Harmonize Academy AP Free School continues to be an outstanding school.
What is it like to attend this school? '
The best thing ever'. This is how pupils describe their experience at Harmonize Academy AP Free School. From their first day, pupils feel part of a happy school community.
At this school, everyone accepts and values each other for who they are. Pupils know that the staff and their peers care deeply about them. Staff offer exceptional support to pupils.
Everyone feels safe and free from bullying at this school. Staff deal with any bullying effectively.
This school is exceptionally successful at helping pupils become 'the best version of themselves'. <...br/>Pupils really enjoy their lessons. Staff help pupils to transform their attendance, behaviour and attitudes to education.
The Harmonize Academy AP Free School is a hive of activity.
Not a moment is wasted during the school day. Pupils work hard so that they can achieve very highly. Pupils know that they have missed lots of learning in the past.
They are keen to make up lost ground and they do. They are motivated to attend the wealth of catch-up sessions on offer. Current pupils look up to former pupils.
They want to emulate their achievements.
Through the comprehensive enrichment programme, pupils find new interests, such as photography. Pupils actively help in their community.
For example, they play bingo with residents at a local care home or they deliver food parcels to families in need.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better? '
This school succeeds where no one else can'. This sums up the view of all those pupils who spoke with us during the inspection.
Before joining Harmonize Academy AP Free School, many pupils and their families have lost faith in the education system. When they arrive at this school, pupils turn their lives around. They engage once again with education.
They succeed in examinations and they move on to apprenticeships and college courses. Former pupils have gone on to university, joined the armed forces or landed their dream acting job.
Staff know their pupils exceptionally well.
Teachers plan interesting lessons that capture pupils' interests. They soon start doing things that they never thought they could or would. For example, some pupils who have never read a book before read their first full novel at this school.
Pupils find remembering what they have been taught easy here. This is because pupils know exactly what they are learning, why they are learning it and how it will help them in the future. Pupils feel extremely well supported.
This is because teachers adapt the curriculum effectively so that pupils learn well.
Pupils settle in well, at whatever point they join the school. When pupils first start, staff give them the time to observe what goes on in school.
This helps pupils see what is expected of them, such as standards of behaviour. Moreover, when they have not studied a subject before, such as drama, this helps them find out about it before they have their first lesson in that subject.
The school's curriculum puts the needs of pupils at its heart.
First and foremost, pupils study essential academic subjects, including English, mathematics and science. Then pupils are able to choose options from across a wide range of academic and vocational courses. Finally, there is a fantastic enrichment curriculum.
Pupils develop hobbies and interests, contribute to their community, and improve their health and well-being. Pupils are encouraged to work towards further qualifications as they pursue these interests. For example, they achieve certificates in photography or leadership awards.
Regardless of when they join the school, pupils gain many qualifications, including GCSEs. Last year, over 80% of pupils left the school with five or more GCSEs. It is not uncommon for Year 11 pupils in this school to achieve an average of eight qualifications.
This demonstrates significant achievement.
Pupils develop into respectful, caring and considerate young people. This is because the school prioritises pupils' personal development extremely well.
Every aspect of the school's personal development programme is well considered. Recently, pupils have been learning about knife crime. Pupils told me about the profound effect that talks by a trauma surgeon and the daughter of a victim of knife crime had had on them.
Pupils told inspectors how this had made them realise the significant risks of carrying knives.
Some pupils also met with a group of asylum seekers. Listening to these people's stories challenged pupils' assumptions about why people come to Britain.
This motivated pupils to help people in their community who have been forced to flee their homes. For example, pupils provide food and toys to these families. They develop a strong cultural understanding.
Many pupils have experienced significant trauma in their lives. This school gives pupils the help that they need to cope better with the impact of these experiences. The school holds frequent events to promote pupils' positive mental health.
There is also specialist therapeutic support, such as loss and bereavement counselling.From the moment that they walk through the door, pupils conform to the school's high expectations. Behaviour around school and in classrooms is excellent.
Pupils value their learning and respect their teachers and classmates. This means that they do not disrupt learning. Staff can focus on teaching and pupils focus on learning without any distractions.
Governors and senior leaders have taken the school from strength to strength since the previous inspection. They put the best interests of pupils at the forefront of their decisions. These decisions include the academic courses offered by the school.
They are determined that every pupil will succeed regardless of what has gone before.
Staff are proud to work at this school. Many have developed their careers at this school.
Some staff who joined as teaching assistants are now qualified teachers. Some teachers have completed leadership qualifications and they have gained promotion. Staff value highly the support that they receive from senior leaders.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders make sure that staff have up-to-date safeguarding training. All staff are aware of the particular risks to pupils at this school.
They know the signs to look for and what to do if they suspect that any pupil may be at risk of harm.
Staff record and report their concerns meticulously. The designated safeguarding lead follows up assiduously on these.
The school works exceptionally well with pupils, their families, partner schools and other agencies. This means that pupils and their families get the help and support that they need.
Pupils trust the staff in school to look after them.
They value the information and advice provided by staff. This helps them to feel safe both in school and in their local community.
When we have judged a special school, pupil referral unit or maintained nursery school to be outstanding we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains outstanding.
This is called a section 8 inspection of a good school or non-exempt outstanding school. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find some evidence that the school could now be better than good or that standards may be declining, then the next inspection will be a section 5 inspection.
Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the section 8 inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will convert the section 8 inspection to a section 5 inspection immediately.
This is the first section 8 inspection since we judged the school to be outstanding in March 2015.