Smestow Academy

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About Smestow Academy

Name Smestow Academy
Ofsted Inspections
This inspection rating relates to a predecessor school. When a school converts to an academy, is taken over or closes and reopens as a new school a formal link is created between the new school and the old school, by the Department for Education. Where the new school has not yet been inspected, we show the inspection history of the predecessor school, as we believe it still has significance.
Mr Ian Chamberlain
Address Windmill Crescent, Wolverhampton, WV3 8HU
Phone Number 01902539500
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 654
Local Authority Wolverhampton
Highlights from Latest Inspection
This inspection rating relates to a predecessor school. When a school converts to an academy, is taken over or closes and reopens as a new school a formal link is created between the new school and the old school, by the Department for Education. Where the new school has not yet been inspected, we show the inspection history of the predecessor school, as we believe it still has significance.

What is it like to attend this school?

Leaders are not vigilant enough in ensuring that safeguarding records and actions are recorded and addressed promptly. This means that leaders are not always sure if pupils, especially those who are vulnerable, are safe when they are not in school.

Leaders have introduced a new culture for learning to help improve pupils' behaviour. Staff and pupils understand this, and many have embraced it. Pupils know how staff expect them to behave in lessons and around the school.

This is having a positive impact on the ethos of the school and behaviour in lessons. Many pupils told inspectors that school is a happier place. However, this is not so for pupils who struggle with attendance and behaviour.

Leaders' support for these pupils is yet to enable them to make the improvements they need. Too many pupils miss too much school.

Pupils are not concerned about bullying.

They are confident that when issues arise, staff will address them promptly. Most pupils told inspectors that discriminatory language is rare and that it is not tolerated by staff. They said that they feel safe in school and know who to talk to if they have any worries or concerns.

Relationships between staff and pupils are respectful, and staff feel supported and valued. However, a small number of pupils said that they did not have the confidence to report sexualised language that made them feel uncomfortable.

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

The school has been through an unsettling time, with many changes in leadership.

Many leaders are new in post this academic year. They have the energy, ideas and plans to help improve the school. Leaders consider the views, workload and well-being of staff.

As a result, all share a common purpose. Leaders know how they will build on work that is already underway, for instance around further developing the improved culture for learning. However, much of this work is at a very early stage.

Leaders have recently put many new systems in place, or these are planned for the near future. As a result, significant change is still needed to fulfil leaders' vision.

A significant number of pupils do not attend school regularly.

This means that they miss out on a considerable portion of their education. Leaders and those responsible for governance know this. Their work to reduce this has not had the required affect.

Leaders' current plans focus on improving the monitoring of attendance. The aim is to help leaders act more swiftly when a pupil's attendance begins to decline. These plans are sensible and considered, but leaders have lacked urgency in implementing them.

All pupils learn a broad range of subjects. The courses on offer in the sixth form provide students with the qualifications they need. In some subjects, such as science and history, leaders have constructed a well-sequenced curriculum.

In mathematics, leaders have responded to the pandemic by reviewing the order in which topics are taught. However, in some subjects, leaders have not considered how pupils will draw on and link their learning over time. They have placed too much emphasis on using the examination specification as a means of assessing pupils too early in their learning.

Consequently, in some subjects across all key stages, pupils are not building the essential knowledge they need.

Some teachers are overly reliant on the use of distinct tasks for different pupils when delivering the curriculum. They do not adapt their teaching to identify and address gaps in learning and respond flexibly so that pupils can learn well.

As a result, teachers sometimes 'plough on' delivering the curriculum instead of revisiting important key concepts when pupils are struggling.

Leaders share information with staff about pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). This identifies the specific strategies that will help pupils' learn well.

Some teachers use this information effectively in lessons. However, this is not universally so. This means that pupils do not always get the support to help them learn well.

Leaders have prioritised reading. They identify pupils who need additional help. Appropriately trained adults then deliver this.

Developing pupils' wider love of reading is at the forefront of leaders' minds. They have recently trained all teachers to help encourage reading and are developing the school library to further this cause. This is beginning to bear fruit as more pupils discover reading for pleasure.

Leaders' introduction of a new culture for learning has already had a positive impact on pupils' behaviour. Pupils and staff know clearly what is expected of them, and staff apply sanctions consistently. However, there are a small number of pupils who find managing their behaviour difficult.

Leaders' work to support these pupils has yet to have the demonstrable impact needed. As a result, too many pupils end up being repeatedly sanctioned and suspended.

Pupils learn the knowledge and skills for life beyond the school gates through the 'Building People' programme.

Leaders have planned this well to ensure that pupils learn about a wide range of issues. These range from consent to healthy eating to staying safe online. Pupils learn about tolerance, discrimination and toxic relationships.

Pupils' careers education is also delivered well through this programme. Pupils are supported to make positive choices about their futures, including students in the sixth form. Leaders provide pupils with a range of clubs and activities to help develop their talents and interests.


The arrangements for safeguarding are not effective.

Leaders do not keep safeguarding records for pupils, including those who are vulnerable, up to date. Any planned actions are not recorded consistently.

This impacts on leaders' ability to ensure that help and support are provided in a timely way. Leaders do not always know if all pupils registered at the school, including those who are vulnerable, are safe if they are not attending.

Staff understand the signs which could indicate that a pupil is at risk from harm.

They know the systems for reporting concerns and understand the need to report all concerns, no matter how small. They use these processes well. Pupils learn how to keep safe in the personal, social and health education curriculum and learn about the risks outside school.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Leaders are not taking the rigorous action needed to ensure that pupils identified at risk of harm are kept safe. They have not ensured that safeguarding systems are effective and that written records are secure and up to date. As a result, leaders do not always know if all pupils registered at the school are safe and well.

Leaders should ensure that accurate records are kept in relation to the safeguarding of pupils and that any actions identified are completed swiftly. ? Leaders have not ensured that all teachers have the skills and knowledge to carefully adapt their subject teaching to meet the needs of all pupils, including those with SEND. As a result, in some subjects, teachers do not readily identify pupils who do not have the prior knowledge that they need to fully understand new ideas and concepts.

This means that some pupils find it difficult to learn the intended curriculum. Leaders should ensure that all teachers know how to modify their teaching effectively and use information about pupils' specific learning needs consistently well. ? Too many pupils do not attend school often enough.

As a result, they miss out on a substantial proportion of their learning. This makes it harder for them to make progress. Leaders should ensure that their detailed plans for tracking, intervening, promoting and celebrating attendance are implemented fully so that the number of pupils that are persistently absent falls.

• Leaders have not ensured that the small number of pupils who struggle to manage their behaviour are getting effective help to improve. As a result, too many of these pupils end up being suspended and hence miss out on their learning. Leaders should ensure that the new systems for monitoring behaviour, and subsequent support for pupils, meet their needs and help them to improve.

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