Weatherfield Academy

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About Weatherfield Academy

Name Weatherfield Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Headteacher Headteacher Liam Meenan
Address Brewers Hill Road, Dunstable, LU6 1AF
Phone Number 01582605632
Phase Academy (special)
Type Academy special converter
Age Range 7-19
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 165
Local Authority Central Bedfordshire
Highlights from Latest Inspection


Weatherfield Academy continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils speak about how peaceful their school is. Most are at ease in their surroundings.

Pupils, including those in the sixth form, develop trusting relationships with each other and with staff. Pupils, all of whom have special educational needs and/or disabilities, feel safe. There is little bullying.

Pupils develop the self-awareness to resolve any 'little dramas' that occur. Pupils also trust adults to help them if they find things tough.

Most pupils respond splendidly to staff's high expectations for their behaviour.

Pupils often collaborate with classmates as t...hey go about their studies. They continue to develop social skills at break- and lunchtimes. Lunch in the dining hall is a happy, sociable affair as pupils show 'manners at mealtimes'.

Pupils are keen to earn a green card and be eligible for one of the 'lucky little trips' that staff run for them.

Pupils study a combination of subjects from the national curriculum and courses focused on preparation for adult life. Pupils are taught, and like, to read.

They make good use of the school's new reading room. Pupils love their time learning on the school farm and speak knowledgeably about how they care for the alpacas and other animals.

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

The number of pupils on roll at this popular school is growing.

Mindful of this, and of pupils' changing needs, leaders are altering aspects of the curriculum. Leaders' ambition that pupils will 'become the best person they can be' underpins the broad, flexible curriculum they are adapting. In a few areas, leaders' work to develop the curriculum is not yet complete.

Leaders have not evaluated the impact of some of the changes they have made.

Pupils' needs and potential are the starting point for the curriculum. Leaders provide staff with a comprehensive overview of each pupil's needs in a pupil progress report (PPR).

PPRs are informed by a thorough induction programme through which leaders gather information from pupils, parents, schools and other agencies. Staff use PPRs to adapt the curriculum that pupils learn and how it is taught. Leaders review pupils' PPRs so that teachers have up-to-date information and can adjust their teaching accordingly.

Leaders have invested considerable resources to promote reading. Many pupils develop and sustain a love of reading. Pupils read with adults every day.

Pupils look forward to their visits to the 'colourful and unique' new reading room. Most adults use the school's chosen phonics scheme to give early readers effective support to become confident, fluent readers. On occasion, a few adults do not choose the most suitable strategies to help pupils tackle tricky words.

Subject leaders have laid out what pupils should learn. Leaders choose content that builds pupils' knowledge over time. Teachers have a good knowledge of most subjects.

They give pupils regular reminders of what they have studied in the past. Teachers break down new learning into manageable chunks. In lessons, they usually communicate clearly and emphasise important words.

Teachers are quick to spot and praise pupils' successes and move them on in their learning. Pupils remember important knowledge and gain confidence. Yet, this practice is not embedded in a few recently developed areas of the curriculum.

Where this is the case, a few teachers' instruction and modelling of what they expect from pupils lacks precision. This means some pupils are less clear about what they are expected to do and their progress is slower.

Leaders provide pupils with high-quality pastoral support.

For example, pupils have access to play, music, behaviour and speech and language therapists. Pupils learn important messages about respect and empathy. They become more confident, reflective and self-aware.

This is evident in pupils' improving behaviour and positive attitudes to their education.

All pupils in key stages 4 and 5 study courses that prepare them for the world of work. Leaders have established productive partnerships with local colleges and businesses to prepare pupils well for the next stages of their lives.

Pupils say the careers advice they receive helps 'open up [my] options'. They are well placed to make informed decisions about their futures. Over the past few years, all pupils leaving the school have moved on to further education, training or employment.

Governors and trustees seek, and make effective use of, external audits to hold senior leaders accountable for the impact of their work. Staff are proud to work at the school. They are playing their full part in the improvements being made.

However, some staff expressed concern at the pace and volume of changes taking place.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Acting on the findings of external audits, leaders have made sure safeguarding is a prominent feature of the school's culture and work.

Staff are alert to any signs that a pupil may be at risk of abuse. Leaders act promptly on any concerns that staff raise. This means pupils get the help that they need.

Pupils are taught strategies to keep themselves safe. For example, they understand the importance of keeping personal information private when online.

Governors make sure the school's single central record of pre-appointment checks reflects the robust recruitment processes in place.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• The curriculum is changing. Some curriculum leaders have not checked the quality of what pupils learn. In a small number of subjects, a few teachers do not choose the most suitable content and learning activities.

This means that pupils are not as clear about what is expected of them. Leaders need to complete their assessment of how well the curriculum is taught. They should then make sure that teachers deliver the curriculum equally well in all subjects.

• Leaders, including trustees and governors, need to take stock of the changes they have introduced. They should then review timescales to ensure improvements that they are making continue to be manageable and sustainable.


When we have judged a school to be good, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains good.

This is called an ungraded inspection, and it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on an ungraded inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act.

Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.

This is the first ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be good in November 2017.

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