Northfield School and Sports College

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About Northfield School and Sports College

Name Northfield School and Sports College
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr R. J. Henderson
Address Thames Road, Billingham, TS22 5EG
Phone Number 01642557373
Phase Secondary
Type Community school
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1484
Local Authority Stockton-on-Tees
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils benefit from a broad and balanced curriculum with personal development running through its heart. Leaders and teachers expect the best of pupils.

The school's values of 'respect, honesty and resilience' are commonly understood. Pupils are polite and outgoing. They are keen to talk to visitors about life in school.

Many of them enjoy the wider opportunities that are on offer. For example, the school production of 'Sister Act' that was taking place during the inspection involved nearly 100 pupils.

Lessons are purposeful.

Pupils behave well in classrooms. There is a healthy buzz of positivity on the corridors although there are times when pupils ...misbehave between lessons. Very occasionally bullying occurs.

Whenever either of these happen, leaders manage it well.

Leaders value the views of pupils. For example, the pupils who are part of the 'teaching and learning group' meet with senior leaders to tell them about their experiences in lessons.

Leaders use this feedback, along with other monitoring, to continuously improve pupils' experiences in school.

Staff and pupils get on well. Strong and effective pastoral care is available.

This helps pupils to be safe and feel safe. Staff help pupils who struggle with their behaviour to turn things around. Pupils value the mental health support that is available in school.

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

Leaders have constructed a high-quality curriculum. Subject leaders have made ambitious choices about what pupils will study. They have designed the curriculum so that knowledge is taught in a sensible order.

Staff are knowledgeable about how to best support pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Teachers make good use of precise information that tells them how to help pupils with SEND in class. For example, art and design teachers adapt the curriculum successfully for pupils with visual impairment.

When learning about perspective, some pupils will produce 3D models instead of drawing. When drawing, pupils who need help with their fine motor skills get useful support from teaching assistants. This means that all pupils can develop an appreciation of art.

Staff teach most lessons effectively and in the main, pupils make good progress. Well-trained staff teach pupils who need support with reading. They catch up quickly.

Staff frequently check pupils' understanding in lessons. Where teachers notice that pupils have knowledge gaps, they are quick thinking and adapt their lesson appropriately. Some staff teach subjects such as mathematics, which are not their main specialism.

They have subject mentors to help them to improve their knowledge. However, some teachers do not have enough subject expertise. They find it difficult to respond quickly when pupils have difficulty understanding important concepts.

Pupils behave well. However, last year the number of suspensions and permanent exclusions increased. Some pupils do not attend school frequently enough.

Leaders have rightly invested in more pastoral staff to support pupils to behave well and attend more often. Pupils trust the pastoral team and this helps leaders to understand pupils' individual circumstances. Staff put the right strategies in place to overcome any barriers that pupils may have.

As a result, incidents of poor behaviour in school have decreased. However, attendance for some pupils remains a challenge.

Leaders place great emphasis on preparing pupils for life in modern Britain.

Staff who teach the personal, social and health education (PSHE) curriculum are well trained. This means that important messages about personal finance and relationships are understood by pupils. The careers programme is well structured.

It helps pupils to think about their options for the future. The religious education (RE) curriculum gives pupils a real sense of the importance of diversity. All pupils take a GCSE in RE which deeply develops their spiritual understanding.

Leaders and governors have an accurate understanding of the school's strengths and what needs to develop. Together, they have addressed the weaknesses found at the previous inspection. Governors' challenge and support has kept leaders focused.

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges. Leaders have galvanised staff relationships to overcome these. Several staff have accessed training to become a mental health first aider.

Staff appreciate that this support is available should they require it.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Discussions with pupils about how to stay safe are frequent and relevant.

Safeguarding leaders regularly liaise with the local police community support officer to understand emerging safeguarding issues in the local area. Together, they work to design and deliver sessions for pupils on topics such as knife crime, so that pupils are fully aware of the risks that they may face away from school.

Safeguarding leaders have developed effective systems for pupils and adults to pass on any concerns that they might have.

Both make good use of these channels. Leaders act quickly when they receive information about individual pupils who are at risk. Leaders ensure that these pupils are protected from harm.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• A small minority of staff teach subjects that are outside of their main subject specialism and lack the necessary expert knowledge needed to teach these subjects with consistent effectiveness. This means that some pupils' knowledge is not deepened in some lessons. Leaders needs to develop teachers' expertise so that those teaching outside of their main area of expertise can implement the curriculum effectively.

• Some pupils do not attend school as regularly as they should. Consequently, these pupils have some gaps in their learning. Leaders and those responsible for governance need to ensure that recent initiatives to improve attendance are closely monitored and where necessary enhanced to secure regular attendance from all pupils.

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