The WREN School

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About The WREN School

Name The WREN School
Ofsted Inspections
Mr John Salberg
Address 61-63 Bath Road, Reading, RG30 2BB
Phone Number 01182143888
Phase Academy
Type Free schools
Age Range 11-19
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 994
Local Authority Reading
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are benefitting from the culture of aspiration that is being developed at the school.

They know how important the school value of 'ambition' is. Pupils take on many leadership roles to develop important life skills. This includes many pupils who act as prefects.

Pupils have access to a wide range of extra-curricular activities, including the popular sports clubs. These experiences, along with interesting trips, help to enrich school life.

Recently, leaders have been working with teachers to make much-needed improvements to the curriculum.

Passionate staff are adapting lessons to make them more focused. This is beginning to increase what pupils... learn. However, currently, the quality of curriculum and teaching is inconsistent.

This means that pupils are not yet receiving a good quality of education across all subjects and key stages.

Bullying is never tolerated. School leaders and anti-bullying ambassadors are helping the minority of pupils who may be affected to feel more confident to raise any worries they have promptly.

Pupils recognise the steps leaders have taken in recent times to improve behaviour in the school. Most now engage positively with learning. However, some pupils do not always focus as well as they should.

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

Through the ambitious vision and direction set by the principal, this school is improving. New senior and middle leaders who have joined the school over the last three years are determined to make the changes that are needed. Their work has already had a significant positive impact on pupils' behaviour, attendance and the development of the curriculum.

Additionally, there has recently been an improvement in the results that pupils achieve in their GCSE examinations. However, the school recognises that further improvements are needed across a number of subjects, including in the sixth form, to ensure that all pupils and students benefit from a high-quality education.

The school has introduced a strategy, called 'inspirational classrooms', to improve the quality of teaching.

This outlines the expectations for how lessons are taught. Some aspects of this are working well. The way that teachers help pupils to recall prior learning is a strength.

However, currently, the school has not yet fully identified the precise knowledge and skills that pupils need to learn in some areas. In addition, there are inconsistencies in how well the curriculum is taught and pupils' learning is assessed. Not all teachers introduce new information in manageable steps.

This means that, in some subjects, the activities given to pupils do not always help them to learn well. Consequently, pupils, along with students in the sixth form, do not consistently achieve as well as they should.

There is a well-embedded culture of reading in the school.

Pupils read widely and often, ably supported by staff during tutor time sessions. The school's phonics programme is used successfully to help some pupils who may need further help, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), to develop their confidence and fluency in reading. The needs of pupils with SEND are known well by staff.

Individual pupil profiles ensure that teachers are aware of what help they should provide. However, at present, some teachers do not always provide the precise support that pupils, including those with SEND, need to be successful.

The school has significantly improved the attendance of pupils in recent years.

A range of successful initiatives has ensured that pupils attend more often and arrive at school on time. The behaviour of pupils has also improved. The newly developed behaviour policy sets high expectations for their conduct.

Most pupils behave responsibly and engage well with their lessons. Social times and the school environment, including corridors, are orderly. Those pupils who need further support to regulate their emotions get targeted help.

However, a minority of pupils continue to fall short of the school's expectations. This happens most frequently when staff do not implement the school's behaviour strategy as consistently as leaders intend.

Pupils benefit from a comprehensive programme of personal development.

Within their 'culture lessons', pupils learn to value and respect diversity. They gain important life skills, including how to stay safe. Pupils also learn about healthy relationships in an age-appropriate manner.

In the sixth form, students receive thorough careers advice and guidance. This includes workshops to help with applications for future study or jobs.

Governors and trustees take their roles and responsibilities seriously, ensuring that the school continues to improve.

School leaders are highly valued by the staff body. Staff recognise the developments that have been made and appreciate the high-quality training they have received to improve pupils' education.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In some subjects, the important knowledge and skills that pupils need to learn have not been carefully identified and organised. This means that teachers do not always know exactly what should be taught and when. The school should continue to develop the curriculum to ensure pupils accumulate key knowledge and skills over time in all subjects and at all key stages, including in the sixth form.

• Some teachers do not always use effective strategies to help pupils learn. Consequently, pupils do not always learn as well as they should. Leaders need to ensure that staff know how best to introduce new learning and help pupils understand and remember what they are taught.

The school does not always ensure that pupils with SEND always have the appropriate support to help them learn well. This means that some do not always build the knowledge and skills they need. The school needs to provide further training and support for staff to ensure that all pupils get the precise help that they require to be successful.

• A minority of pupils do not always focus on their learning as well as they should. This is because some teachers do not consistently use the school's new behaviour policy. The school should continue to embed the new behaviour system and ensure that it is implemented as intended by all staff.

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