Vale of Evesham School


Name Vale of Evesham School
Website http://valeofeveshamschool.org
Ofsted Inspection Rating Inadequate
Inspection Date 06 November 2019
Address Four Pools Lane, Evesham, Worcestershire, WR11 1BN
Phone Number 01386443367
Type Academy (special)
Age Range 2-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 193 (68% boys 32% girls)
Academy Sponsor Advance Trust
Local Authority Worcestershire
Percentage Free School Meals 27.8%
Percentage English is Not First Language 9.8%
Persisitent Absence 29%
Pupils with SEN Support 15.5%
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils enjoy coming to this school. They get a warm welcome on arrival. Pupils who can, say that they feel safe in school. Sadly, though, this is not always the case. Over time, leaders and governors have not paid enough attention to all the different actions they should take to keep everyone safe.

Pupils are usually supported well to manage their behaviour, but there are times when pupils behave in an unsafe way. When this is the case, staff do not intervene quickly enough to keep them safe. Pupils say that bullying is not a problem at school. They know they can talk to a member of staff who will help them with any problems. Pupils enjoy wide-ranging experiences, such as clubs and trips.

Staff use information about every pupil thoughtfully to plan activities that will help pupils learn new skills and remember more about different subjects. However, leaders have not thought carefully enough about the order in which pupils will learn the content of some subjects. Older pupils do not have a wide enough choice of courses they can take before they leave school. The most able pupils are not being challenged enough to achieve higher qualifications.

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

Leaders, governors and the trust do not have a good enough understanding about what is and is not working properly at the school. As a result, they have not taken the actions they should to make sure it is running smoothly. The school’s self-evaluation and development planning are weak. Leadership capacity has been reduced in the last year and, currently, responsibilities are unclear. Safeguarding practices are poor. Leaders have not done what they should to keep pupils safe. The headteacher, in the short time she has been in post, has quickly understood the issues that need to be addressed. She has already begun to make improvements to the school.

Leaders want to ensure that pupils are excited about their learning. They know that pupils have wide-ranging abilities and so need different activities and support to help them learn new skills and knowledge. Leaders are changing the curriculum to make these things happen, but they still have a lot of work to do to put these changes into practice.

Teachers plan activities which match pupils’ individual needs. They encourage more-able pupils to work independently. Subject leaders plan mathematics well to help pupils know more and remember more. In humanities, inspectors saw pupils using their knowledge from previous lessons to help them re-enact the Simon de Montfort story, and sort recycling materials successfully. However, leaders have not got a good enough grasp of what is being taught in all subjects. They have not ensured that all subjects follow the agreed assessment system.Pupils get good support to help them to develop their language and communication skills from the moment they start school. This is because staff are trained well to do this. Staff work closely with speech and language therapists, ensuring pupils are getting the right help they need. Children in the early years are given fun activities to help them learn new skills. Phonics and early reading are taught well in this part of the school. Children enjoy rhymes and songs and listening to stories. However, there is some variation in the quality of the experiences pupils get from class to class.

Leaders know that learning to read is important for pupils, but some classes do not promote a love of reading well enough. This is because books are stored in a haphazard way, or not cared for. Leaders have not mapped out the range of books that teachers use. This means that they cannot make sure that pupils experience a range of different types of books, such as fiction and non-fiction, in a systematic way.

Leaders plan careers education well. Pupils benefit from well-planned work experience. Older pupils have a wide range of opportunities to work outside the classroom, including participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, for example. They are actively involved in charity work and the school parliament. However, in key stage 4, pupils access a limited range of accreditations. They do not have the opportunity to gain qualifications in physical education or humanities subjects. This is also the case for students in the sixth form. While students benefit from attending the local college, the most able students are not being challenged to achieve the higher-level qualifications of which they are capable.

Staff put a lot of thought into planning how to help pupils manage their behaviour, and expectations are clear. As a result, there are convincing examples of individual pupils’ behaviour improving over time. They support pupils well, especially when moving around the building. However, on several occasions, inspectors saw pupils being less well supervised in class and during breaktimes. As a result, pupils are not kept as safe as they should be. The use of physical interventions is high, and staff do not report them consistently well.

Pupils benefit from a wide range of activities and experiences to support their personal development and improve their self-esteem. Leaders use additional funding to enhance pupils’ experiences. Pupils’ lunchtimes have improved considerably over time. Pupils enjoy opportunities to play basketball or ride bicycles at lunchtime, in a safe way. Food is of a high quality. Pupils help to plan menus and can make healthy choices. A range of after-school clubs are available, but there is limited take-up by pupils. Leaders have not given any thought to why this may be the case. Staff work well with parents to help improve the range of choices pupils make. Parents speak highly of the school.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are not effective.The trust has not made sure that leaders and governors are trained well enough in safeguarding to enable them to carry out their legal responsibilities. Recruitment practice when new staff are being appointed is poor. As a result, pupils are being put at risk of harm. The recently appointed designated safeguarding lead (DSL) has poor oversight of safeguarding arrangements. Too many people can access confidential files. Concerns have not been reported to appropriate agencies. Leaders have not ensured that the safeguarding policy is personalised to the school or that there is sufficient consideration of the specific risks in the early years. Leaders have not been tenacious enough in following up child protection concerns. Leaders have not ensured safe practice in the storage or administration of medication.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

Safeguarding practice in the school is poor. Leaders and governors do not have a good understanding of safer recruitment. They have not made sure that the DSL is supported to carry out his responsibilities effectively. Staff are not trained well enough. There are too many examples of where pupils are being put at potential or actual risk of harm. Leaders should ensure that all aspects of safeguarding, from policy to practice, are improved as a matter of urgency so that pupils are not being put at risk of harm. . Leaders and governors do not have a good enough strategic understanding of all aspects of the school’s work. Their self-evaluation and development planning are weak. The instability of leadership over the last year, coupled with the trust’s ‘light touch’ support has meant that there are unclear lines of responsibility and accountability. Leaders should ensure that there are clearly defined roles and responsibilities for members of staff so that they can be held accountable for their actions. They should ensure that the school’s self-evaluation accurately reflects the school and informs school development planning. . The school’s new curriculum has not been coherently planned and sequenced over time. There is a lack of clarity about subject content for some areas, particularly in the key stage 3 curriculum. Curriculum content in key stages 4 and 5 does not provide enough opportunities for pupils to gain a wide range of accreditation. The most able students are not challenged well enough to achieve higher levels of accreditation in the sixth form. Leaders should ensure that the curriculum is suitably broad, cohesive and sequenced so that pupils can build on their previous learning and reach the highest standards of which they are capable. . Leaders have not put a strong enough emphasis on the importance of reading. They should ensure that there is clear planning of reading opportunities across all key stages, and they should assure themselves that classroom areas promote a love of books and provide access to a range of books that interest and engage pupils.