Harry Watts Academy

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About Harry Watts Academy

Name Harry Watts Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Mrs Louise Hindmarch
Address Ramillies Road, Sunderland, SR5 5JA
Phone Number 01915623003
Phase Academy (special)
Type Free schools special
Age Range 5-16
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 140
Local Authority Sunderland
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Harry Watts Academy is a school of immense warmth and care.

It is a family school.

Leaders, staff and the trust have a limitless ambition for what pupils can achieve. This is more than just words or an optimistic vision.

It is backed up by a very carefully-thought-out and effective curriculum, which is implemented exceedingly well across both the Redhouse and Harraton sites. The school's attitude to what pupils can achieve is best summed up by what one parent told inspectors: 'Here my son is defined by what he can do, not by what he can't.'

Pupils are happy in school.

Inspectors found no evidence of bullying. Pupils are safe and staff will ...deal with any problems diligently and with expertise. Pupils know that they are to be kind towards one another.

As a result, Harry Watts Academy is a school of respect, tolerance and understanding.

Everyone at the school is totally committed to ensuring that pupils receive the best education and the best opportunities as a right. Pupils' special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are not seen as a barrier to achieving this.

School, parents and carers work in partnership, through effective communication about pupils' needs, to make sure that pupils at Harry Watts Academy get what they are entitled to.

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

Leaders have put in place a high-quality curriculum. It is ambitious in its scope.

The 'Engage', 'Explore' and 'Discover' curriculum pathways are structured, so that pupils learn the right content at the right time. Within each pathway, staff are adept at making any necessary adaptations to the curriculum, so that pupils do not get left behind.

Absolutely central to the highly effective and skilled teaching of the curriculum is the use of pupils' education, health and care (EHC) plans.

The provision, targets and outcomes as described in EHC plans are translated with fidelity into individual pupils' 'learning maps'. The learning maps are used by staff as the precise route for what pupils must be able to achieve. As a result of the clear line of sight from curriculum plans, to EHC plans, to learning maps, to classrooms, pupils achieve very strong outcomes indeed.

Reflective of the school's ambition for pupils is its exemplary approach to reading. All pupils are taught to read using a phonics-based scheme. Reading is prioritised across the school, with many opportunities during each day for pupils to read and to be read to.

Pupils' behaviour is a strength of the school. The foundation stone for this is high-quality, strong relationships between pupils and staff. Staff know their pupils very well and work ceaselessly to keep pupils on track with their learning.

Strong, well-understood routines help pupils to self-regulate. When pupils become dysregulated, as an expression of their SEND, staff are skilful in guiding and supporting them back into learning.

The school's personal development provision is rich, deep and broad.

Leaders have ensured that pupils' preparation for adulthood runs through the personal development curriculum like a seam. Aspects of relationships and sex education, together with health education, which can be difficult for some pupils with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to understand and manage, are front and centre of the curriculum. Provision for careers education is similarly strong and begins with pupils in the primary phase of the school.

The school has ensured that pupils are exposed to a wide range of careers, on- and off-site, including the uniformed services. A breadth of partnerships with post-16 education and training providers has been established as the school grows towards having pupils in year 11.

The ways in which the school sets about developing pupils' character, to ready them for adult life, is highly impressive.

There is a plethora of opportunities for pupils to build their confidence, independence and their social and life skills. Such opportunities include learning about other faiths, cultures and traditions; the summer fairs; numerous lunchtime clubs such as 'Eco Gardening' and visits out of school into the community and beyond. This provision is carefully planned, so that pupils' character development happens by design, not chance.

Leadership of the school is strong. Trust leaders, including trustees, and the governors of the local advisory committee (LAC) have a thorough understanding of the school and use their respective powers with clarity. To a very high degree indeed, staff feel supported in their work by leaders.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Across the school, there is a strong understanding of the particular safeguarding vulnerabilities of pupils with ASD. Staff are knowledgeable about these risks and are vigilant in keeping an eye out for them.

Staff know their pupils well and are alert to the tell-tale signs that there might be a concern. They know what to do should they be worried about a pupil. When necessary, the staff with designated safeguarding responsibilities take swift and appropriate action to ensure that pupils receive the support they need, including liaison with relevant external agencies, such as the local authority's children's social care team.

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