King James I Academy Bishop Auckland

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About King James I Academy Bishop Auckland

Name King James I Academy Bishop Auckland
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Simon Whitehead
Address South Church Road, Bishop Auckland, DL14 7JZ
Phone Number 01388603388
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 973
Local Authority County Durham
Highlights from Latest Inspection


King James I Academy Bishop Auckland continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils have a voice at King James I Academy Bishop Auckland. Each year group votes for who will become their representatives on the 'academy council'.

School leaders meet regularly with this group of pupils. They get to share their views and give suggestions on how to make improvements. Pupils are involved in shaping life in the school.

Leaders' high expectations of pupils are set out in the school's '7 Standards'. These include values such as 'be prepared' and 'engage and succeed'. Pupils understand the importance of these expectations.

They enjoy coming to Pupils conduct themselves well in lessons and make visitors feel welcome.

Pupils feel safe.

They value the help that they can get from the student support team. Pupils who are less confident speaking to staff can ask for help by email or put a message in the letterboxes around the school. Most pupils told us that when bullying occurs, it is handled well by staff.

Students in the sixth form enjoy a wide range of academic and vocational courses. This includes programmes to support students who otherwise might struggle to stay in education at the end of Year 11.

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

Leaders have developed an ambitious and well-structured curriculum.

Pupils study a broad range of subjects. Students in the sixth form have a rich choice of qualifications. The curriculum is well designed.

Pupils build their subject knowledge from one lesson to the next and over time. Teachers make effective choices in lessons to ensure that pupils learn and remember important subject knowledge. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) get the right support.

For example, in physical education, some pupils with SEND use adapted resources. They receive targeted support from teachers. This helps pupils to build their confidence in sports such as badminton and trampolining.

Leaders have identified the most important knowledge that they want pupils to learn in each subject. Teachers regularly check what pupils know and remember. The curriculum in most subjects is well designed to help pupils remember this important knowledge over time.

In subjects such as English and history, pupils talk confidently about their knowledge from previous years. A small number of subjects, such as design technology and drama, are taught for one term and then not revisited for over a year. Where this is the case, the curriculum is not delivered in a way that helps pupils to consistently remember important subject knowledge from one block of learning to the next.

As a result, pupils can talk about what they have learned recently in design technology but forget this over time.

In the past, very few pupils chose to study a GCSE in modern foreign languages. Leaders have strengthened the teaching of languages in school.

Next year, around a quarter of Year 10 pupils will study GCSE French or Spanish. Leaders are taking further action so that more pupils will study the full range of qualifications that make up the English Baccalaureate in the future.

Reading has a high priority.

Pupils who need help with reading are quickly identified. A range of effective support builds pupils' fluency and confidence in reading. This includes daily sessions for the weakest readers.

A very small number of pupils need support with phonics. Leaders are making investments to strengthen the support for these pupils so that they can catch up more quickly.

Poor behaviour does not interrupt lessons.

A small number of pupils need help to manage their behaviour. They appreciate the opportunity that they get to reflect on their actions. This helps them to avoid making the same mistakes again.

Leaders place high importance on pupils' personal development. The personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education curriculum helps prepare pupils for life in modern Britain. Pupils talk confidently about some aspects of PSHE.

Year 13 students told inspectors how careers education helps them to make the right next step when they leave school. Pupils were less confident recalling what they have learned in some other PSHE topics, such as relationships education. The assessment of what pupils remember from PSHE lessons is not as strong as it is in other areas of the curriculum.

Leaders engage meaningfully with staff. For example, a teacher focus group has been set up to look at reducing workload. All staff who responded to Ofsted's staff questionnaire said that they are proud to work at the school.

Teachers enjoy working in what one teacher described as 'close knit' departments. They value the opportunities to share best practice with colleagues across the school.

The governing body has an accurate view of the school.

Recent appointments to the governing body have further strengthened their ability to hold leaders to account.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

The school's safeguarding team have a strong understanding of the local risks that pupils may face.

Staff know what signs could indicate that a pupil might be at risk of harm. All staff know how to raise a concern. Safeguarding leaders ensure that pupils who need help are swiftly identified.

Leaders work effectively with external agencies such as the police and local mental health services. This means that pupils get the help that they need in a timely manner.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The curriculum in a small number of subjects is not planned well enough to enable pupils to remember important content over the long term.

As a result, pupils have some gaps in their knowledge of these subjects. Leaders need to ensure that the curriculum is planned, in all subjects, so that pupils learn and remember important content over time. ? Leaders' current system for checking that pupils know and remember the content from the PSHE curriculum is not fully effective.

This means that leaders cannot fully evaluate the effectiveness of the curriculum in this subject. Leaders should continue to strengthen the current system so that they can be assured that pupils know and remember important knowledge from the school's PSHE programme.


When we have judged a school to be good, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good.

This is called a section 8 inspection of a good or outstanding school, because it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, 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 deem the section 8 inspection as a section 5 inspection immediately.

This is the first section 8 inspection since we judged the school to be good in March 2017.

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