The de Ferrers Academy

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About The de Ferrers Academy

Name The de Ferrers Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Principal Mrs Alison Bickle
Address St Mary’s Drive, Burton-on-Trent, DE13 0LL
Phone Number 01283247700
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 2444
Local Authority Staffordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

The de Ferrers Academy is a vibrant and lively place to learn.

Staff share a common purpose and goal and all want the best for pupils in their care. This purpose is based on the school's recent renewed drive to reset and raise expectations. All staff have bought into this new vision.

This starts with a relentless focus on getting the 'little things' right at the beginning of each school day.

The school has put improving pupils' behaviour at the heart of its actions. Most pupils concentrate in lessons and try to do their best.

They want to learn and do well. This means staff can focus on teaching rather than having to manage pupils' behaviour. At brea...ktime and lunchtime pupils chat and eat together and share their news with their friends.

The school has clear systems in place to address poor behaviour when it does occur. As routines and expectations have become established, the number of pupils receiving sanctions has fallen. A small number of pupils still struggle to behave well and treat others with care and respect.

The school has a variety of measures in place to help these pupils improve. However, these are not always fully effective.

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

Leaders, governors and directors lead with vigour and determination.

Staff are proud members of the school community. They work hard, feel valued and willingly engage with new ideas to make the school a better place for pupils.

The school has worked hard to improve the curriculum.

In most subjects, the detail of what pupils will learn and when they will learn it is set out clearly. This includes signposting pupils to the prior knowledge they need to remember and the most important new knowledge that they need to learn. This means that there is a clear thread that runs through each subject in each key stage.

The school has given teachers time to discuss how they teach the curriculum. They use this time effectively to develop resources and share ideas. For instance, in mathematics, teachers explore the best ways of explaining complex concepts to pupils.

Teachers working together in this way has had a positive impact on pupils' learning.

Teachers make regular checks on pupils' learning in a variety of ways. This includes using 'checkpoints' that focus on the important knowledge that pupils need to understand and remember.

This helps teachers identify gaps in pupils' knowledge. Most staff do this effectively. However, some 'in the moment' assessment is inconsistent.

In some cases, teachers fail to explain new knowledge with sufficient clarity, or they move on without first checking pupils' understanding carefully.

The sixth form is a strength of the school. Despite learning on a different site, students are full and active members of the school and local community.

They work alongside their teachers with dedication and verve. Staff get to know each student so that they can support them with their learning and ready them for their next steps.

The school is ambitious for pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

Pupils with SEND are included in all aspects of school life. Their individual needs are identified and shared with teachers through 'pupil passports'. The school makes regular checks to ensure that this information is being used by teachers well.

The school has a plan in place to further improve provision for pupils with SEND and is enacting this fully.

The school has prioritised reading. Staff read to pupils regularly and pupils enjoy this.

The school has also put a structured programme in place to encourage all pupils to read. Pupils' engagement with this programme is monitored by staff. Pupils who need support to become confident and fluent readers benefit from regular additional help.

The school has put the tutor programme at its heart. Pupils spend time each day with their tutor, who gets to know them well. The school encourages tutors to contact parents to provide support, celebrate pupils' success and address any emerging issues.

Pupils learn about a wide range of social, emotional and cultural issues in tutor time. This includes a well-planned and purposeful careers programme. Tutor-time learning is supported by 'values' lessons and assemblies.

In these, pupils learn about complex issues such as consent, democracy and equality. The personal development programme is enhanced by a range of clubs, leadership opportunities and visitors that speak to pupils about a range of topics.

Some parents and pupils, in response to Ofsted's survey, questioned the changes to the behaviour system and the school's effectiveness in addressing bullying.

This does not match with what inspectors found. Nevertheless, there is further work to do to ensure everyone understands the school's vision and the efficacy of its actions.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The school has not ensured that all teachers check pupils' understanding thoroughly. This means in some instances pupils are not learning the curriculum well and are not securing the foundational knowledge they need for their next steps. The school should ensure that teachers make accurate and regular checks on pupils' understanding so that pupils learn equally well in all subjects.

A small number of pupils struggle to manage their behaviour and treat others with courtesy and respect. While the school does take action, it does not help these pupils improve their behaviour or attitude to others. The school should ensure that pupils who need help to improve their behaviour get the support they need to be full and active members of the school community.

• The school has not ensured that all parents and pupils share in leaders vision and understand the actions that leaders are taking to improve the school. As a result, a small number of parents and pupils remain concerned about the way that the school is tacking key issues, such as behaviour and bullying. The school should continue to find ways to engage with all parents and pupils to share its vision, build parental confidence and provide reassurance to pupils.

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