Inspection Dates: 28-29th January 2020

Overall effectiveness Good
The quality of education Good
Behaviour and attitudes Good
Personal development Good
Leadership and management Good
Previous inspection grade Good

What is it like to attend this school? 

The headteacher and staff are working to make this good school even better. They have demonstrated the capacity to make this happen. They prepare pupils well for successful and happy lives.

Pupils come to this school from many different backgrounds. They gel quickly and get along well. Pupils that we spoke to told us that they feel safe. They can be themselves in this school community. Bullying is rare. It is sorted out quickly if it does happen.

Pupils are happy, confident and upbeat. They value education. Pupils are considerate of others, behave well and try hard in class.

Most pupils achieve well in their examinations. Staff are always thinking of new ways to provide a stimulating and ambitious curriculum. At its best, such as in art and English, the curriculum is very strong. Here, pupils are inspired by their learning. They have opportunities to think hard and tackle complex ideas. In most other subjects, the curriculum is delivered well. Pupils are provided the knowledge and skills they need to be successful.

Pupils value the wider curriculum. It provides pupils with extra activities and school trips. Many pupils use these opportunities. Staff think about and add to what they provide, so that there is something for everyone.

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

Leaders make sure that pupils get to learn those things which will enrich their lives. They also want pupils to achieve good examination results. The quality of education which pupils receive has really improved since the last inspection. Pupils get a good deal across almost every subject.

Leaders have tackled disadvantaged pupils’ weak attendance and achievement. The attendance of many disadvantaged pupils has improved this year. Their better attendance helps these pupils achieve well. However, some disadvantaged pupils, and some pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), still do not attend regularly enough. These pupils sometimes miss out on important learning.

This is a large school, of almost fifteen hundred pupils. Leaders collect information about pupils regularly. Often leaders use this information well. For example, they have listened to pupils’ concerns about a lack of healthy catering options provided at break and lunchtimes. At other times, leaders do not analyse and act upon the information they have collected so well.

Teachers visit the primary schools from which pupils come. This gives them a good understanding of what pupils who are joining the school in Year 7 know and can do.

As a result, as soon as pupils start at the school, teachers are able to plan work which is securely built on pupils’ prior learning.

Staff plan a wide-ranging and thought-provoking curriculum in key stage 3. Teachers prepare pupils well to study subjects at key stage 4. They also make sure that pupils who do not follow a subject through to GCSE have the knowledge and skills they need to be well prepared for the future.

The key stage 4 curriculum is designed to spark pupils’ interest. Curriculum plans are delivered well. Staff provide subject expertise and enthusiasm. They do not overly focus on examination skills and practice questions. Instead, they place emphasis on more ambitious activities. These activities encourage pupils to think more deeply and develop a wider range of knowledge.

Pupils follow courses at key stage 4 which match their needs and interests. Many pupils choose to follow academic courses. Arts-based and technical courses are also popular. Leaders make sure that pupils know of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) opportunities. A significant proportion of pupils follow courses which meet the requirements of EBacc. This includes disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND.

Pupils learn about life in and around Stockport and the wider world. Pupils are well prepared to contribute and make a difference to the world in which we live.

Trustees play their part in shaping the school’s vision. However, some trustees need further training, so that they are fully conversant with The Equality Act 2010. Nevertheless, trustees help secure a good quality of education for all pupils, including those with SEND and disadvantaged pupils. This includes those pupils in the specially resourced provision for pupils with SEND (specially resourced provision). Leaders check that pupils in the specially resourced provision have equal access to the curriculum and are included in all aspects of school life.

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