The Burton Academy


Name The Burton Academy
Website http://www.catch-22.org.uk/services/the-burton-academy
Ofsted Inspection Rating Requires improvement
Inspection Date 11 February 2020
Address South Parks Road, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 8JE
Phone Number 01803326330
Type Pupil Referral Unit
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 51 (78% boys 22% girls)
Local Authority Torbay
Percentage Free School Meals 41.2%
Percentage English is Not First Language 0%
Persisitent Absence 81.3%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

What is it like to attend this school?

The school’s curriculum does not enable pupils to fully develop their mathematical knowledge. Curriculum plans are not demanding enough and do not build on pupils’ prior learning. In key stage 3, pupils’ gaps extend to English and science. Pupils do not learn what they should in these subjects.

Pupils enjoy coming to school and are proud to say they belong. They respect staff and show care for their environment. One pupil, whose view reflected those of many, told inspectors, ‘the adults here get you.’ This reflects the warm, caring relationships between staff and pupils. Pupils feel safe. They know that adults will listen if they have any concerns. Pupils said that bullying does not happen.

Pupils state that they attend school more than they did at previous settings. Despite this, some pupils’ attendance remains too low.

Staff have high expectations of conduct. Pupils engage with learning and behave well. However, where curriculum plans lack ambition, pupils lose interest.

Parents and carers are positive about the school. They can see the difference the school has made to their children. One parent told inspectors, ‘The pupils are lucky to have [the staff] in their lives.’

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

The headteacher has a clear vision for the school. This places pupils’ personal development at the heart of the school’s work. Leaders have identified key qualities that form the foundation for this work. Staff demonstrate these qualities in all they do and remind pupils of these when celebrating success or challenging behaviour. Leaders incorporate these values into their curriculum plans. As a result, pupils understand the importance of developing their lives as good and effective citizens.

In key stage 3, leaders deliver the curriculum through a themed approach. The use of themes is effective in engaging pupils in learning and supporting pupils’ personal development. The teaching of English and science takes place through these themes. For example, using the theme of rollercoasters, pupils learn about motion and forces in physics. However, leaders have not made sure that curriculum plans provide pupils with the full breadth of knowledge needed in these subjects. As a result, pupils are ill prepared for the next stage of their learning. In key stage 4, curriculum plans for these subjects are more precise and build on pupils’ prior learning.

In mathematics, curriculum plans are not ambitious enough and do not build on what pupils know already. Leaders have not given enough thought to how the curriculum will support pupils’ progress, and staff lack the knowledge to bring these plans to life. Pupils experience disconnected activities and staff do not encouragethem to try more challenging work. This restricts how well pupils build knowledge and develop their mathematical understanding.

The wider curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to develop an understanding of the world in which they live. Leaders identify the additional needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) effectively. Pupils are clear about the need to treat everyone with respect. Staff encourage pupils to read. A book exchange programme operates in the school.

The school’s careers programme prepares pupils for their next steps well. Pupils have opportunities to meet employers and training providers. Most pupils move on to college or apprenticeships. They have chosen courses or jobs that suit their interests and skills. Leavers who struggle to find a suitable placement receive ongoing support.

Staff are proud to work at the school. They support the headteacher’s vision. Staff appreciate the consideration leaders give to their well-being. They describe themselves as a close-knit, supportive team.

Governance of the school is going through a period of change. Until recently, Burton shared a governing body with another local school. Now, the school has its own governing body. The new chair of governors has a wealth of experience in governance. A governor, experienced in safeguarding, has joined the new governing body. The multi-academy trust (MAT) has supported leaders in defining the skills they want new governors to have.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

There is a well-established safeguarding culture in the school. Systems are in place to support pupils, so they are safe in school. Leaders have a clear understanding of pupils’ potential vulnerabilities. They take their responsibility to keep pupils safe seriously. Training ensures that staff remain constantly alert to possible risks faced by pupils. Staff record and pass on concerns to leaders, who take swift action.

Leaders are aware of local issues of which pupils need to be aware. The curriculum includes lessons about safety, so pupils know about risks when online and about threats such as gangs and county lines.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

The key stage 3 curriculum does not develop pupils’ English and science knowledge well enough. Leaders have not made sure that plans provide pupils with their full curriculum entitlement. Pupils do not acquire knowledge as well as they could in these subjects. Leaders must make sure that curriculum planssupport pupils’ progress across the curriculum, so they are better prepared for the next stage of their education. . The mathematics curriculum lacks organisation and ambition. Pupils do not build on what they know already. Pupils do not make the progress of which they are capable. Leaders must ensure that there is a coherently planned and sequenced curriculum in place, so pupils know more and remember more. . Pupils’ attendance improves when they join the school compared with their attendance at previous schools. However, attendance remains low for many pupils. Leaders must strive to improve pupils’ attendance.