Parkside Academy

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About Parkside Academy

Name Parkside Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mrs Kelly Armstrong
Address Hall Lane Estate, Willington, Crook, DL15 0QF
Phone Number 01388746396
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 965
Local Authority County Durham
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

At Parkside Academy, pupils benefit from the warm and positive relationships that staff build. Staff ensure that all pupils are valued members of the community.

As a result, pupils are happy and safe.

Pupils benefit from an effective curriculum. This is because the school places a strong emphasis on the quality of education.

For many pupils, this leads to positive outcomes.

The school is a calm and purposeful place to be. Leaders have high expectations for pupils' behaviour.

Clear systems support pupils and staff in meeting these aims. Bullying is infrequent in the school. When it does happen, it is dealt with swiftly.

Leaders ensur...e that pupils have high-quality pastoral support. Pupils participate in year group meetings, assemblies and regular tutor time. This allows pupils to focus on well-being and character development.

These reflection opportunities are supported by tutors, who know the pupils well.

Pupils are knowledgeable about the world around them. For example, pupils talk confidently about healthy and unhealthy relationships.

They also understand the importance of online safety. This is the result of an effective curriculum for personal development, which includes taught lessons and dedicated, age-appropriate events.

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

The school provides an ambitious curriculum for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Leaders have also carefully considered curriculum sequencing so that each new topic builds upon prior learning. For example, in history, pupils in key stage 3 learn about the Romans, the suffrage movement and then the Holocaust. These topics are linked together by the themes of prejudice and persecution.

Leaders have identified important knowledge and vocabulary that pupils need to know. Teachers use their strong subject knowledge to provide clear explanations. Teachers also break learning down into smaller chunks, which helps pupils with SEND to build confidence.

These approaches enable pupils to recall knowledge from these important parts of the curriculum. However, the curriculum does not always support pupils to apply this knowledge in different ways. Some pupils find it hard to link different elements of knowledge together.

This means they are not always fully prepared for more advanced learning.

Leaders place a high priority on reading. Well-trained staff deliver phonics intervention so that the weakest readers quickly catch up with their peers.

This is part of a comprehensive package of reading support in the school. The school also ensures there are strategies in place to encourage pupils to read widely and for pleasure. This includes an e-library, trips to local libraries and reading together during tutor time.

Pupils move around school in a calm and respectful manner. If pupils do not meet the school's high expectations, staff use recently reviewed systems to manage this well. Leaders have developed a broad range of strategies to support pupils who do misbehave.

This individual approach supports pupils to learn from their mistakes.

Personal development is a thread that runs through all areas of the school. Leaders are passionate about creating opportunities for pupils they may not otherwise have.

As a result, there is a wide range of activities in which pupils can participate. This includes the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and sports leaders' events. However, some pupils do not always make good use of the opportunities the school provides.

The school offers a varied careers programme. This is included in dedicated lesson time, whole-school events and tutor time. Pupils, including those with SEND, progress to a range of courses, employment or training.

Some pupils benefit from work experience. With the support of the trust, the school is working towards widening this offer.

Staff are proud to work in the school.

They value the continued professional development provided by the school and trust. Leaders consider staff workload and ensure that a range of well-being initiatives are in place. These are well received and contribute to staff feeling happy at work.

Trustees and executive leaders are passionate about the school. The school motto, 'your child is our child', underpins how trust leaders support the school's development.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Some pupils cannot apply and connect their curriculum knowledge in a range of different contexts. As a result, they are not always ready for the next stage of learning, including post-16 learning. Leaders should ensure that the curriculum better helps pupils to build and apply a deep body of knowledge.

• Many students do not make best use of the wide range of personal development opportunities the school provides. This means they are not fully immersed in the life of the school. Leaders should intensify actions to increase pupils' engagement in these activities.

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