The Swan School

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About The Swan School

Name The Swan School
Ofsted Inspections
Ms Kay Wood
Address Marston Ferry Road, Oxford, OX2 7WP
Phone Number 01865416070
Phase Academy
Type Free schools
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 667
Local Authority Oxfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

The school's vision is for all pupils to succeed academically and personally. Pupils share this vision and are very proud of their school. They strive to 'achieve more than they ever believed possible'.

To support pupils to achieve this, the school has established an extremely ambitious and inclusive curriculum. In all year groups, pupils produce work of a high standard, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

The school has a vibrant culture.

This is seen every day, for example at 'family dining' or during the 'electives', which provide an impressive range of enrichment sessions. These experiences are positive opportunitie...s for pupils and staff to spend quality time together and build relationships. They also support the school's very high expectations of pupils' conduct.

Pupils' behaviour is excellent in lessons and at social times. Pupils are proud of the school's inclusive culture. Pupils feel happy, safe and valued at school.

Parents are tremendously supportive of the school. They particularly like the way that staff know their children as individuals. Many commented that the school listens carefully to parents and pupils.

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

From the very start, the school and the wider trust have worked together to share good practice regarding curriculum thinking. Consequently, the school's curriculum is carefully designed for each subject. Teams have thoughtfully considered what pupils must learn and be able to do at each point, from Year 7 to Year 13.

In many areas, the curriculum ensures that knowledge builds and connects securely in the context of big ideas and broader themes. However, this is not yet as strong in all areas.

Teaching across the school is consistently effective.

Lessons are purposeful and calm, which pupils appreciate. They understand it helps them learn. Teachers select resources and activities which enable all pupils to embed learning over time.

They introduce new content clearly, and regularly check pupils' understanding before moving on. Pupils also receive regular feedback, which they find helpful. They use it to improve their work.

In the sixth form, the quality of questioning and discussion is particularly strong. The school provides teachers with detailed information about how to support pupils with SEND or others with additional needs. This information is used effectively to make necessary adjustments in class.

Consequently, pupils can remember and apply what they have learned, including disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND.

The school has a comprehensive reading strategy. This includes supporting those who need additional help.

The school identifies gaps in reading knowledge precisely and targets support accordingly. The tutor reading programme means that all pupils experience a range of carefully chosen texts. Pupil voice has informed the development of the programme.

For example, in Year 11, pupils now select their own books, which are varied and ambitious.

The personal development programme is a strong and distinctive feature of the school. It contributes to high standards of behaviour and a strong safeguarding culture.

It is carefully mapped out, from Year 7 to Year 13, so that pupils learn how to keep themselves and others safe and to stay healthy as they grow up. This includes learning how to navigate increasingly complex real and online worlds. They also learn about equality, other cultures and different points of view so that they are prepared well for life in modern Britain.

The 'electives' provide pupils with opportunities to discover and develop interest and talents. Many also participate in the wide range of clubs and leadership activities. As a result of this programme, pupils demonstrate resilience and respect for difference.

The school's very well-designed careers programme makes effective use of links with local employers and training providers. Consequently, pupils are very well prepared for future study and the world of work. Sixth-form students particularly appreciate their work-related learning and bespoke support for post-18 choices.

The school ensures that personal development and careers sessions are accessible to all, including those with SEND and those who are disadvantaged. Staff provide bespoke support where necessary.

The trust's strong support means that the school has been able to realise its ambitious vision.

Rigorous systems ensure that there is robust oversight and effective support and challenge. Statutory duties, including those relating to safeguarding, are fulfilled diligently. The trust and the school have acted decisively to ensure that the school's organisation and culture underpin a positive and inspiring workplace.

Consequently, staff feel valued and give generously of their time to pupils. They are extremely proud to work at the school.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• There is some variability in how well the curriculum design enables pupils to connect new knowledge to big ideas over time. This could hinder pupils in being able to achieve the school's ambitious aims and achieve consistently highly. The school should continue its work to refine and embed thinking in this area.

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