Airedale Academy

Name Airedale Academy
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 26 September 2017
Address Crewe Road, Airedale, Castleford, West Yorkshire, WF10 3JU
Phone Number 01977664555
Type Academy
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 907 (47% boys 53% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 15.2
Academy Sponsor Northern Ambition Academies Trust
Percentage Free School Meals 23.1%
Percentage English is Not First Language 4%

Information about this school

The school meets requirements on the publication of specified information on its website. The school complies with Department for Education guidance on what academies should publish. Airedale Academy is smaller than the average-sized secondary school. The number of pupils has increased since the last inspection. A small number of pupils attend the UCAN centre in Carlton, Pontefract, and a smaller number attend Wakefield College for part of their studies. Around half of the pupils are known to be entitled to free school meals. This is well above average. The majority of pupils are of White British heritage and the proportion of pupils from minority ethnic heritages is well below that found nationally. The proportion of pupils who have been identified by the school as requiring additional support for their special educational needs and/or disabilities is below average. The proportion of pupils who have an education, health and care plan to support their special educational needs and/or disabilities is average. The school meets the government’s floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for pupils’ progress and attainment. The school is part of the Northern Ambition Academies Trust with three local primary schools: Airedale Infant School, Airedale Junior School and Oyster Park Primary Academy. The school is a named partner within the teaching school alliance based at Outwood Grange Academy. A new principal has been appointed since the last inspection.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school Leaders have created a positive climate for learning underpinned by high levels of expectation in all areas of the school. Since her appointment in September 2016, the principal and her senior team have taken decisive action to improve inherent weaknesses which have hindered the progress of pupils in the past, such as the school’s previous examination entry policies and the nature of the curriculum being offered. Teaching is effective. The majority of pupils make good and improving progress from low starting points when they enter the school. Occasionally, teachers do not use the information they have about pupils’ current abilities to plan activities that help pupils to make consistently good progress. Disadvantaged pupils are making good and improving progress in relation to their peers and the differences in their performance and other pupils are reducing. Leaders are using pupil premium funding effectively to improve the attendance rates of disadvantaged pupils. However, attendance rates overall, although improving, remain below average. Pupils behave well. Strong relationships between staff and pupils are based on mutual trust and respect, which results in pupils’ positive attitude to learning. Pupils are safe and feel safe because of effective safeguarding arrangements and a comprehensive student well-being curriculum. Leaders provide comprehensive and effective advice, guidance and support to help pupils pursue courses that are well matched to their aptitudes and aspirations. The provision for post-16 students is good. Most students make good progress. The school has strong links with local employers and provides wide-ranging work experiences linked to students’ learning. Although senior leaders are taking effective steps to improve the quality and consistency of middle leadership, this remains an area for further development. Governors know the school well and are beginning to work with the academy trust to hold leaders to account more effectively. This remains an area for further development, along with the need to fill the existing vacancies on the academy council.