The City Academy, Hackney

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About The City Academy, Hackney

Name The City Academy, Hackney
Ofsted Inspections
Principal Ms Anna Sarchet
Address Homerton Row, Hackney, London, E9 6EA
Phone Number 02085255440
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 11-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1138
Local Authority Hackney
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils at The City Academy, Hackney are kept safe. Leaders and staff promote a 'warm but strict' approach that creates a calm and purposeful learning environment.

Behaviour is typically calm and orderly, and leaders have high expectations of behaviour, both inside and outside the classroom. Incidents of bullying are rare. However, pupils know whom to tell when it does occur, and leaders deal with it quickly and effectively.

Leaders have developed an ambitious curriculum with clearly defined goals for what pupils should learn and remember. Through the curriculum, pupils also learn to understand, appreciate and respect differences. For example, in English, the texts cho...sen help pupils to learn about and reflect on the experiences of others.

All pupils follow a broad curriculum and achieve well, especially in the sixth form.

Leaders provide pupils with a wide range of enrichment opportunities through a compulsory additional studies programme and extended school days. For example, in Year 7, all pupils learn a musical instrument of their choice, and in Year 12, all students take part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme.

Students in the sixth form play an active role in the school and wider community. They are given leadership opportunities and work with younger pupils through mentoring roles and in-class support.

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

Leaders have developed a broad and balanced curriculum called 'The City Experience'.

This curriculum places equal value on academic, creative, sporting and language subjects, as well as supporting pupils' personal development. Subject leaders have thought carefully about how best to sequence the knowledge that pupils need to learn. This sequencing has been designed so that pupils embed their knowledge before moving on to more complex ideas.

Teachers present subject matter with precision and follow clear structures and routines. They demonstrate excellent subject knowledge. Teachers use this to deepen pupils' learning effectively, particularly when delivering the curriculum in the sixth form.

Teachers also use assessment to check understanding regularly. In the sixth form, the use of assessment is especially helpful in checking that students are learning and remembering the intended curriculum. For example, in Year 13 art, students are provided with high-quality models and rubrics to help them to understand important learning and to articulate and justify their next steps.

This contributes to students' excellent progress through the curriculum.

Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) follow a broad curriculum. In specific nurture classes, pupils with SEND receive high-quality support from expert teachers and assistants.

These pupils also benefit from the school's 'SEND-first' approach, which focuses on careful planning, questioning and regular assessment. However, in some instances, teaching does not incorporate this approach fully in Years 7 to 11. This means that, at times, support and adaptations for pupils with SEND are not fine-tuned to pupils' individual and specific needs.

In the instances where this occurs, it affects how well pupils learn.

Leaders support those at an early stage of reading through one-to-one phonics sessions. Other pupils receive support through the school's additional studies programme.

However, this work is not fully embedded. Thus, although pupils are receiving support to catch up in reading, it is sometimes not well targeted to pupils' needs.

Leaders have high expectations of behaviour, and lessons are rarely disrupted.

When low-level disruption occurs, teachers implement the school's behaviour policy to deal with it swiftly. While fixed-term suspensions are high, they are used appropriately. Leaders have taken steps to reduce the number of suspensions, for example by providing training for behaviour mentors and allocating additional staff to the school's reflection room.

The school's curriculum for personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education is well sequenced. Pupils explore a wide range of topics through tutor time, PSHE education lessons and assemblies. Most pupils remember the content in detail.

For example, younger pupils can confidently discuss healthy eating, mental health and staying safe when online. Leaders ensure that pupils are exposed to various careers through the PSHE education programme. This is particularly strong in the sixth form.

As a result, students feel knowledgeable and supported in making decisions about their future destinations.

Leaders prioritise pupils' personal development through an additional studies programme and extended school day. Pupils can participate in a wide range of sports teams and clubs, including modelling club, chess club and knitting club.

Sixth-form students access a particularly rich set of opportunities. For example, students receive professional tutoring from external mentors. They also take part in a weekly university support programme and have access to their own bespoke programme of enrichment activities.

Leaders are highly reflective. They understand the school's strengths and areas for improvement. Staff feel well supported and think that the school is well led.

A small minority of staff feel that workload is an issue. Leaders are currently looking to strengthen the way in which staff are supported to manage their workload through a review of the marking and assessment policies.

Governors understand the school's work and use their knowledge to provide appropriate challenge.

Leaders and governors are taking active steps to make sure that all parents and carers feel informed and included in the work of the school.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders and governors ensure that there is a strong culture of safeguarding.

The safeguarding team is appropriately trained and works with local agencies to ensure that pupils receive the support that they need.

Leaders conduct regular training for staff to make sure that they are knowledgeable about safeguarding issues, including those more prevalent locally. As a result, staff know what to look for to keep pupils safe and how to report their concerns.

The school's curriculum ensures that pupils learn how to keep themselves safe, including when online. Pupils know whom to speak to if they are worried, and they feel safe in school.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• At times, the support provided to some pupils with SEND is not tailored closely to their individual needs.

When this happens, it reduces how well pupils are helped to learn the intended curriculum. Leaders should ensure that all staff have the knowledge, skills and expertise to support pupils with SEND appropriately. They should focus on ensuring that all pupils with SEND build their knowledge and skills across the curriculum.

• Leaders' work to support weaker readers to catch up is not fully established. Some support for weaker readers is not sufficiently focused on helping pupils to overcome their specific difficulties, which in turn affects how confidently these pupils access reading materials across the curriculum. Leaders need to ensure that they establish and embed a thorough approach to assessing and supporting pupils with their reading, so that pupils who require support can learn to read well and access the full curriculum.

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