Darton Academy


Name Darton Academy
Ofsted Inspection Rating Inadequate
Inspection Date 18 October 2017
Address Ballfield Lane, Darton, Barnsley, S75 5EF
Phone Number 01226382568
Type Academy
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1160 (51% boys 49% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 20.2
Academy Sponsor Delta Academies Trust
Local Authority Barnsley
Percentage Free School Meals 15.1%

Information about this school

The school does not meet requirements on the publication of information about the content of its curriculum in each academic year for every subject on its website. Darton College is larger than the average-size secondary school. The principal was appointed in 2014 and is a national leader of education (NLE). The Barnsley Alliance has brokered support from local schools, including Penistone Grammar School and Horizon Community College. The proportion of pupils from minority ethnic groups or who speak English as an additional language is well below the national average. The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for support through the pupil premium is well above the national average. The proportion of pupils who have SEN and/or disabilities is above average. The proportion of pupils with an education, health and care plan is also above the national average. The school meets the government’s 2016 floor standards, which sets the minimum expectations for pupils’ attainment and progress. The school has been identified by the Department for Education as a ‘coasting school’ because the standards pupils reached over the last three years have not been below the national standard. A small proportion of Year 11 pupils attend Barnsley College.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is an inadequate school Leaders and managers lack the capacity to improve the school. For far too long, pupils have received a poor deal and have not made the progress they are capable of making. Leaders have failed to improve the quality of teaching. Weak and ineffective teaching and assessment, within departments and across the school, fails to meet the needs of pupils. Leaders have rightly acknowledged that key stage 4 outcomes were ‘shocking’. This is the latest in a long line of depressingly poor achievement. Leaders have made poor curriculum decisions. Key stage 4 pupils are receiving fewer mathematics lessons at the very time they need them most. Leaders’ plans for improvement are unwieldy and unrealistic and are a poor tool for driving rapid improvement. Middle leaders do not have an accurate grasp on the weaknesses in their departments. Training and professional support has not had a significant impact. Governors are failing to effectively hold leaders and managers to account. Governors do not have a close enough watch on the impact that additional funding is having on pupils’ progress. Pupils’ attendance is too low. Leaders have not done enough over time to improve this poor picture of performance. Progress, especially in key subjects, including English, mathematics and science, is inadequate. The school has the following strengths The headteacher and governors have successfully tackled the financial deficit and managed significant staff turnover. The school has an inclusive ethos and works hard to ensure that all pupils feel safe, secure and welcomed. Persistent absence rates are now in line with national averages. Leaders ensure that pupils, including the most vulnerable pupils, are safe. Nurture groups provide an effective support for vulnerable pupils and, because of improved teaching, the progress of many of these pupils is starting to improve.