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Most pupils enjoy learning at Stratton Upper School. They say teachers want to help them do their best. However, the work pupils complete is not always challenging enough, or checked carefully enough by all their teachers.
As a result, pupils do not always complete work of as high a standard as they could.
Pupils' behaviour is improving. More of them are starting to understand and showcase the school's values of respect, responsibility and pride.
Pupils know that where any incidences of bullying occur, staff will try to help. However, some pupils still cause disruption. Other pupils worry about the discriminatory language those pupils use.
Because re...porting these behaviours does not always result in them being stopped, some pupils are reluctant to report their worries. This is not the case for students in the sixth form where tolerance and respect are the norm.
Pupils get to experience a wide range of extra-curricular clubs.
As well as a partnership with a professional football club, pupils have opportunities to develop their talents and interests in areas such as choir, photography and art. This all links into the school's 'PLEDGES programme' that recognises and celebrates pupils' wider achievements.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Trust leaders have worked with school leaders to develop coherent curriculum plans.
Where these plans are in place, such as in economics and in subjects in the sixth form, they generally work well. However, senior leaders have not ensured that these plans are taught consistently well. As a result, the quality of pupils' education is inconsistent.
Teachers do not always use assessment well enough. Pupils sometimes lack an understanding of the building blocks of knowledge that underpin complex ideas. Teachers do not always check this carefully and so can move ahead with teaching the more complex content too soon.
They sometimes give instructions and explanations that do not help pupils, because pupils need to understand the topic at a more basic level first. For example, in Year 9, pupils learn about metaphor, but what they are taught does not build on the work they have done in the past, so they are unable to apply the concept of metaphor to poetry well. At other times, teachers provide activities that pupils find too easy.
As a result, pupils become frustrated and some pupils' behaviour becomes passive or disruptive.
Leaders have ensured that the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are identified and supported. Leaders regularly review provision to ensure that it is fit for purpose.
Where pupils are achieving well, leaders set more challenging targets. Where pupils need extra support, this is provided. Effective help is also given to pupils who need further support with their reading.
These pupils are proud of what they have learned to read. Learning to read has helped them to grow in confidence too.
Although behaviour is generally calm and orderly, there are pockets of pupils who still disrupt learning, or who use discriminatory language.
Leaders' logs of discriminatory behaviour do not capture everything that may be happening. This is because some pupils lack the confidence to report what they hear, or feel that it will not make enough difference to be worthwhile. Leaders recognise the current programme of personal, social and health education (PSHE) does not address these issues strongly enough.
Leaders are taking steps to address this.
Some aspects of the school's personal development programme work well. In addition to the wide range of extra-curricular activities, pupils appreciate the services that support their well-being, such as access to counselling.
Careers education meets the requirements of the Baker Clause, in how it supports pupils to be prepared for their next steps in education, training or the workplace.
Provision in the sixth form is stronger than the rest of the school. This is because staff have stronger subject knowledge, give clear explanations and check carefully what pupils know.
Tolerance in the sixth form is the norm and students are accepting of difference.
Governance has been completely re-shaped by the trust to ensure that governors have an appropriate skillset to be able to provide challenge and support. The positive work of the trust has resulted in notable improvements in areas such as finance and human resources.
Although educational plans for improvement are in place, these are at different stages of development. As a result, leaders' vision for a high-quality education is not fully realised in practice.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders ensure that thorough safeguarding procedures are in place. A range of suitable checks are undertaken to ensure that adults in school are safe to work with pupils.
Appropriate training is in place for staff.
Staff know how to identify and report concerns. Clear records are kept of any concerns raised and leaders work effectively with external agencies to secure support for vulnerable pupils.
Pupils know how to report concerns about their safety and understand who to seek help from.
There are 'safe space' groups, such as the 'LGBQT+ club' where pupils feel more confident to share worries.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• The curriculum is not always taught consistently well. Some teachers do not choose or adapt appropriate activities.
As a result, some teachers plan lessons that do not build on what pupils know or need to know. Leaders must support teachers to plan and adapt learning that takes account of, and builds on, what pupils already know. ? Leaders have not established a fully inclusive culture across all year groups.
As a result, some pupils engage in discriminatory behaviour. This makes other pupils feel uncomfortable and some are reluctant to share their worries and concerns fully. Leaders need to ensure that appropriate provision is put in place to ensure that tolerance and respect for difference becomes the norm across the school and that all pupils feel comfortable to report their concerns.
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