community. For example, they train as peer reading 'buddies' and... listen to younger pupils read. The many opportunities for leadership include the school parliament, roles as ambassadors, prefects and as head students in the sixth form.

Pupils say leaders listen to them and act following those discussions. Pupils are proud of their part in shaping the school.

Pupils are respectful and friendly.

They learn about bullying and know how to report their concerns. Pupils say leaders act promptly to deal with issues they tell them about. However, a few pupils continue to use derogatory language, which their peers do not always report to staff.

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

Leaders have developed an ambitious and broad curriculum. It has evolved as the school has grown year by year. Leaders ensure the curriculum is sequenced well, so that pupils build on their learning.

Pupils re-visit the important knowledge they have learned. This helps pupils to consolidate their learning. Across the curriculum, pupils regularly practise and apply skills.

This prepares them for the next stages of their education. Sixth-form students choose from a broad range of subjects. These open up a wide range of career and further education opportunities.

As the sixth form grows each year, curriculum choices broaden. Leaders are developing the five-year curriculum into a seven-year curriculum.

Through a cycle of assessment and review, pupils know what they need to do to improve their work.

In most subjects, this prepares pupils effectively to move on with their learning. In a small number of subjects, pupils complete assessments that are not necessary or useful.

Teachers receive information that helps them to plan for and support all pupils.

As a result, pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities receive the help they need and do well.

Surrounded by classrooms, the library is at the heart of the school. Leaders want pupils to be curious readers.

They dedicate time each day for pupils from Years 7 to 13 to read. Pupils who are in the early stages of learning to read receive effective help. Pupils who need to practise reading sit with older pupils to improve their fluency.

Leaders are proud of the wider curriculum. The broad range of clubs and trips ensures that all pupils have experiences they might not have otherwise. A well-planned personal, social and health education programme is in place for all pupils.

Through the 'successful lives' programme, pupils learn about topics, such as healthy relationships, keeping safe and British values. A careers programme helps sixth-form students plan what they do next. However, the careers programme is not comprehensive enough for younger pupils.

In lessons, pupils focus on their learning. They appreciate the high expectations staff have of them and understand staff want them to do well. Pupils' detailed responses to questions show they understand what they have learned.

They move between class discussion and independent work seamlessly. Sixth-form students say their teachers expect a lot of them and encourage them to think deeply.

Leaders have embraced the challenge of building a school from the ground up.

Their vision for excellence threads throughout the different aspects of the school. The governing body is ambitious for pupils. Some of the governing body have overseen the school since its opening.

This continuity has enabled governors to provide appropriate challenge and support to leaders. Leaders prioritise their responsibility for making sure staff have a manageable workload. Leaders ensure the school's programme of professional training covers all staff, including trainee teachers.

As a result, staff say they feel valued by leaders. Parents are highly positive about the school. Many parents chose the school when it was in its early stages and speak highly of what it has achieved and become.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

The safety of pupils and students is a high priority across the school. Staff receive regular training and updating on safeguarding, which covers local and national issues.

As a result, staff are alert to when pupils may be at potential risk and they report concerns promptly.

Leaders understand local safeguarding challenges. The school's safeguarding team is well trained and includes a social worker.

The team works with external agencies to make sure vulnerable pupils and their families receive the help they need.

Pupils learn how to stay safe, both online and in person. They learn to manage risks such as those from the inappropriate use of social media.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In some subjects, leaders have not considered the purpose of assessment deeply enough. As a result, pupils sometimes complete assessments that are not useful or as relevant as they could be for pupils or teachers. Leaders need to improve the use of assessment in these parts of the curriculum.

• The careers programme does not fully provide some pupils with detailed, comprehensive information about options for training, education and careers. As a result, some younger pupils do not receive enough information about possible future career choices. Leaders need to ensure the career programme is up to date, relevant and comprehensive.

Also at this postcode
William Morris Primary School Churchward School

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