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Pupils are proud to attend Tong Leadership Academy.
Pupils' aspirations are raised through a well-developed extra-curricular programme, including the school cadet programme. Educational visits to the theatre and local literary festivals link closely with the academic curriculum that pupils study.
The school has a calm, settled atmosphere.
Relationships between pupils and adults are warm and respectful. Worries and concerns are shared by pupils with trusted adults. Pupils focus well on their learning in lessons.
Leaders have developed an ambitious curriculum. Teachers make effective use of the information they receive about pupils, including those pup...ils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), so that they can support all to do well. However, some pupils miss vital learning because they do not attend school as regularly as they should.
The school's focus on reading means that pupils leave Tong Leadership Academy with a broad knowledge of culturally diverse texts. Pupils see themselves reflected in the books that leaders have carefully chosen. This helps to create an inclusive, welcoming environment in which pupils thrive.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
The school's curriculum is highly ambitious. Leaders in all subjects are clear about the precise knowledge they want pupils to learn. Staff identify important vocabulary and teach this specifically to pupils.
Pupils speak with enthusiasm about how lesson activities, such as the use of 'exit tickets' and teachers' modelled examples, help them to remember what they have been taught. This means that outcomes for pupils are improving. In a small number of subject areas, further work is required to ensure that leaders' well-developed plans and classroom routines are implemented consistently.
In all lessons, teachers make productive use of the information they receive about pupils. For example, teachers use a 'lapping' strategy to support pupils who need extra help. This allows all pupils to access the curriculum.
Information about pupils with SEND is used regularly and well by teachers. Pupils who need help with their social and emotional well-being are identified and receive a short, targeted programme of support. This helps them to do well when they return to their regular timetable.
Pupils enjoy the school's reading programme. Those at the earliest stages of reading receive targeted support regularly to help them catch up with their peers. The curriculum is adapted to current issues and topics.
Leaders, including those overseeing safeguarding, work together to ensure that they adapt the personal, social and health education curriculum to take account of local issues and events. This helps pupils to remain safe. The curriculum ensures that pupils understand issues such as diversity.
It develops their pride about the area in which they live and the school in which they learn. In earlier year groups, the careers offer is not strategically developed. Pupils in these year groups do not have a detailed understanding of the world of work and careers as they begin to consider their future choices.
However, the school's work with older pupils helps them to prepare well for life after they leave Tong Leadership Academy.
Behaviour around the school and in lessons shows that pupils are motivated and engaged. Clear routines and positive relationships, where teachers regularly praise pupils' achievements, help to create a caring environment.
Bullying and discriminatory language are rare. The school takes any concerns or worries that pupils have seriously. Leaders know that they must remain focused on ensuring that all pupils attend school regularly.
Governors and trustees know the school well. They receive clear information from the school's leaders and from external agencies. At all levels, leaders actively look for weaknesses and areas for further development.
This ensures that there is a clear, consistent focus on strengthening the school's provision for pupils. Staff enjoy being a part of the school. They know what is expected of them.
There is a keen sense of teamwork. Staff in all positions feel well supported to achieve leaders' ambitions for pupils.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Pupils' attendance at the school is not as high as it could be. This means that some pupils miss important learning. Leaders should ensure that they quickly enact targeted strategies designed to improve pupils' attendance.
• The provision for careers does not match leaders' aspirations to enable pupils to make informed decisions about their future. Pupils in Year 11 are well supported, but those in earlier year groups are not encouraged to consider future pathways. Leaders should ensure that they plan strategically for the provision of careers in all year groups.
• In a small number of subjects, the curriculum is not securely embedded. As a result, pupils' achievement is variable. Leaders should strengthen the consistency of the delivery of the school curriculum across all subjects, so that pupils make good progress and attain well.
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