The Featherstone Academy

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About The Featherstone Academy

Name The Featherstone Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Executive Head Teacher Ms Diana Townshend
Address Pontefract Road, Pontefract, WF7 5AJ
Phone Number 01977722805
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 485
Local Authority Wakefield
Highlights from Latest Inspection


The Featherstone Academy continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Staff understand the community that they serve.

Leaders use this knowledge to plan a curriculum that develops pupils as individuals as well as enabling their academic success. Staff share leaders' vision. Everyone is pulling in the same direction for pupils at The Featherstone Academy.

Pupils are supported to become resilient learners. They enthuse about their 'Applied Resilience' programme. Younger pupils get the freedom to learn new skills and try new things.

For example, some pupils choose to learn Latin, some develop their sports leadership skills, and others deepen ...their understanding of engineering. Pupils value this dedicated time to develop their personal interests. As one pupil put it, 'it gives us diversity of learning'.

This work builds their confidence and supports their learning across the curriculum.

Pupils feel safe. They know that the door is open if they want to talk to pastoral staff about any issues.

Year 7 pupils feel well supported to settle into the school. Leaders swiftly clamp down on any bullying that occurs.

Leaders set a high bar for what they expect of pupils.

Lessons are generally calm and orderly. Pupils say that behaviour has improved over time. However, some pupils told inspectors that occasionally behaviour can disrupt learning in some subjects.

A small minority of pupils find it difficult to consistently reach the school's high behaviour expectations.

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

Academic subjects are at the heart of the school's curriculum. The vast majority of Year 10 pupils continue to study GCSEs in the English Baccalaureate subjects such as history, geography and modern foreign languages.

Pupils have opportunities to study other subjects such as childcare and performing arts. Until recently, some important subjects such as music and computing were not taught. The new principal has acted swiftly to address this.

Leaders have purchased new equipment. Staff are being recruited. With the support of the trust, pupils in Years 7 and 8 have begun to study these subjects.

Leaders know that continuing to develop music and computing is important work moving forward.

The school's curriculum is well designed. Leaders have set out the subject knowledge that they want pupils to learn and a logical order in which it should be taught.

This allows pupils to build their knowledge and deepen their understanding over time. For example, in history, pupils develop their understanding of important historical concepts from one year to the next. By the end of Year 11, pupils have a deep understanding of concepts such as power and Parliament.

The curriculum is for everyone. Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are well supported. They access the same curriculum as everyone else.

Trustees have a sharp focus on this group of pupils. So do leaders. They ensure that the curriculum supports pupils with SEND to make effective progress.

This includes pupils with education, health and care (EHC) plans.

Teachers know their subjects well. They frequently check what pupils know from previous lessons and previous years so that they can be sure that pupils are learning the curriculum.

Pupils value this. It helps them to remember important knowledge. Subject leaders use assessment information intelligently to further develop the curriculum.

For example, leaders have used Year 11 assessments to identify which topics pupils find difficult. Leaders have strengthened the key stage 3 curriculum in these topics to ensure pupils have firmer foundations for key stage 4.

Reading is an important part of school life.

Leaders have responded immediately to the increased numbers of pupils who have arrived in Year 7 with gaps in their reading knowledge. There are regular opportunities to read with adults. Pupils who need to catch up are helped by trained staff.

Teachers apply the behaviour system consistently. Pupils generally behave well. Inspectors saw lessons that were orderly.

However, some pupils told inspectors that there are occasions where a small minority of pupils disrupt lessons. Pastoral staff help pupils to turn things around. Some pupils improve their behaviour.

Others keep making the same mistakes and are repeatedly removed from lessons or suspended from school. There is more for leaders to do to reduce the amount of time that a small minority of pupils spend out of lessons because of their behaviour.

Leaders invest time to support Year 7 and 8 pupils to adapt to secondary school.

The applied resilience programme builds pupils' confidence and resilience. Pupils select from a range of activities to undertake and study throughout the year. They became more determined learners as a result of this programme.

Pupils transfer the skills that they develop to help them succeed in other lessons. This work is a strength of the school.

Staff feel that the school is well led.

Inspectors agree. Staff value the high visibility of leaders. The vast majority of staff feel supported with their workload and well-being.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

The school carries out the appropriate vetting checks on staff prior to their employment. Staff receive regular safeguarding training.

Leaders use questionnaires to check that staff understand the key safeguarding information that they receive. Staff know what signs might indicate that a pupil may be at risk and report any concerns in a timely manner. Safeguarding leaders ensure that pupils get the help that they need.

Pupils value the pastoral support that they can access. This includes support for pupils' mental health and well-being.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The school's curriculum does not currently give all pupils access to a broad range of subjects.

However, it is clear from leaders' actions that they are in the process of bringing this about. For example, computing and music have recently been introduced to the curriculum. Leaders need to complete the process of ensuring pupils have access to a broad range of subjects at key stage 3 and 4, within their identified timescales.

For this reason, the transitional arrangements have been applied. ? Over time, suspensions and internal sanctions have been high. A small minority of pupils are repeatedly issued with internal sanctions or are suspended from school due to behaviour incidents.

This means that pupils miss lessons. Leaders should work to reduce the incidents of poor behaviour that are leading to suspensions and internal sanctions.


When we have judged a school to be good, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good.

This is called a section 8 inspection of a good or outstanding school, because it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on a section 8 inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a section 5 inspection.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the section 8 inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the section 8 inspection as a section 5 inspection immediately.

This is the first section 8 inspection since we judged the school to be good in February 2017.

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