Whitefriars School

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About Whitefriars School

Name Whitefriars School
Website http://www.whitefriarsschool.net
Ofsted Inspections
Executive Headteacher Mr Pritam Vekaria
Address Whitefriars Avenue, Wealdstone, Harrow, HA3 5RQ
Phone Number 02084272080
Phase Academy
Type Academy converter
Age Range 3-18
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1514
Local Authority Harrow
Highlights from Latest Inspection

What is it like to attend this school?

Pupils are happy at this calm, inclusive school. There has been much change in the last 12 months. The new leadership team is clear in its ambition for the school and the standards it has set.

The impact of the changes can be seen and felt in every area of the school. Staff expect pupils to do well, and pupils are learning to rise to this challenge.

This is a school where everyone is welcome and encouraged to do their best.

There is a sense of community and belonging forged between the primary and secondary phases. When new pupils join, they are welcomed into the community. Pupils are kept safe and feel safe because there are systems in place to support them ...if any problems should arise.

Bullying is rare. If it does occur, pupils know staff will act swiftly to resolve it.

Pupils behave well in lessons and during unstructured times.

They are given opportunities to develop their own leadership skills through the community group, who are working to improve the school and the local environment. They relish the opportunities to learn outside the classroom, for example by taking part in the primary 'mini-Duke of Edinburgh's Award' scheme.

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

The new leadership team has rightly focused on improving the curriculum.

It recognises that over time, the curriculum has not been designed or implemented well enough to support pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding across different subjects. Consequently, published outcomes for pupils, including in external examinations, have been low, and pupils have not been sufficiently prepared for the next stage of their education.

Leaders have made significant changes to ensure the planned curriculum matches the scope and ambition of what is expected nationally.

In most subjects, leaders have thought carefully about what pupils should learn and when. Important ideas are well sequenced so that pupils build their knowledge over time. For example, in mathematics, there is a focus on securing calculation skills.

This helps pupils to tackle more complex concepts as they move through the school. However, there are times when the tasks pupils are given do not match the ambition of the revised curriculum. This is more common in the secondary phase where the curriculum in some subjects is not as fully developed.

In these instances, pupils do not build as secure knowledge and understanding over time.

In the primary phase, teachers use assessment effectively to check what pupils have learned. Appropriate time is given to practise and embed key ideas before new topics are introduced.

In the secondary phase and sixth form, this is less secure. Assessment does not consistently match what the pupils are learning. Teachers are sometimes not able to identify and address important misconceptions; this limits some pupils' readiness to progress through the intended curriculum.

Children in early years, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), get off to a strong start. The curriculum is well designed and provides children with a range of opportunities for learning and language development. Rich opportunities ensure children develop secure social and emotional skills.

For example, there is a focus on routine, being patient, taking turns and self-regulation.

Pupils' early reading is prioritised. Staff have been well trained to use the school's chosen programme.

Pupils' reading is checked so that any who fall behind are given extra support to catch up. Pupils read books which are closely matched to the sounds they have learned. This helps them to read with increasing accuracy and fluency.

Most older pupils read confidently. Pupils who are new to the country and speak English as an additional language are given additional help to catch up with their peers.

Leaders have ensured there are effective systems in place to identify the needs of all pupils, including those with SEND.

Information is communicated well with teachers. This enables them to adapt tasks and activities so that wherever possible, pupils access the same curriculum as their peers.

The new leadership team has introduced an effective behaviour strategy for the secondary phase.

This builds on the well-established practice that is embedded in the primary phase. As a result, pupils understand the expectations of behaviour and routinely behave well in lessons and at breaktimes and lunchtimes. Any incidents which do occur are dealt with swiftly by staff who feel well supported by leaders.

The school has developed strong systems for supporting pupils who do not attend school regularly. As a result, pupils' attendance is improving.

There is a strong focus on pupils' personal development.

The curriculum has been designed to help pupils understand significant issues such as the importance of diversity and respect. There is a well-designed and extensive careers programme. This helps to ensure that pupils, including students in the sixth form, are well prepared for the next stage of their education, employment or training.

The school is well led. Leaders, including those responsible for governance, understand the strengths of the school and have clear plans in place to secure further improvements. They have created an environment where staff are happy in their work and are fulsome in their praise of changes leaders have affected.

Staff recognise the extensive initiatives in place to manage workload and well-being.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

• In some subjects, the knowledge pupils should learn and remember has not been as clearly identified.

As a result, there is not a consistent focus on these concepts and assessment is not used precisely to check what pupils have learned. This means that misconceptions are not routinely identified or addressed which limits pupils' achievement in these subjects. The school should ensure that the knowledge pupils need to learn is clarified across the curriculum so that teaching and assessment can be more closely matched with what pupils should be learning.

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