Marsden Heights Community College

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About Marsden Heights Community College

Name Marsden Heights Community College
Ofsted Inspections
Miss Alyson Littlewood
Address Edge End Lane, Nelson, BB9 0PR
Phone Number 01282683060
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1046
Local Authority Lancashire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils feel happy and safe at this friendly and welcoming school. They spoke enthusiastically about how they champion the diversity of their school community.

For example, pupils explained that various flags decorate learning spaces to reflect the different backgrounds and cultures of pupils. Pupils and staff are immensely proud of the improvements made to this school in recent years.

The school has high expectations of pupils' learning and behaviour.

Pupils, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), benefit from learning the same ambitious curriculum. Pupils enjoy their lessons and work hard. They achieve well in many subjec...ts.

Most pupils attend school regularly and engage with their learning enthusiastically. For example, pupils appreciate the opportunity to attend school on Saturdays for additional events, including revision classes and rehearsals for the school show.

Pupils enjoy the wider opportunities on offer to them, such as hill climbing in the local area.

They take part in a range of clubs and activities. For example, pupils play in sports teams and get involved in a range of arts and crafts. Pupils and staff also work closely with the local community, including raising money for local charities.

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

With the support of the trust, the school has designed an ambitious curriculum across all subject areas. Where subjects are firmly established, pupils achieve well. In a small number of subjects, the school's curriculum thinking is at an earlier stage.

In these subjects, some pupils' outcomes do not reflect the more recent improvements made to the curriculum. This includes for a small number of subjects in the English Baccalaureate suite of subjects.

Teachers have secure knowledge of the subjects they teach, and they explain concepts clearly to pupils.

Overall, teachers design appropriate activities to help pupils build and remember essential knowledge over time. The school has adopted effective routines that teachers use consistently. As a result, pupils know what is expected of them, and learning time is used efficiently.

In many subjects, teachers skilfully check what pupils know and remember. In these subjects, pupils' misconceptions are identified and remedied quickly. In subjects where teachers are in the process of defining the essential knowledge that they want pupils to learn, the school's approaches to assessment are underdeveloped.

Occasionally, teachers are not clear enough about where pupils have gaps in their knowledge.

The school prioritises reading for all pupils. Teachers read regularly with their classes, and they are trained well in the reading strategies that they model.

Pupils said that these reading strategies help them to access the ambitious texts that teachers have selected for them. Pupils told inspectors that they enjoy reading. For example, they visit the school library often, and many pupils read regularly in their own time.

Skilled staff are quick to identify those pupils who find reading more difficult. Staff use their expertise to provide timely and appropriate support so that these pupils can catch up with their peers.

The school identifies pupils with SEND swiftly and accurately.

Teachers are furnished with the information and training that they need to support pupils with SEND well. However, in a small number of subjects, some teachers do not adapt their delivery of the curriculum as effectively as they could to meet pupils' additional needs. Occasionally, some pupils with SEND do not achieve as well as they should in these subjects.

Pupils readily meet the school's high expectations of their behaviour. In lessons and around the school site, pupils are courteous, and they treat each other with respect. Disruption to learning is rare, and pupils are proud of the rewards that they receive for behaving well.

Many pupils are positive about the experiences that the school provides to enhance their wider personal development, and they recognise the importance of this learning. For example, pupils have learned about a range of topics that suitably prepare them for life in modern Britain and help them to consider future careers. However, some aspects of the school's careers education are less well thought out.

Some pupils told inspectors that that they do not receive sufficient information about post-16 choices until late into key stage 4. From time to time, this hinders some pupils from making informed decisions about their next steps.

Governors and trustees work together closely and understand the school's priorities for further improvement well.

Staff value the professional development opportunities that the trust provides. The school, with the support of the trust, seeks the views of staff before making changes or introducing new initiatives. Staff are appreciative of this support for their well-being and workload.

Parents and carers appreciate the strong communication that they have with the school. For example, parents told inspectors that they feel fully informed about how well their children are learning.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In a few subjects, the school is finalising the knowledge that it wants pupils to learn. This sometimes hinders teachers in checking how well pupils have secured the knowledge that they require for subsequent learning. The school should ensure that, as these curriculums are finalised, teachers are equipped to identify and address pupils' misconceptions before they move on to new learning.

• The school does not ensure that some pupils receive timely enough information about their next steps. This hinders some pupils from being fully informed about the extent of opportunities available to them when making post-16 choices. The school should ensure that the programme of careers education is designed to prepare pupils sufficiently well to make considered decisions about the next stage of their education, employment or training.

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