St Aidan’s Church of England High School

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About St Aidan’s Church of England High School

Name St Aidan’s Church of England High School
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Sian Dover
Address Oatlands Drive, Harrogate, HG2 8JR
Phone Number 01423885814
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Church of England
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 2003
Local Authority North Yorkshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are rightly proud of this welcoming and friendly school. They are well supported by caring staff.

This is a close-knit community built on warm relationships. The school's Christian ethos threads through all aspects of the school's work. This is a happy school with a positive and nurturing environment where pupils flourish.

Leaders have ensured that there is an ambitious curriculum in place. Pupils enjoy their lessons and value teachers' knowledge and enthusiasm for their subject. Leaders have established clear routines that result in calm lessons.

This enables pupils to focus on their work. They are keen to succeed.

Pupils feel safe and happy....

They enjoy both their lessons and socialising with their friends at break- and lunchtimes. Pupils demonstrate high levels of respect towards adults and each other. Poor behaviour is rare.

Bullying is not tolerated.

Pupils benefit from a diverse and wide range of extra-curricular activities. Trips, exchanges and community activities enable pupils to broaden their horizons.

Students in the sixth form are valued role models for younger pupils. Some students have leadership responsibilities through the student senate. They speak eloquently of how the school has helped to prepare them for their next steps.

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

Leaders have developed a curriculum that is ambitious for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). The important knowledge that leaders want pupils to know and remember is clearly identified. Subject leaders have considered carefully the order in which different topics are taught, so that they build on what pupils have learned before.

In the majority of subjects, there are regular opportunities for pupils to revisit previous learning. Where this happens consistently, pupils can more easily make connections between topics and recall what they have learned before.

Teachers have strong subject knowledge.

They bring their subject to life for pupils with the clarity of their explanations and richness of examples. Pupils are captivated in lessons and are keen to answer the questions that teachers ask. This includes in the sixth form, where students demonstrate a real love of learning.

There is a whole-school focus on developing pupils' knowledge and use of subject-specific vocabulary. Teachers skilfully promote these words. Pupils are increasingly confident in using them.

Pupils who are at the earliest stages of learning to read are quickly identified when they start school. Trained adults ensure that these pupils receive the help that they need to quickly learn to read with confidence.

Pupils with SEND are well supported in lessons.

Documentation, including support plans, has clear information about how to meet the needs of these pupils. As a result, teachers and teaching assistants ensure that these pupils are able to access the curriculum alongside their peers. A few pupils with SEND receive a highly personalised curriculum within the learning support department.

Leaders carefully identify the best courses for these pupils. Regular assessment ensures that these pupils make progress towards ambitious next steps. All pupils in the school, particularly those with SEND, benefit from the strong pastoral support that is available.

Pupils are polite and courteous. They listen attentively to teachers and other adults. Pupils are keen to do well and respond promptly to instructions.

There are clear, well-embedded routines. On the rare occasions that pupils' behaviour or conduct falls short of the high expectations held across the school, leaders follow up quickly with individuals. There are very few occasions when a pupil repeatedly misbehaves.

Pupils benefit from the wider opportunities that the school offers. Pupils, including students in the sixth form, speak with maturity about a range of issues. Some students have worked with school leaders to develop the wider culture of the school.

The cross-community partnership between staff and pupils is evident. The personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education curriculum is delivered through a programme of tutorials, assemblies and other subjects. Although pupils consistently demonstrate high levels of respect towards others, some older pupils do not have sufficiently strong knowledge of different religions and non-faith world views.

This is because there are not consistently planned opportunities for pupils to regularly revisit this aspect of the curriculum.

All pupils and students receive timely information and support about careers. The school meets the requirements of the Baker Clause, which requires schools to provide pupils in Years 8 to 13 with information about approved technical education qualifications and apprenticeships.

Many students go on to university.

Leaders, including those responsible for governance, have acted swiftly to address the concerns raised at the previous inspection. Leadership has been strengthened with new appointments, supplemented by training and support from external partners.

Governors routinely challenge and support leaders to ensure that the right decisions are taken at the right time. Leaders are careful to consider the well-being and workload of their staff. Teachers, including those who are new to teaching, value the support that they receive from leaders.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

There are robust systems in place for safeguarding. All staff receive high-quality training, with regular updates on important safeguarding messages.

Leaders check that all staff have the knowledge that they need to keep pupils safe. Staff know the signs that suggest a pupil may be at risk of harm. Adults promptly report any concerns they have.

Leaders take swift action to ensure that pupils are safe. Where necessary, leaders refer concerns to appropriate external agencies.

Pupils, including sixth-form students, feel safe at school.

They learn about the different risks they may face both when online and in the wider community. They know how to report concerns and are confident that these would be acted on by staff.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In a few subjects, there are not consistently planned opportunities for pupils to regularly return to important knowledge.

This includes in PSHE education. As a result, pupils' knowledge and recall fade over time. Leaders should ensure that there are regular opportunities in all subjects for pupils to revisit important knowledge, so that this is secured in their long-term memory.

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