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Zouch Academy continues to be a good school. There is enough evidence of improved performance to suggest that the school could be judged outstanding if we were to carry out a graded (section 5) inspection now. The school's next inspection will be a graded inspection.
What is it like to attend this school?
The well-being of pupils is a priority for leaders. Moral values underpin every action taken. Pupils and staff adhere to these.
As a result, expectations are high. Pupils feel safe. They welcome the respect and esteem that surrounds them.
Pupils enjoy school. They are eager to learn. From Nursery onwards, pupils behave well.
They follow established routines witho...ut fuss and bother. The 'CALM code' provides guidance on how to move around school sensibly. Pupils know that learning without disruption is a fundamental principle in the school.
Bullying is rare. Pupils know that staff deal with it effectively when it happens. Some older pupils are anti-bullying ambassadors who provide support for younger ones.
Teachers share their hobbies and pupils engage in knitting, origami, skipping and many sports because of this. Whenever possible, leaders ensure that pupils have a chance to join high-profile events such as Young Voices. Pupils go on residential trips to build resilience and challenge themselves.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders have designed an ambitious curriculum. In most subjects, leaders have organised what pupils need to know and when. This supports pupils' learning so that their knowledge deepens over time.
Leaders are aware of the few subjects that need further work and are developing them currently.
Teachers have secure subject knowledge because the school and the trust provide training regularly. Consequently, teachers explain clearly to pupils what they need to know.
Pupils develop a comprehensive vocabulary. Teachers encourage pupils to discuss their learning. This helps them to debate and consider their thoughts and ideas sensibly.
Pupils' ability to behave sensibly from Nursery to Year 6 allows them to concentrate on the task in hand. Assessment is used effectively. Teachers identify when there are gaps in learning and make sure pupils catch up quickly.
Pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) keep up with their peers. Teachers know how to adapt learning for pupils when necessary. Pupils with very complex needs learn together in a bespoke classroom.
They receive individualised support from highly skilled staff. Pupils make progress in managing their behaviour, as well as learning.
Reading is a priority.
Children learn basic letter sounds in the Nursery, which prepares them for starting phonics in Reception. Pupils learn to read and write quickly. Older pupils develop strong reading skills so that their understanding of writing techniques improves.
Pupils enjoy listening to their teachers reading stories to them. They appreciate the richness and diversity of literature. Around the school, there are attractive reading corners.
Pupils read in these quiet spaces regularly so that they build a lasting love of reading.
Pastoral support is of a very high quality. Pupils receive helpful support for aspects such as mental health and anxiety when needed.
Leaders make sure staff receive support for their well-being as well as pupils.
The personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) curriculum provides pupils with good advice on how to become responsible citizens. Pupils have many opportunities to understand leadership.
There are digital and reading leaders, playtime buddies and a head boy and girl. Pupils take pride in these roles. Pupils understand why British values are important.
Leaders have thought carefully about when to educate pupils about the natural changes in their bodies as they grow older. Pupils understand the importance of consent in relationships. Pupils' awareness of keeping themselves safe, especially when online, is at a suitably secure level.
Leaders take every opportunity to enhance pupils' knowledge. Every pupil experienced a science day, provided by an external visitor, on the first day of the inspection. Older pupils spoke excitedly of the explosions that had taken place.
Younger pupils learn to play the recorder with a visiting musician. An ex-reality television celebrity is an ambassador for the school. When taking on his own challenges, such as paddling around the United Kingdom, he shares a video link with the pupils.
They soon realise that just about anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
Trust leaders, including the new chief executive officer, have a firm grasp of what the school has achieved, as well as the few areas on which it needs to work.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
There are clear procedures and policies in place to ensure that pupils are safe. Leaders make sure that everyone is up to date with training. Staff know the pupils well.
They report any concerns without hesitation. Leaders work closely with pupils and their families. They make sure families get the support they need.
Leaders complete the appropriate checks to ensure that adults, including volunteers, are suitable to work in school.
The school has suitable policies in place to raise awareness among staff and parents about the dangers of sexual harassment, online sexual abuse and sexual violence.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
• In a few of the foundation subjects, the curriculum design is yet to be fully in place.
Consequently, pupils' knowledge is not deepening over time. Leaders must ensure that subject leaders are supported to make the necessary changes swiftly.
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 March 2017.
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