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Pupils, including those in the sixth form, enjoy coming to school. Pupils' attendance is rapidly improving. Pupils build strong relationships with their peers and their teachers.
One pupil told inspectors that the school is like 'one big family', others agreed. Pupils are safe here. They know who to turn to should they have a concern.
Pupils told inspectors that when bullying happens staff deal with it effectively.
The principal has galvanised his staff. They share his ambitious vision.
Leaders are developing a curriculum that aims to broaden pupils' understanding of the world around them. For example, through the s...chools 'freedom to read' programme, pupils read a wide range of books such as 'The Great Gatsby' and 'To Kill A Mockingbird'. These texts help pupils to develop their understanding of issues such as race and discrimination.
Pupils, parents and staff told inspectors that behaviour at the school is much improved. Inspectors agree. In most lessons, pupils behave well and focus on their learning.
Students understand that they must try their best and strive for excellence at all times. As one pupil told inspectors, 'I know that today will not be my best, because tomorrow will be even better'.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
The principal, supported by the multi-academy trust, has successfully guided the school through a turbulent period.
Leaders are taking the right steps, in the right order, to secure improvements for the school. They have created a culture where positive behaviour and discipline are celebrated. Pupils value this.
They behave well in lessons and around the school site. Staff say the school has undergone a 'sea change' in recent years.
Leaders have designed an ambitious curriculum that emphasises pupils' personal development alongside their academic one.
In most subjects, the curriculum is well planned. The knowledge that pupils learn builds effectively upon the things they already know. When this happens, pupils remember what they have been taught.
For example, in English, pupils speak confidently about themes such as dramatic irony in the Shakespeare plays Julius Caesar and Macbeth. In a few subjects, leaders have not identified the small steps that pupils need to learn to be successful. Where this happens, the things pupils learn do not always build upon what they already know.
This hinders their learning. Currently, not enough pupils study a modern foreign language at key stage 4. Leaders are taking appropriate steps to address this.
In most lessons, including those in the sixth form, teachers make good use of assessment to check pupils have understood what they have been taught. Teachers adjust their teaching to fill any gaps in pupils' knowledge. This stops pupils from falling behind.
However, in a few subjects, and particularly at key stage 3, teachers' use of assessment does not help them to identify when pupils have not understood something they have been taught. As a result, gaps in pupils' knowledge persist. Where this occurs, this is a barrier to pupils making progress.
Leaders are quick to identify pupils who have additional needs such as those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). Leaders make sure that all staff have the information they need to support these pupils. Most teachers use this information well and adjust their teaching appropriately.
However, on occasion, the work given to pupils is not well matched to their needs. This is because not all teachers understand how to meet the needs of pupils with SEND. When this happens, pupils do not achieve as well as they should.
Pupils with SEND benefit from effective interventions in the school's internal 'hub' provision. Pupils value this support and make strong progress as a result.
Pupils, including those in the sixth form, read regularly.
Leaders have made sure there are ample opportunities in the curriculum to support this. Pupils are developing a love of reading. They speak with enthusiasm about the books they read.
Pupils with gaps in their phonics knowledge receive effective support to help them to read as well as their peers.
Leaders' work to encourage pupils' personal development is a strength of the school. Diversity is celebrated here.
For example, pupils take part in steel drum and Caribbean food workshops as part of the school's celebrations of Black History Month. Leaders have made sure that pupils, including those in the sixth form, receive valuable information about the world of work. Pupils can develop their interests outside of the classroom by taking part in a growing range of activities.
For example, pupils take part in sports clubs, such as basketball and netball, as well as the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders have made sure that all staff have received the training and support they need to identify pupils who are at risk of harm.
As a result, staff are vigilant. When staff have a concern, they act quickly. Leaders are tenacious; they follow through with every concern raised, no matter how small.
They take appropriate actions when managing allegations against staff.
Leaders work closely with local police and other external agencies to better understand the risk to pupils in their community. They use this knowledge to good effect, adapting their curriculum plans to make sure pupils are taught how to keep themselves safe from harm.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• In a few subjects, leaders have not considered carefully enough the order in which important knowledge will be taught. When this happens, pupils are not always taught content in a logical order. This means that pupils do not learn and remember the most important information.
Leaders should ensure that curriculum sequencing is equally well developed across all subjects to enable pupils to make strong progress. ? In some subjects, teachers do not use assessment well enough to check pupils' understanding. This means that, on occasion, teachers do not identify gaps in pupils' knowledge before moving on.
This limits the progress that some pupils make. Leaders need to ensure that all teachers use assessment consistently well to check pupils' understanding and use this information to adapt curriculum planning where necessary. ? Some teachers do not adapt their teaching well enough to meet the needs of pupils with SEND.
Consequently, some teachers do not give pupils work that is well matched to their needs. This limits the progress these pupils make through the curriculum. Leaders should ensure that all teachers provide work that is well suited to the needs of pupils with SEND.
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