Sandwell Academy

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About Sandwell Academy

Name Sandwell Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Mr James Saunders
Address Halfords Lane, West Bromwich, B71 4LG
Phone Number 01215251700
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1384
Local Authority Sandwell
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Sandwell Academy staff and pupils share the same high aspirations. Pupils understand and follow the school's ethos to 'be brave, be kind, be proud'. Relationships between pupils and staff are courteous and respectful.

Pupils support each other's needs. Pupils are happy and feel safe. A parent comment, typical of others, is: 'Teachers go above and beyond to support students reaching their full potential.'

There is a purposeful atmosphere around the school. Pupils can focus on their learning well, work hard and want to learn. The majority of pupils show respectful and positive behaviours during structured lesson times.

During unstructured times, such... as breaks and lunch, they behave sensibly. Where pupils' behaviour is not acceptable, staff speak with them to explain the school's high expectations. This maintains the positive behaviours around the school.

The school places a strong emphasis on pupils' personal development. This includes mental health and well-being. Pupils can clearly explain their understanding of diversity and equality in society.

Leadership opportunities include house captaincy, and sixth-form students act as mentors to younger pupils. The extra-curricular programme is rich and diverse. Pupils regularly take part in activities such as sports, music, chess, cadets and public speaking.

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

Since the last inspection and following a period of development in the school, there have been significant and highly effective staffing changes made. These include a new headteacher, who has successfully raised expectations around learning and behaviour. The school has developed a highly ambitious and well-sequenced curriculum.

All pupils, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), follow this curriculum. The school's actions to improve the curriculum have led to improving pupil outcomes by the end of key stage 4.

Students in the sixth form are exceptionally positive about their learning experiences and the wider opportunities the school provides.

Sixth-form teachers engage students in ambitious, challenging and independent learning. This enables students to achieve highly. Students make a significant contribution to supporting younger pupils, for example through regular mentoring sessions and as student leaders within the enrichment activities.

Students benefit greatly from this exceptional provision.

The school has accurately identified the important things that pupils need to know to succeed. The majority of teachers present new subject matter clearly.

Most pupils remember their previous knowledge well, which helps them to understand new learning. For example, pupils in Year 9 English recalled their previous knowledge and understanding of Victorian society and literature to compare with their current text. However, in a small number of lessons, teachers do not know whether pupils have secured the important knowledge before moving on.

This results in some pupils struggling to build on previous learning because they have not grasped the key skills and knowledge from before.

The majority of pupils display excellent self-control and highly positive attitudes to learning. However, a few pupils do not always focus on their learning well enough.

In a small number of cases, pupils behave inappropriately within the school setting. The school acts swiftly to address the occasions when this happens, which helps to maintain the high standards of behaviour generally seen. School attendance is high, with robust systems in place to support absent pupils to catch up on their work quickly.

The school quickly identifies pupils with SEND. All staff receive precise information about pupils' individual needs. Teachers use this information effectively to adapt their teaching.

The school has implemented an extensive range of strategies to support pupils who are not confident readers. These include specialist teachers who rapidly address weaknesses in phonics, grammar and comprehension. The school ensures that pupils who need additional reading support receive it rapidly.

The personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education curriculum, including those aspects within the Personal Tutor Time ('PT'), is well planned and sequenced. In most lessons, pupils learn about topics such as healthy relationships and online safety well. However not all pupils can remember the most important information within 'PT'.

Some teachers do not always present the information effectively, or discuss with pupils in sufficient depth why the information is important. This means that some pupils are not always challenged about their understanding of mental health, for example. Pupils and students in the sixth form discuss careers, university aspirations and apprenticeships, which helps them to choose their next steps after school.

Trustees and governors know the school very well. They support and challenge leaders appropriately in meetings and on their visits to the school. They hold the school to account well for all aspects of provision, including their robust and rigorous focus on safeguarding and the quality of SEND provision.

The school has implemented a well-thought-out professional development programme for staff. Staff workload is carefully considered, which staff are appreciative of.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In some subjects, some teachers do not consistently check that all pupils understand and remember what has been learned. This means that some pupils do not fully retain and recall the necessary knowledge to support new learning.The school should ensure that all teachers check pupils' understanding and adapt their teaching accordingly so that pupils become secure in the key knowledge they need.

• In some subjects, the work and activities provided to pupils, including opportunities to use oracy and to debate and discuss topics, are not always well matched to the curriculum content. As a result, this slows pupils' learning in these subjects. Leaders should ensure that teachers set appropriate activities and work, including oracy, to promote discussions and debate matched to the curriculum content in all subjects.

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