Kirkby Stephen Grammar School

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About Kirkby Stephen Grammar School

Name Kirkby Stephen Grammar School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr Gary Hartley
Address Christian Head, Kirkby Stephen, CA17 4HA
Phone Number 01768371693
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 352
Local Authority Westmorland and Furness
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Kirkby Stephen Grammar School is a friendly and caring community. Pupils are safe.

They are happy to attend school each day.

Pupils act respectfully towards each other and to the staff. They benefit from strong relationships with teachers, who know them well.

Furthermore, strong pastoral support underpins pupils' positive experience of school. The school helps pupils to understand and manage their well-being.

The school successfully identifies and removes the barriers that some pupils have to learning.

It has high expectations of what pupils can achieve. Pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), well.

There is a range of exciting extra-curricular clubs and trips on offer.

Pupils are keen to participate in these activities, and participation rates are high. For instance, nearly half of the school were involved in the recent school production. Sporting opportunities abound, and pupils are very proud of their sporting achievements.

Students in the sixth form are keen to take on leadership responsibilities. This allows them to contribute positively to school life.

Pupils are well versed in how to keep themselves safe, including online, and how to respond to local risk factors such as flooding.

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

Since the last inspection, the school has taken determined and effective action to tackle the identified weaknesses successfully. Safeguarding has been prioritised. Consequently, the procedures for keeping pupils safe are now effective.

The restructure of the board of trustees has added leadership capacity. Moreover, trustees are clear about their roles and responsibilities. For example, they expertly support the school while also holding it to account.

Trustees have an accurate oversight of the school's strengths and areas for development. In addition, the school has welcomed and benefited from the support provided by external partners. As a result, many aspects of the school are stronger than at the time of the previous inspection.

Pupils, and students in the sixth form, benefit from a broad, ambitious and well-considered curriculum. The school's ambition is for the English Baccalaureate suite of subjects to be at the heart of the curriculum. It has identified and addressed the reasons why fewer pupils were choosing to study languages in the past.

Consequently, the number of pupils learning a language at key stage 4 is increasing.

Teachers are knowledgeable about their subjects. In the main, the curriculum is delivered well across key stages 3 and 4 and in the sixth form.

Most pupils learn successfully across the curriculum. However, in a small number of subjects, some teachers do not design suitable activities to help pupils to secure their learning. This hinders pupils' progress through the curriculum.

The school is in the process of finalising the strategies that it will use to check that pupils are learning the content of the curriculum. Currently, some teachers' checks on pupils' learning do not identify well enough their misconceptions or gaps in their knowledge.

Reading is a top priority.

Pupils who find reading difficult are successfully supported to close the gaps in their reading knowledge. They become fluent and accurate readers. This has transformed their experience of school because they can access the curriculum more readily.

Even so, there is a small minority of pupils who do not readily engage independently in reading for pleasure.

Pupils' additional needs are identified accurately. Information given to staff about pupils with SEND is now more user friendly.

Teachers use this information effectively to adapt learning to meet the needs of pupils. Personalised programmes of study are offered to students with SEND in the sixth form. This means that students' needs are catered for well.

Staff are appropriately supported to manage pupils' behaviour. Overall, pupils are engaged in lessons and display positive attitudes to their learning. Most pupils attend school regularly.

Students in the sixth form are particularly keen to learn. They act as excellent role models for younger pupils. There is a harmonious atmosphere in the school.

There is a well-thought-out and coherent programme that enhances pupils' personal development. Interwoven through this programme are clear messages about safeguarding. Pupils are given opportunities to debate different ideas.

This helps them to develop confidence in expressing their opinions. They show empathy to those who are different. The school supports pupils well in their decisions about next steps.

For instance, appropriate work experience and independent careers advice help pupils make informed choices. Students in the sixth form are well informed about different pathways, including university, the world of work and apprenticeships.

Change has happened apace but, alongside this, the school has considered staff's workload.

Staff are positive about the support that they receive from leaders and trustees. They appreciate the positive difference recent changes have made to everyone in the school community.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority) ? Some staff do not use assessment strategies well enough to identify and address pupils' misconceptions and gaps in their knowledge. This prevents some pupils from building securely on what they have learned before. The school should ensure that teachers receive appropriate support to use assessment strategies to identify and then remedy gaps in pupils' learning.

• In a small number of subjects, some teachers do not design suitable learning activities for pupils. This hampers pupils from making the progress that they should through the curriculum. The school should ensure that leaders are suitably equipped to support staff to deliver the curriculum as intended.

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