Hillside High School

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About Hillside High School

Name Hillside High School
Website http://www.hillsidehigh.co.uk
Ofsted Inspections
Principal Mrs Amanda Ryan
Address Breeze Hill, Bootle, L20 9NU
Phone Number 01515252630
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 661
Local Authority Sefton
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Hillside High School is an accepting community.

Pupils feel welcome and diversity is celebrated. For instance, pupils proudly took part in an 'around the world in eighty days' event to promote their culture and educate others about it.

Pupils benefit from high levels of pastoral support.

Relationships between staff and pupils are warm. Pupils understand that staff only want the best for them.

The trust has supported the school to raise expectations of pupils' achievement.

In addition, the school has improved the curriculum. As a result, pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), achieve better than the...y did in the past.

The school has set out clearly in 'the Hillside way' how pupils should behave.

Pupils value the routines that the school has put in place to help them to conduct themselves appropriately. Pupils behave well and are respectful.

Pupils are happy at this school.

They appreciate the safe space that the school provides for them to be individuals. Pupils enjoy the breadth of clubs and opportunities that are on offer, including sports and performing art clubs.

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

In recent years, the school has focused successfully on improving the quality of education that pupils receive.

In collaboration with the trust and with careful consideration, it has designed an ambitious and broad curriculum. The key stage 3 curriculum is a particular strength. This is because teachers have a clear understanding of how pupils' learning fits together.

They have identified the key concepts and vocabulary that pupils should learn. However, the thinking behind the key stage 4 curriculum has not been as rigorous. As a result, the school does not have the same level of confidence in the curriculum.

It has not fully considered the precise details that pupils need to learn. As a result, this hinders some pupils in being able to make connections in their learning.

Teachers regularly check pupils' understanding and swiftly address any misconceptions.

They use assessment strategies effectively to identify any gaps in pupils' knowledge and to adapt teaching. In some subjects, the approaches that teachers take and the activities that they design do not help pupils to embed knowledge. In addition, some pupils lack the resilience and confidence to move to more complex tasks.

As a result, some pupils struggle to remember learning over time.

In lessons, pupils can learn free from distraction and there is rarely any low-level disruption. Pupils' attendance, including for those with SEND and those who are disadvantaged, has improved.

However, some pupils still do not attend school as regularly as they should.The school's approach to training has galvanised staff. Teachers are motivated to keep their own learning up to date and to draw on current research.

As a result, their subject knowledge is strong. The school's investment in staff development has also improved staff well-being. Staff told inspectors that a review of the feedback policy has reduced their workload.

The school has a carefully designed programme for pupils' personal development. Pupils learn how to keep themselves healthy and the importance of good dental hygiene. They learn about the rule of law.

Pupils hold positions of responsibility, such as head girl and head boy, school counsellors and prefects. Some pupils, including those with SEND, take advantage of the after-school clubs. The well-thought-out careers programme helps pupils to make informed choices about their next steps.

This is a school where, across the curriculum, reading is a priority. Staff and pupils share the belief that 'reading is power'. Staff are increasingly confident to support pupils effectively with reading.

Pupils enjoy reading well-chosen ambitious and diverse texts. Many pupils read independently at home. The school has engaged well with parents and carers to increase their awareness about the importance of reading.

It has made great strides to improve the support for those who struggle with reading. Those who struggle with reading are supported successfully to read fluently.

Governors and trustees support the school well in its aim of 'excellence in the community'.

They ensure that the school is suitably held to account for its outcomes.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In a small number of subjects, the key stage 4 curriculum is not as well thought out as the key stage 3 curriculum.

This hinders some teachers in knowing what they should teach and when they should teach it. As a result, some pupils do not make links with what they have learned previously. The school should finalise its thinking around the key stage 4 curriculum, to help ensure that key knowledge is identified and that it builds on the strengths of the key stage 3 curriculum.

• On occasions, teachers do not make the most appropriate teaching or activity choices to embed new knowledge. This hinders some pupils from remembering what they have learned. The school should ensure that teachers are supported to design activities that help pupils to secure learning over time.

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