West Park Academy

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About West Park Academy

Name West Park Academy
Ofsted Inspections
Mrs Sam Hirst
Address Alderman Leach Drive, Darlington, DL2 2GF
Phone Number 01325380792
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 3-11
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 460
Local Authority Darlington
Highlights from Latest Inspection


West Park Academy continues to be a good school.

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are happy at this vibrant school. They enthusiastically engage in a curriculum designed to help them understand who they are, where they come from and who they aspire to be.

Leaders have high expectations for all pupils.

Pupils achieve well across the curriculum, particularly in reading and phonics. They behave well in lessons and during social times. Pupils say that bullying rarely happens, and, if it does, they are confident that leaders will deal with it swiftly and effectively.

Adults know the pupils extremely well. If pupils have any worries, they let teachers know ...at a daily 'emotional check in'. Staff respond quickly to these worries and put support in place for pupils if needed.

Pupils feel safe at school.

Pupils take part in a range of visits, for example to an Anglo-Saxon farm and village. They talk with excitement about how this helped their learning in history.

Parents and carers are overwhelmingly positive in their view of the school. Many praised the support given to pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

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

Leaders have designed a curriculum that is ambitious and relevant to pupils, including those with SEND.

Across the curriculum, there are links to the local area. For example, pupils study the history and geography of the river Tees. These links often include a visit, and together they help pupils to understand where they come from.

In foundation subjects, pupils research an enquiry question. This allows them to apply the knowledge they have learned in an evaluative way.

Subject leaders are experts in their subject.

They have carefully selected the knowledge that pupils will learn and have designed a curriculum that builds from Reception through to Year 6. In core subjects, teachers regularly check pupils' knowledge and help pupils to catch up with daily interventions if needed. In some foundation subjects, pupils' learning is not checked as frequently as it could be.

As a result, leaders do not know how well pupils are achieving in these subjects and teachers do not consistently identify gaps in pupils' knowledge.

Reading is a priority across the school. Children learn to read as soon as they start in Reception.

Staff who deliver phonics have a thorough understanding of the programme and are highly effective in its delivery. Published outcomes show that pupils achieve well in phonics and reading across the school. Pupils who need extra help with phonics or reading are quickly identified and receive targeted support to fill gaps in their knowledge.

Across the school, pupils read daily. They talk with enthusiasm about their favourite books. Pupils enjoy reading at West Park Academy.

The school's work in supporting pupils with SEND is particularly strong. As a result of this, pupils with SEND achieve well, based on their individual starting points. Staff work closely with parents and outside agencies to ensure that teachers have a thorough understanding of the needs of each individual pupil.

Teachers use this information to adapt their lessons effectively. A small number of pupils access an alternative curriculum in the 'hub' provision. This curriculum is carefully designed to meet the needs of the pupils.

The staff delivering the curriculum are experts in SEND. The pupils in the hub are thriving.

Leaders have established effective systems to track attendance and identify and provide support for pupils who are absent more than their peers.

As a result, attendance is high. A clear system is in place across school to encourage positive behaviour. Pupils understand the system.

Staff implement it consistently across school. As a result, the school is calm and orderly, and pupils demonstrate positive behaviours for learning.

Leaders have created an effective personal development curriculum.

This includes weekly 'circle time' and 'picture news'. These sessions provide a chance for pupils to debate topical issues from within school, the local area, and the national and international news. This helps pupils to understand more about the world in which they live.

The school is developing a careers offer. Previous pupils visit the school to share their experiences of further education and careers. This helps pupils to decide who they aspire to be.

Staff are proud to work at West Park Academy. They feel supported by the school's leaders, who are mindful of their workload and well-being. Leaders have adapted the marking policy to reduce staff workload.

Those responsible for governance have a strong oversite of the school and are ambitious for its future.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• Assessment is not yet well embedded across some foundation subjects.

As a result, staff do not consistently identify gaps in pupils' knowledge. The school should ensure that all foundation subjects have a systematic approach to assessment.


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 second ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be good in March 2015.

Also at this postcode
West Park Out of School club Kids 1st - Darlington

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