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The Trafalgar School at Downton is truly a community school.
Honest and just leadership is at the heart of this improving organisation. Senior leaders know their school and the community exceptionally well. They have utilised this to improve provision effectively following the last inspection.
Consequently, the way the curriculum is taught has improved rapidly. Pupils learn the curriculum well, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).
Pupils value the family ethos of this school.
They contribute to calm, purposeful lessons. Pupils are attentive and conduct themselves well. Many aspire to achieve and take pride in the...ir work, particularly in subjects where teachers' expectations are highest.
Pupils rightly say they feel safe. Occasionally, pupils need reminding to adhere to the school's high expectations of behaviour. Most pupils and parents rightly say that bullying is not an issue.
When it does happen, leaders take appropriate action.
Pupils embrace the opportunities to enrich their learning through extensive extra-curricular opportunities, such as music, outdoor education and chess club. Pupils speak positively about the 'Trafalgar 360', which sets out 20 opportunities that all pupils will benefit from during their school life.
As a result, pupils develop positive attitudes to school.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders' work on the curriculum is rooted in the high ambition of helping pupils achieve a 'life fulfilled through empowerment'. Leaders secure this by prioritising a broad and balanced learning experience for all pupils, including those with SEND.
Leaders are appropriately focused on raising expectations and improving consistency in provision. Trustees and local governors add value to leaders' work through careful and precise challenge. They look to ensure all pupils achieve as well as they can academically and holistically.
Subject leaders are supported well to plan effective sequences of learning in their subjects. They provide regular and ongoing high-quality training to help teachers strengthen their subject knowledge and be effective teachers for pupils with SEND. Consequently, teachers are skilled and know what is expected of them.
They rightly feel valued as members of this ambitious learning community.
Leaders have established agreed approaches to teaching. Teachers follow these consistently and well.
They utilise the strong curriculum planning to build on what pupils know and can do. Teachers check pupils' understanding regularly and with precision. Teachers use questioning skilfully to ensure pupils are keeping up with what is expected of them.
However, leaders rightly acknowledge that even more can now be expected. For example, pupils' learning is sometimes constrained because teachers lead discussions and limit the time spent exploring ideas. As a result, pupils remember key knowledge and achieve well across most areas of the curriculum.
However, they do not deepen their understanding by applying what they have learned in multi-disciplinary ways.
Reading is appropriately prioritised, particularly for those who are behind their peers when they start at school. Leaders assess pupils' reading as soon as they start.
From this they adapt provision to meet the needs of each cohort, as well as providing targeted intervention for pupils who need to catch up with their reading. As a result, pupils keep up with their peers and are often able to reintegrate fully into their year group's learning by the time they finish Year 7.
The curriculum supports pupils' social and emotional development well.
There are plentiful opportunities to explore their interests and abilities in clubs and other school events. Pupils are provided with impartial careers advice and are well supported to choose appropriate post-16 pathways. Leaders have carefully identified age-appropriate content to broaden pupils' understanding of themselves and others.
This includes considering how and when pupils are taught about relationships, consent and fundamental British values. Assemblies and tutor times are utilised well to explore key themes and important issues. Consequently, pupils learn about the importance of diversity, democracy and citizenship, but also a strong sense of standing up for what they believe in.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders have secured a strong safeguarding culture. The designated safeguarding lead is appropriately trained, a member of the senior leadership team and a central part of the local community.
As a result, she has established processes that are highly tailored to the local context.
Leaders' training ensures that staff are very well placed to identify pupils' needs, follow up concerns well and provide targeted support. Parents and pupils recognise the strong work of staff to promote wellbeing.
Leaders work together effectively to ensure that the curriculum responds to local issues and areas of specific concern.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Leaders have introduced standard expectations to improve the consistency of how the curriculum is implemented. This has successfully improved the overall quality of teaching and learning.
However, the standard approach means that teachers do not allow pupils to explore ideas in different ways and across subjects. This means that pupils learn the curriculum well, but sometimes to a superficial level. Leaders should build on and strengthen the implementation of the curriculum so that pupils deepen their understanding of key concepts and outcomes continue to improve in all areas.
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