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The curriculum at Shiphay Learning Academy is typically broad and ambitious. However, leaders have not made sure that it meets the needs of all pupils well enough. They have not ensured that pupils build up knowledge over time in some subjects.
Too many pupils, including some with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), do not achieve as well as they could.
Most pupils say they like their school. They say that staff sort out incidents of poor behaviour and occasional bullying.
However, a few pupils feel that staff do not respond swiftly enough to help them to feel safe. A small proportion of parents also share these views. Staff do not use the s...chool's behaviour system consistently.
This results in behaviour which does not meet leaders' expectations. Leaders know that too many pupils do not attend school often enough, especially pupils with SEND and disadvantaged pupils. This hampers their learning.
Pupils develop their confidence and resilience through a varied set of valuable experiences, such as performing plays, attending forest school and participating in poetry events. However, other important aspects of pupils' personal development are not well considered in the curriculum design.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders' actions to improve standards have been delayed, partly due to staffing changes and the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, current monitoring activities do not provide leaders, including trustees, with precise and accurate information about standards at the school. Leaders' evaluations are overgenerous. Consequently, trust leaders lack the information they need to hold staff to account to secure sustained improvement.
In some subjects, leaders have identified the important knowledge they want pupils to know. For example, leaders have made changes to improve the mathematics curriculum after a decline in standards. However, teachers have not planned carefully the small steps required to build pupils' knowledge each year.
This means that pupils remember the activity rather than the knowledge and skills. Too often, including in mathematics and reading, staff do not support pupils with SEND well enough to learn the curriculum.
Leaders have implemented a new reading curriculum to help pupils learn to read.
In the early years, children read books that are matched to their ability as soon as they start school. The early years staff have prioritised developing children's communication and language so that they grow their vocabulary ready for Year 1. However, the reading curriculum in key stage 1 is not supporting some pupils who are at the early stages of reading and writing.
Staff do not deliver the school's reading programme consistently and confidently. They lack the expertise they need to teach reading. Sometimes, they give books to pupils to read that are too easy or too difficult.
Pupils who have fallen behind do not receive the help they need to read fluently, spell accurately or form letters carefully. In key stage 2, staff do not ensure that pupils, who remain at the early stages of reading, read books that inspire them. Some staff do not promote the importance of reading as well as they could.
In some subjects, such as history and music, leaders have not considered how best to identify gaps in pupils' knowledge and skills. Teachers do not make suitable checks on what pupils know and understand. Pupils enjoy their learning in subjects, such as art and design, but they do not remember key knowledge consistently well.
Similarly, staff in the early years have not given sufficient thought to checking some aspects of pupils' development.
Staff identify the pastoral and health needs of pupils with SEND swiftly and work effectively with other professionals. However, pupils' support plans do not contain the precise information that teachers need to adapt the curriculum.
Teachers do not break learning down into the small steps that are sometimes required. These pupils find the curriculum too difficult and do not receive the help they need. Some pupils switch off and, occasionally, disturb the learning of their peers.
Consequently, they fall further behind.
Leaders inspire pupils to participate in the arts. Pupils learn to play instruments, sing and dance.
Leaders ensure that there is a 'sport for everyone'. This can be a popular sport, such as football, or an alternative such as archery. However, leaders do not prepare all pupils well enough for life in modern Britain.
Leaders are not aware that some pupils have a weak understanding of healthy relationships and have gaps in their knowledge of equality and diversity.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders have appropriate systems in place for vetting, checking and training new members of staff and volunteers in child protection.
Staff use suitable systems to identify and manage concerns. Leaders make timely referrals and safeguarding leaders work well with a range of partners to help pupils and their families. Leaders have a secure understanding of pupils' vulnerabilities.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Leaders have not prioritised the reading curriculum well enough. Too many pupils do not enjoy reading as much as they could. In part, this is because older pupils do not read books that interest them.
Leaders must ensure that teachers help pupils to choose suitable books, consider pupils' reading interests and adapt the curriculum accordingly. The intent of the school's phonics programme is appropriate, but the implementation in key stage 1 is inconsistent. Some staff have not had the training they need to use the reading programme.
They lack the subject knowledge and pedagogical understanding that they need to adapt the scheme to meet the needs of the weakest readers, including pupils with SEND. Leaders must ensure that all staff have the training and support that they need to teach reading well. ? The curriculum does not meet the needs of some pupils with SEND.
Pupils' individual support plans do not help teachers to make suitable adaptations to the curriculum. Some pupils do not receive the support they need to tackle difficult activities, so their behaviour deteriorates. Leaders must ensure that the information in pupils' support plans is sufficiently detailed, and that teachers use this information to plan a curriculum that meets pupils' precise needs.
• Leaders' approach to assessment in some subjects is inconsistent. Teachers do not make timely checks on what pupils have learned in some subjects. This means that teachers do not know precisely what knowledge and skills pupils have remembered.
Leaders need to ensure teachers improve their use of assessment to accurately identify gaps in pupils' understanding. ? Leaders need to ensure that all pupils come to school regularly. The rate of persistent absence is too high, especially for pupils with SEND and disadvantaged pupils.
They miss too much of the curriculum and this slows their learning. Leaders need to establish more robust systems to improve pupils' attendance quickly. ? Staff do not apply the school's behaviour policy consistently.
Staff use a variety of strategies and have different expectations. Some pupils are confused about what constitutes acceptable behaviour. Occasionally, this results in pupils disrupting the learning of their peers.