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Philips High School is a diverse and welcoming community. Pupils enjoy coming to school.
They feel happy and safe and they get along well with each other and staff. Pupils are accepting and empathetic of each other's views and differences. They show respect for how different people choose to live their lives.
Leaders are ambitious for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and those who are disadvantaged. However, some pupils do not achieve as well as they should in some subjects. This is because there are weaknesses in how well some subject curriculums are designed and delivered.
Pupils said that staff deal with... rare incidents of bullying quickly and effectively. Leaders have high expectations for how well pupils should behave. Pupils are respectful and courteous and behave well in lessons and around the school.
Pupils benefit from a well-thought-out personal development curriculum. Many pupils enjoy various clubs and activities and take on additional responsibilities. These include music, drama, sports and a range of groups to support the promotion of tolerance and respect.
The pupil leadership group are passionate about making a difference in school and the wider community.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Senior leaders are committed to improving pupils' education. Leaders, including governors, and staff together form a skilled and effective team.
Staff told inspectors that leaders do their best to consider their workload and well-being. Staff feel valued and they enjoy working at the school. Staff's morale is high.
Pupils study a broad range of subjects in key stages 3 and 4. Pupils can choose courses in Year 10 that make up the English Baccalaureate suite of subjects. Leaders have worked effectively increase the number of pupils choosing to study languages in key stage 4.
Leaders are taking appropriate steps to provide pupils with an increasingly high-quality, broad and suitably ambitious education. Some subjects have been well thought out and pupils' learning is organised logically. Leaders make sure that in these subjects, teachers are clear about the essential knowledge that pupils should learn.
However, in some subjects, leaders are still finalising what content should be taught and when different aspects of the curriculum should be delivered.
Most teachers carefully consider the most appropriate ways to help pupils to learn key subject knowledge and skills. When teachers use assessment effectively, they ensure that pupils' previous learning is secure so that pupils can build effectively on their prior knowledge.
However, this is not the case in some subjects. Some teachers do not use assessment techniques effectively enough to check whether pupils' earlier learning is secure. As a result, pupils move on to new learning before they are ready.
This hinders their progress through these curriculums. Across curriculums, pupils' progress is uneven.
Leaders are quick to identify those pupils who do not read as fluently as they should.
Staff provide appropriate support for this group of pupils. Leaders have ensured that staff have been able to benefit from suitable training, including phonics training. This support helps pupils to develop their reading knowledge and confidence in and enjoyment of reading.
In turn, this support helps pupils to access subject knowledge more easily. Leaders have identified that some pupils do not read often enough. They have plans to remedy this.
Leaders have highly effective systems in place to identify the needs of pupils with SEND. Leaders provide staff with important information about the needs of this group of pupils. This ensures that staff are knowledgeable about how to best support pupils with SEND in their learning.
Strategies such as the 'safe space' enable pupils with SEND to benefit from additional, specialist support.
Pupils typically engage well with their learning. They listen carefully in lessons and concentrate on their work.
Lessons are rarely interrupted by poor behaviour.
Leaders place a high value on provision for pupils' personal development to ensure that they are fully equipped for life. Pupils play an active role in deciding how to address issues that are important to them.
For example, the LGBTQ+ group and the 'diversity party' take part in many activities to promote diversity and tolerance both in school and in the wider community. The personal, social, health and economic education curriculum prepares pupils well for life in modern Britain. For example, pupils access an age-appropriate relationships and sex education and health education curriculum.
Pupils receive the support that they need to make informed decisions about their next steps, including information about options for further education, apprenticeships and technical qualifications.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders provide staff with a sufficient and timely range of safeguarding training.
Staff are trained well in how to use the school's safeguarding systems. They are alert to any potential issues and they know how to pass on concerns where needed.
Leaders deal with any safeguarding concerns quickly.
They work effectively with external agencies to help to keep vulnerable pupils safe.
Pupils learn how to keep themselves safe. This happens through character lessons, assemblies, form times and additional opportunities to talk openly about issues that affect them such as when they are online or in the community.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• In some subjects, leaders are still finalising what pupils will study and the order in which some of this knowledge should be taught. As a result, some pupils are unable to build securely on what they know already. Leaders should continue to develop and refine the curriculums to ensure that teachers are clear about what curriculum content should be delivered and when.
• In some subjects, teachers do not use assessment strategies well enough to check whether pupils' earlier learning is secure. This means that pupils sometimes move on to new learning too quickly and this hinders them from making links with what has come before. Leaders should ensure that teachers use assessment strategies effectively to check that pupils have grasped previous learning sufficiently well so that they can build securely on what they know already.
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