Kirk Balk Academy


Name Kirk Balk Academy
Website http://www.kirkbalkacademy.org/
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Address West Street, Hoyland, Barnsley, S74 9HX
Phone Number 01226742286
Type Academy
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1250 (51.8% boys 48.2% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 21.9
Academy Sponsor Northern Education Trust
Local Authority Barnsley
Percentage Free School Meals 17.7%
Percentage English is Not First Language 0.8%
Persistent Absence 18%
Pupils with SEN Support 7.9%
Catchment Area Indicator Available Yes
Last Distance Offered Available No
Highlights from Latest Full Inspection (21 January 2020)
There may have been more recent inspections such as monitoring visits or short inspections. For details of all inspections, please view this provider on our map here.

What is it like to attend this school?

Kirk Balk pupils behave well and work hard. Teachers expect pupils to achieve high standards. Learning is rarely disrupted. This is because staff are consistent when they follow the academy’s behaviour policy. Senior leaders provide effective support for teachers. They make regular checks on how pupils are behaving in lessons. They take swift action if necessary to ensure that pupils can learn in calm classrooms.

Pupils feel safe in school. They say that staff are always nearby at breaktimes or lunchtimes to act straight away if there are any problems. Bullying is rare. If it does happen, staff act fast to resolve any problems.

Teachers and leaders enjoy celebrating pupils’ successes. Pupils are often praised in lessons. Sometimes the whole class applauds a good answer. On ‘Proud Thursdays’ senior leaders praise pupils’ good work and their achievements.

Teachers offer pupils lots of extra-curricular activities. Many pupils complete pledges. This means they take part in activities such as trips, sports clubs or drama performances.

Staff encourage pupils to read a wide range of literature. There are ‘drop everything and read’ lessons every week. Lots of pupils choose a new book every term through the ‘Reading Routes’ programme. Pupils earn rewards for completing each book.

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

Teachers have planned a curriculum with colleagues from across the trust. It is now in place across key stage 3. The curriculum is ambitious; pupils are being asked challenging questions. This means pupils have to join together lots of different pieces of knowledge. They can do this because teachers have planned the learning well. Pupils build their knowledge over time. However, the curriculum is still new, and some older pupils have gaps in their knowledge.

The number of pupils choosing subjects such as modern languages has increased. Current pupils are achieving higher standards in these subjects. This is because of the curriculum changes leaders have made.

Teachers assess pupils’ understanding well. Teachers ensure that pupils revisit any learning where their knowledge is not secure. Teachers expect pupils to try hard and to complete tasks to a high standard.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) access the full curriculum. Teachers and support staff help pupils with SEND to achieve well. Some pupils also receive additional support outside the normal timetable. This helps them to learn. Disadvantaged pupils also achieve well across the curriculum. This is because teachers and leaders have high expectations of all pupils.Learning is rarely disrupted by poor behaviour. Teachers follow the academy’s behaviour policy well. They quickly spot pupils who stop working and get them back on track.

Leaders have introduced strategies to reduce exclusions, which were high in the past. Pupils now have more chances to improve their behaviour before staff use more serious sanctions. A small number of pupils do not always follow the rules, so leaders do use these sanctions. Some pupils learn away from their normal classroom. When this happens, specialist staff supervise and support them well.

Staff provide lots of activities to boost pupils’ personal development. The curriculum contains ‘life’ lessons, which cover a broad range of themes. These lessons help pupils understand about British values and how to be safe and healthy. A small number of older pupils say they would like to learn more about the risks they could face outside of school. Pupils receive good careers guidance at Kirk Balk.

Staff are very positive about the support leaders provide. They value the way leaders tackle poor behaviour. Teachers also appreciate that leaders remove unnecessary tasks. They say that they use the time gained to plan better lessons.

Trust leaders help the local academy council perform well. Staff value the training the trust provides. Local governors use the trust’s systems to hold leaders to account. They say planning with colleagues from other schools is helpful.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Staff make every effort to keep pupils safe. They work well with other local agencies, such as social services, if pupils are at risk. They offer lots of extra help for more vulnerable pupils.

All staff know how to recognise the signs that a young person may be at risk of harm. They also know how to report concerns.Leaders complete all the checks required before allowing staff to work with children.

Pupils learn about the risks they could face and how to stay safe. They know how to stay safe on-line and about the dangers of extremism.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

Pupils in key stage 4 have not accessed the new and improved curriculum that is in place for key stage 3 pupils. This means that some pupils still have gaps in their knowledge. Leaders should ensure that they continue to develop the quality of the curriculum at key stage 4 so that it matches the ambition of the key stage 3 curriculum. . The vast majority of pupils behave well. This is due to the behaviour policy and application of it. Leaders should now further improve pupils’ behaviour so that pupils self-regulate and the need for sanctions reduces further. . A small minority of pupils are excluded too often. This means that they miss valuable learning. Leaders should continue to refine and embed the range of strategies introduced recently to reduce exclusions further.