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Pupils are proud to attend this school. They achieve well academically and socially.
From the youngest children in Nursery to the oldest studying for their GCSEs, pupils enjoy learning and take it very seriously. As one parent said, 'The school works hard to build a community spirit and a sense of belonging. My child feels connected to his classmates and takes responsibility for his learning.'
The vast majority of pupils model the school's 'DARE' values of determination, aspiration, respect and enthusiasm. Pupils of all ages enthuse about the range of activities on offer. Badminton and drama clubs are particularly popular.
Pupils especially relish ...opportunities to work together across the primary and secondary age range. For example, older pupils love listening to the youngest pupils read.
Pupils' behaviour in lessons and around the school is typically very good.
Leaders deal with any cases of bullying effectively. Pupils welcome the care taken to investigate issues fairly. Most pupils appreciate that the school's high expectations are because staff want them to do very well.
As one pupil said, 'Teachers have unashamedly high standards. They believe in us and know that we can reach them.'
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders' ambition is to provide a challenging curriculum that seamlessly shapes pupils' learning and development from childhood to adulthood.
They are well on the way to achieving this aim. Pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), achieve well in an impressive range of subjects right from the start. Leaders and staff are rightly proud of the school's first set of key stage 1 outcomes.
Nearly all pupils take the English Baccalaureate range of subjects at GCSE level.
The curriculum is typically very well ordered and sequenced. Leaders and teachers use their strong subject understanding to set out clearly the knowledge and skills pupils need to learn.
In some subjects, leaders are still fine-tuning their planning. This includes knowing precisely how new learning introduced in early years feeds into the different subjects at key stage 1.
Pupils learn effectively because teachers deliver the curriculum consistently well.
Leaders prioritise making sure that teachers' skills are well developed. Teachers relish opportunities to work together to further expand their subject knowledge and deepen their professional skills. Consequently, consistent approaches to checking pupils' understanding and filling gaps in their knowledge are being developed well across the whole school.
Reading is highly prioritised for the youngest pupils. Children in Nursery learn to love reading through joining in with the stories and rhymes adults teach them. In Reception and key stage 1, pupils follow a well-planned and delivered phonics programme.
Extra help is provided for those who need it. As a result, most of these pupils learn to read quickly. However, there is not currently an effective strategic approach to teaching the weakest pupils of secondary age to read.
Although these older pupils do get some extra help, they are not being taught to be accurate, speedy readers quickly enough.
Leaders rightly place a strong focus on pupils' personal development. They make sure that pupils participate in a wealth of clubs and activities.
As a result, pupils develop strong social and communication skills. Pupils' understanding of equalities and respect for others is honed through an effective personal, social and health education curriculum. In particular, pupils display a well-developed understanding of the importance of healthy relationships and an age-appropriate understanding of consent.
Leaders are in the process of making sure that careers education is well organised. Older pupils attend careers fairs and are introduced to the range of college courses and apprenticeships on offer in the local areas. However, opportunities for good-quality, meaningful work experience are not fully in place.
Leadership from the trust, local governors and senior leaders is impressive. Collectively, they have worked hard and successfully to set up this brand-new school. Leaders at all levels know the school's strengths well, and use the information they gather to focus sharply on any areas for further development.
They are rightly revising some of the school's strategic policies and procedures. This is so that the school continues to run effectively as it grows. For example, the behaviour policy is under review to make sure that it is applied effectively across the whole school.
Importantly, leaders recognise the extra pressures placed on staff workload when setting up a new school. Staff appreciate recent approaches to make sure that their workload is balanced fairly and their well-being considered carefully.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Safeguarding is taken extremely seriously. Leaders and staff are very well trained. They are alert to the potential risks for children of all ages.
Record-keeping is meticulous. It shows that staff understand the importance of recording small bits of information that may add to a bigger picture about a pupil's well-being. Safer recruitment procedures are followed rigorously.
Pupils are well informed about safeguarding, including risks in the community and online. Pupils feel safe. They are rightly confident that staff will listen and act promptly if a child needs help.
Leaders liaise well with external safeguarding partners.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Learning to read is not prioritised well enough for pupils in Years 7 to 11 who are in the early stages of reading. Consequently, these pupils do not gain quickly enough the phonics knowledge and language comprehension that are necessary in order to read.
This means that they do not have the foundations for future learning. Leaders need to ensure that there is a rigorous and sequential approach to learning to read for these pupils, so that reading gaps are addressed quickly and effectively. ? Careers provision is not fully in place.
In particular, there are not enough good-quality, meaningful opportunities for pupils to encounter the world of work. As a result, pupils are not well enough prepared for future success in education, employment or training. Leaders need to ensure that there is an effective careers strategy that includes sufficient provision for pupils to undertake good-quality, meaningful work experience.
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