The Commonweal School

Name The Commonweal School
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Address The Mall, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4JE
Phone Number 01793612727
Type Academy
Age Range 11-19
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1386 (49.3% boys 50.7% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 16.6
Academy Sponsor The Commonweal School
Local Authority Swindon
Percentage Free School Meals 12.3%
Percentage English is Not First Language 13.8%
Persisitent Absence 13.7%
Pupils with SEN Support 8.2%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes
Last Distance Offered Information Available No
Highlights from Latest Full Inspection
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Information about this school

A new headteacher was appointed for September 2017. He was previously the deputy headteacher at the school. The school opened a sixth form in September 2014 in a purpose built sixth-form centre on the school site. The school is larger than the average-sized secondary school. The school has two specialist centres for pupils who have SEN and/or disabilities. Both are managed by the governing body. One is for pupils who have physical disabilities and the other is for pupils who have specific learning difficulties. The proportion of pupils who are supported through pupil premium funding is below average. The school is part of the ‘Swindon challenge’ project which supports schools in the local area. The majority of pupils are of White British heritage; however, a significant proportion of pupils are from other ethnic groups. The proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional language is above average. A small number of students attend off-site vocational training provision at New College. A very small number of pupils who experience behavioural and/or emotional difficulties attend alternative provision at either the Riverside Centre or the Oakfield Project. The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which are the minimum expectations for pupils’ attainment and progress by the end of Year 11. The school meets the government’s minimum standards for sixth-form students’ progress. The school meets requirements on the publication of specified information on its website. The school complies with Department for Education guidance on what academies should publish.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school The new headteacher has refocused senior leaders on the quality of teaching. He has raised teachers’ expectations but retained the inclusive ethos of the school. Senior leaders’ roles have been reorganised so their responsibilities closely link to the school’s development priorities. This is leading to improvement in teaching, learning and assessment. The progress of pupils currently in Years 7 to 11 is significantly better than the progress of pupils who left the school last year. Current pupils are making good progress in GCSE English and mathematics. Pupils’ progress in GCSE French, history and geography has been consistently strong over the last three years. Teaching is generally well planned and so is helping pupils to gain knowledge and understanding quicker than in the past. Teachers do not have enough opportunities, however, to share ideas and this limits the pace of improvement. Teachers know the pupils well and in the majority of subjects they provide activities which are appropriately challenging. However, this is not consistent in science and so pupils, particularly the most able, make less progress in this subject. Pupils who have special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities are supported well. The two specialist centres in the school are well led. They enable pupils who have physical disabilities and pupils who have specific learning difficulties to make good progress. Disadvantaged pupils who left the school in 2017 did not make enough progress. Pupils currently in the school, and especially in key stage 3, are making better progress. Senior leaders acknowledge that more needs to be done to improve the progress of this group. Pupils’ attitudes are characterised by care, tolerance and respect. Pupils’ conduct in lessons and around the school is good. They accept each other readily, and this contributes to the highly inclusive atmosphere. Attendance is in line with the average, but, a small proportion of pupils still find it difficult to attend school regularly. Since the previous inspection, the school has successfully established a new sixth form, known as ‘C6’. Students are very complimentary about their experience of sixth- form life.