St Wilfrid’s Academy, Doncaster

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About St Wilfrid’s Academy, Doncaster

Name St Wilfrid’s Academy, Doncaster
Ofsted Inspections
Head of Academy Mr Dirk Pittard
Address St Wilfrid’s Road, Doncaster, DN4 6AH
Phone Number 01302562540
Phase Academy
Type Free schools alternative provision
Age Range 5-19
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Local Authority Doncaster
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Everyone is rightly proud of their school.

For all pupils, the school is a second chance. They feel safe, valued and respected. As one pupil said, 'The school fully gets you.'

Leaders have got high expectations of every pupil. It does not matter to leaders why pupils have been placed in the school. All that matters to them is making sure that pupils get the best possible education while they are there.

Leaders have put together a curriculum that is designed to support pupils in doing well.

Pupils behave well for the very large majority of time. This has not happened by accident.

It has come about because pupils follow a curriculum... which is suited to their needs. They have lots of support around them from adults who have the skills to help. Staff speak calmly and respectfully to pupils.

Because this is modelled well by staff, pupils' speech and behaviour towards staff and one another is usually good. Pupils do not think that bullying is a problem. They say that staff are very good at sorting it out if it starts to happen.

This is not a one-size-fits-all school. Leaders go the extra mile to make sure that pupils get the education and support they need, whatever that is.

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

Leaders have thought very carefully about the curriculum they provide for pupils.

They have had to. This is because the school caters for pupils who arrive at different times, stay for different lengths of time and are from numerous 'mainstream' schools. This means that leaders cannot be sure what the pupils have learned before.

Often, their education has been disrupted by low attendance and high exclusion. Yet leaders have made sure that the curriculum overcomes such challenges. Teachers know their subject material.

Leaders have put a big focus on reading. For example, they have invested in a reading scheme to help pupils enjoy reading. They have created an attractive, well-stocked library.

Pupils use computer reading programmes to help them. These approaches are helping pupils improve their reading. Very occasionally, the materials pupils are reading are not quite as well matched to their reading ability as they could be.

Leaders have already identified this as an area for further training.

Pupils behave well. Inspectors saw very little behaviour that was not good.

The staff who made their views known to inspectors reported that behaviour is good the very large majority of the time. Staff work tirelessly to keep pupils focused on what they are doing, to get them back on track. Pupils told inspectors that they value 'The Wellbeing Room' and the support of the 'Pupil Learning Advocates' in helping them to manage their behaviour.

As a result, compared with when at their mainstream schools, the use of exclusion has fallen markedly. Leaders have been effective in improving the attendance of pupils as well. However, for those pupils who attend the school for longer periods of time, this could improve further.

There is an impressive range of opportunities to support pupils in their personal development. Leaders have put in place an 'enrichment' curriculum. This includes visits to theatres, art galleries, restaurants and an overnight residential stay.

Pupils' needs are also met in other ways, such as art therapy and animal therapy. Leaders have set up links with the Royal Horticultural Society to give pupils opportunities to learn through gardening. Leaders work closely with a local university to provide high-quality careers advice and guidance.

Pupils' understanding of the world outside school is well supported by the personal development curriculum. Pupils understand, for instance, the risks of the internet and its connection with terrorism.

All pupils have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Staff are effective in meeting pupils' needs. This has supported pupils making successful moves back to their mainstream schools or other schools. It has helped them move on to worthwhile training/education courses at the end of Year 11.

The school is very well led. Leaders believe that their pupils are entitled to a good education. They believe that their pupils are worth the effort.

Leaders do not settle for the second-rate. The things that leaders have put in place are for the benefit of the pupils, not the school. The trust has provided important support.

Governors are equally determined that pupils will get the best deal out of their time at the school.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders make sure that they carry out the necessary checks on adults who work in the school.

They record any safeguarding concerns carefully. They put the necessary help in place for any pupils who need it. Leaders work closely with other professionals as part of keeping their pupils safe.

Leaders also make careful checks on the safeguarding arrangements at the various providers of alternative education who they work with. Members of staff make frequent visits to these alternative providers to keep an eye on how pupils are doing and to make sure that they are safe.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

So that the right support can be put in place, leaders are diligent in assessing the gaps in knowledge of all pupils, regardless of the anticipated length of the placement.

They use several assessment tools to establish this picture. However, there is a risk that the precise phonics needs of pupils are lost somewhere in the wealth of information generated by the assessments. This applies to primary and secondary phase pupils.

As a result, although pupils are supported in discovering an enjoyment of reading, where phonics intervention is required, the matching of activities and books to phonics needs is not as sharp as it needs to be. Leaders should ensure that the intended phonics training and purchasing of phonics- scheme materials are completed as a priority. .

Leaders have done much to improve the attendance of pupils, especially those who stay in the school for an extended period. While attendance for these pupils has improved, it is still generally at the national figure for persistent absence. Leaders should continue to focus on further improving pupils' attendance.

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