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The North Halifax Grammar School is an ambitious and caring school.
Pupils receive high levels of academic and pastoral support. As a result, relationships between pupils and staff are warm and respectful. This helps to promote a positive culture in the school.
The sixth form is exceptional. Students rise to the very academic standards that teachers have of them.
Behaviour in lessons and around school is calm and orderly.
Pupils show high levels of maturity. Bullying sometimes happens. When it does happen, the school takes quick and effective action.
Pupils speak positively about the ways leaders respond to their concerns. For example, follo...wing recent feedback from pupils, leaders implemented effectively a programme of activities to challenge negative gender stereotypes.
The school ensures that pupils are offered an extensive range of opportunities that extend beyond the academic.
These opportunities develop pupils' interests and talents as well as their character. For example, pupils recently performed 'Twelfth Night' in the Shakespeare Schools Festival. Other opportunities include The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, debating club, chess, rock choir and big band.
Pupils value these opportunities and make the most of them.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
The school has designed an ambitious curriculum. Leaders have identified the important knowledge they want pupils to know and remember.
They have ensured that there are clear end-points in each unit or topic. The curriculum is sequenced logically so pupils can build secure knowledge over time. Leaders regularly review the content of the curriculum to ensure it is diverse, and that it meets pupils' needs.
The curriculum is delivered well. Teachers have a strong understanding of their subjects. In the sixth form, students particularly benefit from their teachers' expertise, which is used to deepen students' understanding and provoke challenging, academic discussion.
Teachers skilfully check what students have understood before moving on to more challenging concepts. However, in key stages 3 and 4, some staff do not consistently adapt the curriculum so that all pupils make as much progress as they are capable of. Leaders are aware of this and have developed an approach to the curriculum known as 'The Trivium'.
Leaders intend this approach to bring more consistent academic rigour to lessons. This is at an early stage of implementation.
The school is ambitious for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
Pupils' needs are identified appropriately. There is appropriate oversight of these pupils by leaders. However, in some lessons, the strategies to support pupils with SEND are not used consistently.
Most pupils are confident and fluent readers when they start at the school. Even so, leaders have implemented a reading programme for pupils in Year 7 who find some aspects of reading more challenging, such as reading for comprehension and inference. Sixth-form students take the role of 'reading ambassador' to help support younger pupils with their reading.
The school promotes reading for pleasure through the 'NHGS 99'. This is a list of recommended reads for pupils that is widely promoted and discussed around school. Pupils also celebrate 'World Book Day', and they can take part in book clubs and a poetry recital event.
Pupils behave well in lessons and around school. Low-level disruption in lessons is rare. Most pupils work hard and have a positive attitude in lessons.
The behaviour and attitudes of sixth-form students are exemplary. Students' attendance in the sixth form is high and students are highly committed to their learning.
The school promotes the wider development of pupils very well through a programme called 'The Ambit'.
This offers pupils, and students in the sixth form, an impressive range of wider opportunities, such as trips and cultural visits, charity work, sport, extra music tuition and academic clubs. Pupils and sixth-form students receive high-quality careers advice and work experience. Many pupils and sixth-form students take leadership roles in school.
For example, pupils and sixth-form students can apply to become prefects, reading ambassadors, bullying ambassadors and members of the inclusion and equality committee. This allows pupils and sixth-form students to make a positive contribution to school life.
Pupils do not have a deep enough understanding of fundamental British values.
A small number of pupils show a lack of tolerance towards some of their peers who have protected characteristics. Leaders are aware of the need to strengthen the personal, social and health education (PSHE) programme and work on this has begun.
Leaders, including trustees, have an accurate understanding of the strengths and areas to develop in the school.
Trustees and leaders are united in their vision for the school. Trustees fulfil their statutory duties. There are detailed development plans in place to support the strategic direction of the school.
Staff enjoy working at the school. They consider leaders to be mindful of their workload and well-being.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Sometimes, lessons are not adapted sufficiently so that all pupils are able to achieve their potential. As a result, some pupils are not making the progress that they are capable of. The school should ensure that strategies are implemented consistently in all lessons to promote higher levels of academic challenge and support for all pupils, including those with SEND.
• The PSHE programme requires further development. Pupils do not have sufficiently detailed knowledge of fundamental British values and a small number of pupils are not tolerant of protected characteristics. The school should continue its work to plan and develop the programme to further raise the profile of tolerance, inclusion, equity and justice.
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