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There have been significant changes in leadership since the last inspection. New leaders at trust and school level are passionate about improving the school in difficult circumstances.
Leaders have high expectations of pupils' conduct and academic potential. The majority of pupils meet these expectations. Older pupils are positive about the improvement in behaviour recently.
Despite this, a minority of pupils repeatedly make the same mistakes. Some are regularly removed from some lessons. Some pupils' behaviour can be boisterous during social times.
Leaders have taken action to address this.
Pupils all have a trusted adult in school. Pupils are taugh...t that bullying is unacceptable and are encouraged to report it.
The majority of pupils feel that when bullying occurs, teachers take effective action. Bullying logs reflect this. However, some pupils feel that bullying is not always tackled effectively enough.
They feel that some teachers take it more seriously than others.
Pupils enjoy a range of extra-curricular activities. At lunchtime, Year 7 pupils enjoy playing chess and board games.
Sixth-form students benefit from visiting local universities to raise their aspirations. Pupils value the support that they get to help to improve their mental health and well-being. Leaders have also introduced a wide range of rewards to improve attendance, and recognise pupils' effort and positive behaviour.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders have prioritised developing the curriculum. They have carefully identified what they want pupils to know and remember. The curriculum is ambitious and designed to allow all pupils, including pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) to build knowledge over time.
Curriculum plans have been organised so that pupils' understanding builds over time.
Vocabulary is a key focus in all subjects. Pupils are deliberately introduced to ambitious vocabulary that will help their studies.
Leaders have also introduced a reading strategy across school so that pupils develop their confidence when reading aloud. There is effective support provided for struggling readers to make sure they can catch up with their peers.
Leaders recognise the importance of pupils being able to link their prior knowledge to new information.
Recall tasks are planned to check what pupils know. However, some staff do not do this routinely in lessons. Questioning is not always used effectively to check pupils' understanding.
This means that gaps in pupils' knowledge are not always picked up, meaning that some pupils struggle to make sustained progress. Some explanations from staff are not precise enough to help pupils move through the curriculum securely. This is also the case in sixth-form lessons.
Some activity choices do not help pupils to build upon what they already know. Some pupils find it difficult to remember their learning over time.
Most classrooms are orderly and purposeful.
Typically, pupils are engaged and want to learn. However, low-level disruption is not always challenged by staff. There is inconsistency in how staff deal with misbehaviour in the classroom.
Often, there are positive relationships between staff and pupils around school. However, this inconsistency in standards can lead to negative interactions between some staff and pupils. Pupils are often removed from classrooms and the number of suspensions is high.
Pupils have mixed opinions about how staff help them to make better choices. Some pupils feel that staff are keen to listen and support them with their behaviour. Other pupils disagree.
Behaviour in the sixth form is notably more positive.
The behaviour of some pupils at social times is disruptive. Leaders have introduced a range of strategies to encourage a calm environment.
New lunchtime systems and lining up routines are beginning to have an impact.
A new curriculum for personal, social and health education (PSHE) has been recently introduced to support pupils' wider development, including in the sixth form. Pupils are taught about respect and tolerance.
They talk sensibly about consent and sexual harassment. However, as this curriculum is new, pupils have not learned about the full range of knowledge which will prepare them for life in modern Britain. Some pupils make inappropriate comments to each other.
Leaders take decisive action and provide targeted education to pupils who use unacceptable language.
Leaders have ensured that pupils are supported by effective careers advice. Pupils learn about the local job market and their full range of options when they are ready to leave school.
Older pupils receive personalised support. Sixth-form students encounter a range of experiences to ensure they make well-informed decisions. They have valuable individual support during form time.
The school meets the requirements of the Baker Clause, which requires schools to provide pupils in Years 8 to 13 with information about approved technical education qualifications and apprenticeships.
Leaders from the trust and governors have a clear view of the school's challenges and priorities. They are introducing a range of supportive measures to tackle behaviour and attendance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly hampered the ability for improvements to take root. There is a strategic plan in place for how leaders are moving the school's improvement forwards. Sixth form leaders are ambitious about developing the sixth form further.
They have plans to broaden the choice of courses available to students. Leaders are already introducing improvements to enrichment activities.
The majority of staff feel they are well supported by leaders.
They recognise efforts made by leaders to manage their workload, while trying to bring about positive change.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders have ensured that pupils are taught about how to keep themselves safe, inside and outside of school.
Leaders work closely with the police to make sure that pupils get clear messages about local risks and how to avoid them. Pupils also learn about online safety and talk sensibly about cyber-bullying and online risks.
Leaders know which pupils are vulnerable, and these pupils are tracked in weekly meetings to make sure they are kept safe.
Leaders work persistently with a range of external agencies to ensure that pupils and families who need additional support are able to get it.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• Some pupils find it difficult to regulate their behaviour. The number of suspensions and internal exclusions is high.
Low-level disruption is not always challenged by staff. Learning time is lost. Leaders should take further action to work with pupils to improve their behaviour in class and around school.
• Some teachers do not routinely check what all pupils know and remember. This means that some gaps in learning are not identified as quickly as they could be. Leaders should ensure that assessment is used effectively in lessons to ensure that pupils are able to move through the curriculum securely.
• The new PSHE curriculum is still being embedded. This means that pupils have not learned about some important topics that will prepare them for life in modern Britain. Leaders should ensure that this new curriculum is embedded across all year groups, including in the sixth form, to ensure that these messages are effectively delivered to pupils.
• There is a lack of clarity from leaders around some aspects of school improvement, notably around how the behaviour policy is implemented. This leads to confusion from staff and pupils about expectations. Leaders should ensure that policies are consistently applied to ensure swift improvements in behaviour.