Knowle DGE Academy

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About Knowle DGE Academy

Name Knowle DGE Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Kate Lee-Wells
Address Novers Road, Bristol, BS4 1QY
Phone Number 01173708030
Phase Academy (special)
Type Academy special converter
Age Range 5-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 165
Local Authority Bristol, City of
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Staff's expectations of pupils are inconsistent, and they are not challenged enough. Therefore, pupils do not develop knowledge and understanding well enough. They do not behave as well as they could.

Leaders and staff have a deep understanding of pupils' complex needs and the challenges they face. They get to know pupils very well. Many pupils have had negative experiences of education in the past.

Staff work hard to nurture pupils so that they are happy and safe. Pupils' trust in school is rebuilt so they can learn. One pupil summarised this as, 'This school helps everyone in different ways.'

Pupils are confident that adults will sort things out ...if they go wrong. If bullying happens, staff take it seriously and act quickly. Leaders and staff prioritise supporting pupils to become confident citizens who are physically and mentally healthy.

Even with the challenges of the recent pandemic, leaders remain highly ambitious for the school. They have strengthened the curriculum and safeguarding practices. They know what they need to do next so that the quality of education and behaviour become more consistent, and pupils are challenged more.

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

The school rightly prides itself on nurturing pupils well so that they become more engaged in education. Pupils talk movingly about how Knowle DGE is better than their previous schools. They feel well looked after by the adults who care for them.

There are warm relationships between staff and pupils. Staff enthusiastically celebrate the success of pupils. Pupils become more confident.

They increase their belief in themselves.

The sixth form is a strength. There is a suitable range of courses on offer.

English and mathematics remain a high priority for students. They become confident in subjects such as performing arts and animal care. Students are engaged and go on to a range of suitable destinations.

Leaders have strengthened the curriculum. Subjects such as early reading, primary English, art and mathematics are well thought through. Leaders have adopted common approaches to developing early reading and mathematics.

They ensure that teachers are trained in these approaches. Teachers have a clear structure and know what needs to be taught. Pupils become increasingly confident readers because of daily reading and a more consistent approach to the teaching of phonics.

They are also becoming more confident mathematicians. However, teachers do not always have high enough expectations of pupils. As a result, some pupils are not challenged enough.

Teachers use different assessment methods, even so, work is not always well-matched to pupils' capabilities.Leaders have strengthened the priority given to reading for pleasure. They have introduced several new initiatives, including a vending machine that dispenses books.

However, these have yet to result in pupils reading widely and challenging themselves.

Many pupils come to the school because of severe emotional, mental health or behavioural issues. Leaders have adapted the approach of the school.

The focus is now on nurturing pupils and understanding the complexity of their needs. This has been successful in increasing the engagement of pupils and reducing serious incidents. However, behavioural expectations are not always clear or high enough.

Disruptive behaviour and lack of engagement are still evident. These are not dealt with consistently by staff.

The school's work to support pupils' personal development is a strength.

The 'Ways of Well-being' curriculum ensures that pupils develop a greater awareness of themselves. This covers their health, well-being, community and values. Leaders supplement core subjects with topics that are tailored to the specific challenges that pupils face.

There is a wide range of visitors to the school and opportunities beyond the school to enhance pupils' cultural capital and views of the world. Careers education has a high priority in the school and the sixth form. The school meets the requirements of the Baker Clause, which requires schools to provide pupils in Years 8 to 13 with information about approved technical education qualifications and apprenticeships.

Academy councillors and senior and middle leaders are highly ambitious for the school and pupils. They share an accurate view of the priorities for the school. Due to the nature of pupils' emotional needs, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on many of the pupils.

Leaders have responded to this well, in addition to the resulting impact on staff. Staff say they feel well supported.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders' and staff's commitment to understanding the complex needs of pupils underpins the school's approach to safeguarding. Staff use appropriate processes to identify and manage concerns. The school works well with a range of partners.

The curriculum is amended according to the needs of pupils and issues that are concerning in the school and the wider community.

Leaders ensure that appropriate checks are carried out on staff who work in the school.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Pupils do not always learn as well as they should.

This is because the curriculum is not challenging enough, implementation is inconsistent, and expectations are too low. Leaders should ensure that assessment is being used well and check that the curriculum is being implemented effectively. ? The school's expectations for behaviour and conduct are not clear enough.

This means that disruption or the lack of pupils' engagement is not challenged consistently. Leaders need to define their expectations more clearly. They need to ensure that the routines and approaches that are in place to manage and improve behaviour are implemented.

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