The Laurel Academy

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About The Laurel Academy

Name The Laurel Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Mrs Katy Taylor-Clarke
Address Maple Road, Mexborough, S64 9SD
Phone Number 01709302244
Phase Academy
Type Academy sponsor led
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 654
Local Authority Doncaster
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Leaders are aspirational for all pupils. In class, pupils focus on learning. They study courses which are ambitious and reflect local employment opportunities.

A growing number of pupils are studying the English Baccalaureate suite of qualifications. Pupils achieve well in external examinations. Leaders' emphasis on pupils' ability to read is increasingly impactful.

Leaders have established a culture of high expectations. Learning is rarely interrupted by poor behaviour. Staff use rewards often to celebrate pupils' achievements.

Bullying is infrequent. When it does happen, staff act effectively to address it. Relationships between pupils and staff are polite ...and respectful.

Pupils attend school regularly and are punctual.

Pupils access a range of extra-curricular activities. These include academic and sporting clubs.

Pupils benefit from high-quality vocational taster days at local providers as part of their careers education. Pupils study personal, social and health education during ethics, philosophy and citizenship (EPC) lessons, assemblies and tutor time. Leaders use this time to address important safeguarding issues.

They teach pupils to keep themselves safe at school and in the community. Pupils' knowledge of other important learning from this curriculum is not as secure as leaders want. This includes their knowledge of other faiths.

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

Subject leaders have developed a broad curriculum offer. In some subjects, they have drawn on support from elsewhere in the trust. Leaders have identified the most important knowledge that they want pupils to remember.

Teachers explain information clearly. New learning builds on what pupils already know. Disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) follow the same curriculum as their peers.

Teachers make regular checks on what pupils know using a 'demonstrate and connect' routine. They adapt lessons well to meet pupils' needs.

Senior leaders have prioritised pupils' ability to read fluently.

Pupils in the early stages of learning to read receive additional help. This enables them to catch up quickly. All pupils read regularly in tutor time.

Leaders have recently launched the 'reading routes' initiative. This encourages pupils to read more widely. Leaders have chosen texts to engage pupils with important social issues.

Some pupils' limited vocabulary prevents them from expressing themselves confidently.

Pupils attend school regularly. Attendance is higher than before the pandemic.

The proportion of pupils who are persistently absent is reducing but is higher than leaders want. Leaders have implemented clear systems for when pupils do not attend. Leaders work well with families to improve their children's attendance further.

Pupils are well behaved in classrooms and around the site. Most pupils effectively regulate their own behaviour. Suspensions are used appropriately, when required.

Leaders support pupils well following a suspension. A small number of pupils access learning at alternative providers. Parents and carers contribute to the selection of placements.

Senior leaders make these decisions in pupils' best interests.

Leaders' vision for pupils goes beyond the academic. Some aspects of this work are fully realised.

Pupils receive a high-quality careers education. All pupils receive independent advice and engage with colleges and employers. Most pupils participate in other events such as the careers fair.

Consequently, pupils go on to sustain appropriate future destinations.

The number of enrichment opportunities available to pupils is increasing. What is available currently is of high quality.

Many pupils, including disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND, make good use of these. Leaders reward pupils' participation through the 'pledges' programme. A small number of pupils hold leadership roles as ambassadors or members of the student council.

Although these are new initiatives, pupils have begun working on projects, such as healthy school meals, and charitable work.

Pupils learn about important concepts such as healthy relationships during their EPC lessons. This curriculum addresses all of the required statutory content.

New leaders are aware that some aspects are underdeveloped. For example, pupils' knowledge of other cultures contributes less strongly to their wider development.

Leaders, including those with responsibility for governance, have a secure understanding of the school's strengths and ongoing priorities.

The trust has deployed staff from elsewhere in the organisation to support the development of school leaders. This has contributed positively to the improvement of the school. Governors and trustees support and challenge leaders effectively.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Pupils learn about the most significant risks in their community. Staff teach them how to stay safe.

In EPC lessons, pupils learn about safeguarding issues such as county lines (county lines is where illegal drugs are transported from one area to another, usually by children or vulnerable people who are coerced into it by gangs) and child criminal exploitation.

Safeguarding leaders are knowledgeable. They ensure that staff are well trained.

Staff have a clear understanding about the indicators of possible harm. They know how to report concerns about a pupil's welfare. Leaders keep detailed records of these.

Regular meetings of the inclusion team ensure that actions are completed promptly. Leaders have effective relationships with external agencies. They use these to provide additional support to pupils.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Some pupils do not have the range of vocabulary needed to express themselves confidently. This limits pupils' ability to contribute effectively to discussions and to access aspects of their learning. Leaders should continue to embed their strategy on reading and oracy.

• Some aspects of the school's EPC curriculum, such as religious education, are not sufficiently well developed. This means that pupils' learning about other cultures and faiths does not contribute strongly to their personal development. Leaders should continue to review and further develop the EPC programme so that it enhances pupils' academic learning.

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