The Grove Academy

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About The Grove Academy

Name The Grove Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Principal Mrs Sarah Hennigan
Address Fourth Avenue, Watford, WD25 9RH
Phone Number 01923674463
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 524
Local Authority Hertfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are happy and enjoy coming to school. They are keen to learn, and work hard in lessons. Pupils experience a broad curriculum that generally helps them to develop their understanding of the world.

However, in some subjects, pupils do not make as much progress as they should. This leaves pupils underprepared for the next stage of their education.

Pupils are friendly and respectful.

They respond well to the high expectations staff have for good behaviour. Children in the early years quickly learn the routines that help them to feel confident and settled in school. In lessons, pupils listen carefully to adults and to each other.

Pupils enjoy the t...ime they spend with their friends at breaktimes. They are happy to include others in their games. Pupils say that bullying does not happen very often.

If it does happen, it is followed up quickly and resolved. Relationships between pupils and staff are positive. Pupils know that adults are there to help them if they have any worries or concerns.

Pupils rightly feel safe at school.

Parents are positive about the school. They appreciate the commitment of leaders and staff in ensuring that all children feel valued as members of the school community.

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

Since the previous inspection, the school has experienced a number of changes in leadership and in staffing. While the trust has worked to stabilise this situation, the good quality of education has not been maintained. The trust is working with school leaders to bring about the necessary changes needed to address this.

Staff share leaders' and the trust's vision for improvement. Members of the local advisory body carry out their roles effectively. Members are clear about leaders' priorities for improvement.

Their regular school visits enable them to see for themselves the difference leaders are making through their work to improve the school. All leaders are mindful of staff members' well-being and workload.

Leaders have identified that the curriculum was not supporting pupils to achieve well across a range of subjects, including in reading and mathematics.

They have revised the curriculum in the English and mathematics, and in the majority of other subjects. This revised curriculum is at various stages of implementation. In some areas, pupils have not built up the detailed knowledge they need to deepen their understanding and make connections in their learning.

This means that some pupils are not achieving as well as they could across the full range of subjects that they learn about, including in reading and mathematics.

Provision for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) is carefully matched to pupils' individual learning needs. Teachers make appropriate adjustments so that pupils with SEND access the full curriculum.

Leaders prioritise reading. Pupils have access to a wide range of books to read and enjoy. Pupils enjoy being read to by their teachers.

Teachers read in a way that captures pupils' interests. They help pupils to understand new vocabulary and the context of the stories they are reading in class. Younger children enjoy listening to stories read by older pupils at breaktimes.

Leaders have recently introduced a new systematic programme to teach phonics and early reading. Daily phonics lessons are effective in providing pupils with the practise they need to secure their phonics knowledge. Pupils who are at the early stages of learning to read are given books that are closely matched to the sounds they are learning.

This is helping pupils to develop their confidence and fluency in reading. Older pupils who are not yet fluent readers are now receiving the support they need to help them catch up. Leaders are raising staff expectations of what younger pupils can and should achieve when learning to read.

However, leaders recognise there is still work to do to ensure that all pupils achieve as well as they should in reading.

Children in the early years experience a well-considered curriculum that develops their curiosity and interest in the world around them. Leaders place a strong focus on developing children's language and communication.

Children practise counting and develop their understanding of number. Adults intervene skilfully to help children extend their learning and their play. Learning opportunities are carefully planned to support children's physical and emotional development.

Staff work closely with parents so that children in the early years make a positive start to school.

The curriculum and wider opportunities support pupils' personal development well. Pupils learn tolerance and respect for different cultures, traditions and beliefs.

They learn how to develop healthy relationships and how to keep themselves and others safe, including when using the internet. Pupils recognise how the school's values help them to become responsible, active citizens.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

A positive culture of safeguarding is in place. Staff are vigilant. Regular training and communications help ensure that staff knowledge of safeguarding is kept up to date.

Staff know how to identify the signs of potential abuse. Efficient systems are in place for reporting safeguarding concerns. These are understood and used effectively by staff.

Leaders act promptly to follow up concerns. Leaders are persistent when working with other agencies to help ensure that vulnerable families access the support they need.

The processes for recruitment and pre-employment checks are robust and carried out diligently.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The implementation of the new curriculum in reading and mathematics is not yet fully effective. Some pupils are not achieving as well as they should in these subjects. Leaders should build on the work that they have already done, to ensure that all pupils become confident and fluent readers and mathematicians who are well prepared for the next stage of their education.

• The curriculum is underdeveloped in some foundation subjects, and it is not always delivered well. As a result, pupils are not acquiring the detailed subject knowledge that they need to achieve well in these areas. Leaders should ensure that the curriculum is implemented consistently well in all subjects, to enable the best possible outcomes for pupils across the broad range of subjects.

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