|Ofsted Inspection Rating||Requires improvement|
|Inspection Date||24 September 2019|
|Address||East Avenue, Swinton, Mexborough, South Yorkshire, S64 8JW|
|Religious Character||Does Not Apply|
|Number of Pupils||860 (48% boys 52% girls)|
|Number of Pupils per Teacher||13.5|
|Academy Sponsor||Aston Community Education Trust|
|Percentage Free School Meals||15.8%|
|Percentage English is Not First Language||1.2%|
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils feel safe and well cared for. They told us that they have an adult in school whom they can turn to if they have any worries or concerns. Pupils feel that they can be themselves. They show respectful and tolerant attitudes towards others.
Pupils take pride in their school and want to do well. They look smart in their uniforms. They are punctual to school and lessons. Most pupils behave well. Misbehaviour is not tolerated by staff. Pupils told us that bullying does sometimes occur, but that staff deal with it quickly.
Pupils enjoy a wide range of activities that complement the academic curriculum. They are well prepared to take their place in society as responsible citizens. Pupils are enthusiastic about how they designed and built an award-winning eco greenhouse.
Most pupils enjoy school. Until recently, there had been many changes in teachers throughout the year. Staffing is now more stable.
The work that pupils complete in key stage 3 does not match the breadth of the national curriculum. This means that pupils are not prepared as well as they should be for their future learning.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders place high importance on getting pupils ready for life beyond school. Most pupils told inspectors that they are helped to make decisions about what to do when they leave school. Pupils learn about healthy relationships. They know the difference between right and wrong. They learn about different religions and cultures. They are well prepared for life in modern Britain.
Leaders have made improving pupils’ behaviour and attitudes towards learning a priority. Pupils’ conduct and attendance have improved. However, a small number of pupils are not engaged in their learning. Leaders are working with these pupils and their families to find ways to support them to improve their behaviour.
Leaders have begun to review aspects of the curriculum. They have developed new plans to show what pupils should learn in each subject area. Some topics are rushed in Years 7 and 8. Pupils either miss out on, or do not remember, important knowledge. Year 9 pupils could not remember what they had learned about the Holocaust in Year 8 because crucial bits of knowledge were not taught well. In Years 9 to 11, curriculum plans do not clearly set out the important subject content that pupils should learn and remember.
Year 9 pupils do not study a broad range of subjects comparable with the national curriculum. This is because pupils start their GCSEs in Year 9. Pupils do not experience subjects such as music, art and history unless they opt to study them.Leaders do not have plans in place to address this.
Teachers do not check well enough that pupils understand their learning before moving on to the next topic or activity. Leaders have not thought carefully enough about how pupils will revisit previous learning so that they remember more over time. In some subject areas, teachers do not help pupils to link their new learning with topics they have covered before. This was particularly the case in geography and history, where pupils do not achieve as well as they should. However, pupils achieve well in mathematics. In this subject, pupils have regular opportunities to revisit previous learning.
Teachers know what they need to do to support pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). These pupils’ needs are generally well met. However, a few parents and carers who responded to Ofsted’s survey, Parent View, do not feel that the school gives these pupils the support that they need.
Governors visit the school regularly. They have a range of expertise and undertake regular training. Governors regularly ask leaders challenging questions about pupils’ behaviour and attendance. In this way, they have checked that leaders are improving these areas of the school’s work. However, governors have not challenged leaders well enough to improve the quality of education.
Governors and leaders are considerate of the well-being of staff. Staff appreciate the range of initiatives introduced to reduce their workload.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Staff are aware of the risks that pupils face in the local community. They ensure that pupils are prepared to keep themselves safe. For example, pupils are aware of the activities of ‘county lines’ gangs. Staff are alert to the signs that may show that a pupil is at risk of being criminally exploited. Pupils also understand how to keep themselves safe online. They are aware of their ‘digital footprint’.
The school’s safeguarding leader ensures that pupils and their families get the help that they need to stay safe. She works effectively with outside agencies.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
In some subjects and year groups, important knowledge is not retained in pupils’ long-term memory. This prevents them from achieving as well as they should. Leaders should ensure that there are opportunities for pupils to revisit the most important subject content so that they can recall it over time. . Curriculum planning, particularly at key stage 4, is focused too much on preparingpupils for tests and examinations. In some subjects, such as history and English, crucial content is omitted. Leaders should ensure that curriculum plans precisely identify the substantive and disciplinary knowledge in each subject that pupils must learn and remember. . Teachers’ assessment is not sufficiently well focused on checking pupils’ understanding. Not enough priority is given to making sure that pupils have remembered small steps in their learning so that they can perform more complex tasks. Leaders should ensure that teachers’ assessment explores pupils’ knowledge and understanding, so that gaps and misconceptions can be swiftly addressed. . Leaders have not ensured that pupils study a broad curriculum in Year 9. Subject content is often rushed in Years 7 and 8. Leaders should ensure that pupils learn a broad curriculum across key stage 3 that at least matches the scope of the national curriculum. . While behaviour has improved markedly, a very few pupils do not comply with leaders’ expectations. Leaders should ensure that the school’s approach to managing behaviour enables all pupils to learn without interruption.