Sandy Secondary School

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About Sandy Secondary School

Name Sandy Secondary School
Ofsted Inspections
Principal Miss Karen Hayward
Address Engayne Avenue, Sandy, SG19 1BL
Phone Number 01767680598
Phase Secondary
Type Foundation school
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1155
Local Authority Central Bedfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

There are many positives about school life at Sandy Secondary School.

Most pupils, including students in the sixth form, are smartly dressed and take their studies seriously. Generally, pupils get on with each other and with staff. Staff know pupils' and students' individual needs well.

Staff help if pupils find things tricky or need extra support with school life.

Most pupils behave well. They respect their teachers and enjoy learning.

Pupils do not often experience derogatory language or bullying. When it happens, staff sort out the problem quickly. However, pupils do not always behave well.

Some lessons are disrupted by poor behaviour. Ar...ound the school, pupils are boisterous in the corridor. Some pupils are unhappy about the behaviour of others.

A range of clubs and trips give pupils and students the opportunity to do something different. Pupils and students 'get their say' in improving the school through leading assemblies or designing the school charter.

While students in the sixth form access a good quality of education, pupils in the rest of the school do not get the same standard of provision.

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

Leaders ensure pupils, including students in the sixth form, access a range of academic and vocational subjects, such as applied science. The curriculum is ambitious, as illustrated by the high number of pupils who choose subjects from those that make up the English Baccalaureate. All pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), can pick subjects matched to their interests and talents.

Since the previous inspection, the curriculum has changed to take into account new year groups of Year 7 and Year 8. In some subjects, such as mathematics, the curriculum changes outline and sequence knowledge step by step from Years 7 to 13. Here, teachers' checks in class tell them what pupils know and can do.

Teachers then change what they teach to build pupils' knowledge and to plug any gaps in pupils' understanding.

However, some curriculum areas are not as well devised. In some subjects, teachers do not give pupils enough time to really get to know a topic.

In others, leaders have not identified and arranged logically the key knowledge they want pupils to learn. Some assessment is linked to broad examination criteria rather than the small pockets of knowledge pupils need to remember before moving on to more complex tasks. This makes learning harder than it should be for pupils.

The sixth-form curriculum is more effective. Leaders have set out what students should know in different subjects. Teachers use this information confidently, alongside their secure subject knowledge, to teach students in the sixth form effectively.

Sixth-form students progress well through the curriculum.

Leaders have begun to strengthen the provision for pupils with SEND and improve the information teachers receive about pupils' needs. Most teachers use this information to make effective changes to their lessons, which supports pupils with SEND in their learning.

As a result, pupils with SEND make similar progress through the curriculum as their peers.

There is a clear system to spot pupils who struggle with their reading. Leaders' effective use of phonics and other appropriate strategies helps these pupils to catch up with their peers.

There are opportunities through form time, 'drop-down' days and assembly for pupils to learn about topics such as diversity, relationships and careers. These experiences, however, are sometimes not well sequenced or linked together. On occasion, opportunities are repeated or not adapted to the mixed-year form groups.

This means pupils are not learning as much as they could. Additionally, while pupils and students get useful careers advice and guidance, their experiences vary because of changes to the careers curriculum and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, in-person work experience for pupils and students is just returning.

Some staff do not follow the school's clear behaviour systems consistently well. As a result, pupils' behaviour varies from class to class and around the school. Leaders understand the challenges that some pupils face and have put in place a range of effective emotional support for pupils who need it.

Some pupils, however, still struggle to attend school regularly. Persistent absence remains high.

While governor hold leaders to account, they are limited by what leaders tell them.

Some leaders are not rigorous enough in quality assuring their areas of responsibility. For instance, they do not identify patterns in behaviour. In other areas, where leaders are clear about the issues and know how to address them, the green shoots of improvement are beginning to show.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Safeguarding leaders ensure that staff access appropriate safeguarding training. Staff know the signs to spot if a pupil may be at risk of harm.

Leaders ensure that pupils and students know how to keep safe, both online and in the community.

Systems to report concerns are used well by staff. Safeguarding records show prompt actions in response to worries about pupils.

Leaders use a range of different agencies to support pupils and their families appropriately.The process to deal with child-on-child abuse is effective. Adults take all concerns, including bullying, seriously.

Pupils know where to go if they have a worry about themselves or a friend.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In some areas of the curriculum, including personal, social and health education and careers advice, important knowledge has not been identified or sequenced in a logical way to help pupils remember more of the intended learning. This means that pupils do not learn sufficiently well.

Leaders should ensure that all areas of the curriculum are equally well sequenced and adapted. ? Assessment is inconsistently used by some staff. In addition, some assessment is driven by examination criteria too early and not matched to what pupils have learned.

This means that it is not helpful for teachers in identifying gaps in knowledge and skills, and therefore pupils do not achieve as well as they should. Leaders should ensure that all assessment aligns tightly to what pupils have been taught and is consistently well used by staff to address gaps in learning quickly. ? Not all leaders have the skills they need to oversee and quality assure their areas of responsibility effectively.

This means that leaders are overgenerous in their evaluations or not clear about what is needed to improve the provision. Senior leaders and governors should ensure that all leaders have the right training and support to oversee their areas and to continue to improve the school. ? Some teachers do not consistently apply the behaviour policy, both in and out of the classroom.

This means that some pupils do not behave as well as they should. Leaders should ensure that the school's behaviour policy is consistently applied so that the minority of pupils who presently do not behave well improve their behaviour. ? Some pupils do not attend school regularly enough.

Persistent absence remains high for some pupils. They are missing out on school life and learning. Leaders should implement effective strategies to support all pupils to attend school regularly.

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