Robertsbridge Community College

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About Robertsbridge Community College


Name Robertsbridge Community College
Website http://www.robertsbridge.org.uk
Inspections
Ofsted Inspections
Interim Headteacher Mr Clive Rosewell
Address Knelle Road, Robertsbridge, TN32 5EA
Phone Number 01580880360
Phase Secondary
Type Community school
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 754
Local Authority East Sussex
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils do not achieve well at this school. This is particularly true of those who are disadvantaged or have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

The curriculum lacks ambition and is not delivered consistently well. This prevents pupils from reaching their potential.

Expectations of pupils' behaviour are low.

Lessons are routinely disrupted, and many pupils are concerned that this gets in the way of their learning. It is common for pupils to ignore sanctions for misbehaviour because they know that adults in school are unlikely to follow up.

Derogatory language and boisterous behaviour have become normalised in the corridors and playgr...ound.

This behaviour often goes unchallenged by staff. Some pupils are concerned about bullying and say that this is not always dealt with effectively. Despite these issues, most pupils say they feel safe in school and they know there is somebody they can talk to if they have a problem.

Pupils appreciate the fact that their teachers know them well. Some benefit from enrichment activities, such as clubs and trips, and the school is seeking to expand these opportunities further. There are some pupil leadership positions, but many are unsure about how to express their views about the school and feel frustrated by this.

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

There has been a serious breakdown in this school's leadership. Leaders lack capacity and have failed to prevent a decline in standards of education and behaviour. Parents and staff rightly lack confidence in leaders' ability to make necessary improvements.

Staff morale is low, but they are fully committed to supporting the school. They do not feel well supported by leaders, particularly in managing challenging behaviour.

Published outcomes at this school have been poor over time and are not improving.

Pupils who are disadvantaged achieve well below their non-disadvantaged peers nationally. The school's curriculum is not consistently coherent or ambitious. Only a small proportion of pupils in key stage 4 study a broad and ambitious curriculum as represented by the English Baccalaureate.

The school is in the very early stages of making improvements to the curriculum and the way it is delivered. However, it will take time before the impact of this work is seen.

Pupils with SEND are not supported well at this school.

Plans to support these pupils lack the required precision and detail. The staff who teach and support pupils with SEND are not always familiar with their needs. The school recognises that there is currently a lack of capacity and expertise to meet the needs of these pupils.

Many pupils at this school experience a fragmented education. Lessons are routinely disrupted by poor behaviour. Attendance is low and suspensions are high.

The number of pupils leaving the school to be home educated is also high. These barriers disproportionately affect pupils with SEND, who miss more school than their peers. There is a lack of effective support to help pupils improve their behaviour.

This means that some pupils miss too much lesson time due to being repeatedly removed from lessons or suspended, without getting the help they need.

The school provides appropriate careers, information, education, advice and guidance. This includes opportunities for pupils to get impartial advice on their next steps and hear directly from post-16 education and training providers in the area.

Pupils are taught a suitably broad programme of personal, social, health and economic education. This curriculum has been adapted to meet the needs and experiences of the pupils who attend their school. Lesson content is age-appropriate and includes teaching about relationships and sex and health education.

Sometimes, there is a lack of consistency in the way this programme is delivered. Some pupils are unclear about topics such as consent and fundamental British values. Pupils know that they have been taught about using inappropriate language, but many remain confused about why 'banter' can cause offence.

This is not addressed by the school's wider work, where disrespectful language often goes unchallenged.

Following concerns about the school's leadership and low standards, the local authority issued a warning notice to the school and an interim executive board (IEB) was appointed in November. The local authority continues to offer appropriate support to the school, which includes their representation on the IEB.

Since the IEB have taken responsibility for school governance, there has been a greater level of challenge. The IEB have brokered the support of a local multi-academy trust (MAT) to conduct a review and to add leadership capacity to the school. Weaknesses in the school's effectiveness have been identified.

This work is a positive step forward but is not yet having an impact on pupils' daily experiences. Despite increased support and challenge, senior leaders do not yet have a clear and sustainable plan to improve the school.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Pupils with SEND do not receive a high-quality education. Plans to support pupils often lack precise guidance and are not well understood by staff. This means that the support pupils receive in lessons does not usually meet their needs.

The school should ensure that the most relevant strategies for each pupil with SEND are identified, and that staff are appropriately trained to provide the support that pupils need. ? The school's systems to ensure orderly and respectful behaviour are not effective. Many pupils are unclear about the expectations of their behaviour or the importance of treating others with respect.

The school's routines and expectations are not consistently reinforced by staff. Sanctions are not followed up on if pupils refuse to comply. These factors have resulted in a culture where rules are routinely ignored.

Leaders must clarify their expectations for pupils, including what happens when these are not met. They must ensure that there are systems in place to support staff to manage behaviour. They must ensure that there is sufficient capacity to follow up on sanctions when required.

• The school has not acted quickly enough to improve poor standards of education. This includes published outcomes for pupils, including those who are disadvantaged, that are well below the national average. The school should ensure that there is an ambitious curriculum in place and that this is delivered consistently well.

Leaders should ensure that there are robust processes in place to check that this work is effective. Governors should assure themselves that there is a sustained improvement in the standard of education. ? Leaders have not ensured that weaknesses in the school are prioritised and addressed.

The school's senior leadership lacks the capacity to improve the school. They should work with stakeholders, including the IEB and local authority, to ensure there is a clear and sustainable plan in place for the school's improvement. ? The school may not appoint early career teachers before the next monitoring inspection.


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