|Name||The Oak Tree Academy|
|Ofsted Inspection Rating||Good|
|Inspection Date||25 September 2019|
|Address||Newham Grange Avenue, Stockton-on-Tees, TS19 0SE|
|Religious Character||Does not apply|
|Number of Pupils||353 (49% boys 51% girls)|
|Number of Pupils per Teacher||18.5|
|Academy Sponsor||Northern Education Trust|
|Percentage Free School Meals||51.4%|
|Percentage English is Not First Language||6.5%|
|Pupils with SEN Support||14.7%|
|Catchment Area Information Available||Yes, our catchment area data is FREE|
|Last Distance Offered Information Available||No|
What is it like to attend this school?
The Oak Tree Academy has improved a lot since it was last inspected. Leaders and teachers provide a safe environment, with clear rules and expectations. Because of this, most pupils behave well and are sensible. Everyone in the school thinks behaviour has got a lot better. On occasion, a few pupils misbehave or lose interest in lessons. Pupils are learning that this is not acceptable. If they do misbehave, they feel the staff treat them fairly. This means that the school is calm and orderly throughout the day. Pupils and staff get along well and are polite towards one another.
There used to be some bullying, but it rarely happens now. Pupils know that the staff will not tolerate it. On the rare occasions that bullying does happen, staff take swift action and stop it from spreading.
The school provides a well-considered curriculum. Pupils make strong progress, especially in reading, writing and mathematics. Standards of attainment and the level of attendance have risen in recent years.
There is lots to do at social times and after school. Teachers provide extra sessions to help pupils catch up. These sessions are very popular. Pupils also enjoy the gardening club and the many sports activities. They really enjoy singing in the school choir.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
School leaders and experts within the trust have improved the school. Most of the curriculum is now well planned. The curriculum in English and mathematics is a strength. In these subjects, knowledge is sequenced so that pupils’ understanding builds steadily. In English, teachers bring topics to life using interesting and thought-provoking books. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are taught really well. Outcomes in national assessments at the end of key stage 2 have improved. However, this has been achieved, in part, by pupils spending less time studying subjects such as science or geography in Year 6. This undermines their readiness to study these subjects at secondary school.
Leaders make sure that reading is taught well. In the early years, children are taught phonics from the start. Teachers follow a systematic programme and frequently check children’s progress. Most children quickly grasp the sounds that letters make. Teachers read stories and use singing and rhymes to bring books to life. They provide books that match the sounds children have learned. Teachers encourage parents to get involved and read with their children at home. The teachers and teaching assistants are well trained. They listen to younger children read every day and guide them skilfully. Children who find reading harder get lots of extra help. By the end of key stage 1, almost all pupils have a secure grasp ofphonics.
In some subjects, the curriculum is not yet sufficiently coherently planned. For example, in art, activities are not well connected. Activities chosen link to the term’s topic. For example, in art, Year 3 pupils make cave paintings when studying the Stone Age. However, drawing and painting skills are not sequenced well or practised enough. By the end of key stage 2, too many pupils are not proficient in using different media, and they lack confidence in the subject. Leaders know this. It is clear from the actions that leaders are taking that they are improving curriculum planning in these subjects.
Leaders ensure that there is a good climate for learning across the school. The staff say behaviour is transformed. Classrooms are calm and purposeful and teaching is rarely interrupted. If pupils do lapse, staff talk to them and help them learn from their mistakes.
The school provides a wide range of enriching activities. There are lots of visits to places of interest, such as the seaside, places of worship and different museums. The school’s ‘Bright Futures’ week introduces pupils to possible careers and to people with different jobs. Older pupils have responsibilities which they take seriously. Pupils are developing positive attitudes and a well-rounded appreciation of life in modern Britain.
The early years is a busy and exciting part of the school. Here, the curriculum is very well planned. Teachers know exactly what the children need. Children quickly learn new routines. Lively teaching ensures that children become curious and captivated. Most children make good progress. Skilled adults teach reading, writing and number skills effectively. They also ensure that children learn to clean their teeth and wash their hands. There are lots of opportunities for parents and carers to get involved.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Regular training and reminders ensure that all members of staff are vigilant for any signs that pupils may be at risk. Staff report any concerns immediately. This ensures that leaders have a detailed picture of the school’s more vulnerable pupils. Leaders work closely with parents, social care and the police to protect children at risk. They keep detailed records and review their actions regularly. Leaders also make sure that adults who work in or visit the school are carefully vetted. There are good arrangements in place to supervise pupils at social times. Steps have been taken this term to make the school site more secure.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)The quality of education is not as strong in some of the foundation subjects as it is in reading, writing and mathematics. In subjects such as art and design and technology, the planned curriculum tends to consist of disconnected activities. Although these activities link to the term’s overarching topic effectively, they do not support progress within the subject itself. Within these activities, planning does not make clear what pupils should know and be able to do by the end (the curricular goal). It is also not clear what activities pupils need to undertake and practise to achieve this goal. The school should review curriculum planning in art and design and technology to ensure that activities are more thoughtfully sequenced and that curricular goals are clearly identified. Leaders should also ensure that pupils get enough practice and become more proficient in using materials to achieve the curricular goals. . Currently, leaders prioritise the teaching of reading, writing and mathematics in Year 6, to ensure that pupils do as well as possible in national assessments. This means that pupils receive less teaching in other subjects during the year. In some subjects, not all of the key stage 2 national curriculum content is covered. The approach detracts from the quality of education as a whole. Leaders should adjust how the curriculum is implemented so that pupils make steady incremental progress in each of the national curriculum subjects across Years 3–6.