Furness Academy


Name Furness Academy
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 19 September 2017
Address Park Drive, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA13 9BB
Phone Number 01229484270
Type Academy
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 863 (54% boys 46% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 15.3
Academy Sponsor Furness Education Trust
Local Authority Cumbria
Percentage Free School Meals 23.8%
Percentage English is Not First Language 0.6%

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. Furness Academy became a sponsored academy in 2009, bringing together three predecessor schools on two sites. In 2013 the school moved to a new building on a single site. BAE systems took over sponsorship in September 2015. From January 2012 to April 2015 the school required special measures. At the last inspection, it was judged to require improvement. The school has undergone substantial changes since the last inspection. The current headteacher took up post in September 2015 and a new governing body was formed. Over 20 teaching staff and 40 support staff have left the school. Six new teachers and 12 support staff have started. The school is smaller than the average-sized secondary school. The vast majority of pupils are of White British heritage. The proportion of disadvantaged pupils is well above average. The proportion of pupils who receive support for special educational needs and/or disabilities is below average overall. The proportion who have a statement of special education needs or an education, health and care plan is well above average. The school did not meet the government’s floor standards in 2016, which are the minimum expectations of pupils’ attainment and progress. The school also met the Department for Education’s definition of a coasting school based on key stage 4 academic performance results in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Floor standards for 2017 were not published at the time of the inspection. The school uses alternative provision for a very small number of pupils, from Cowan Park Farm and Dropzone. A small number attend South Cumbria Pupil Referral Unit. The school works in partnership with Ulverston Victoria High School and is part of the Furness Education Consortium and Cumbria Association of System Leaders.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school Since the last inspection, the new headteacher has inspired positive changes in the school. Staff are invigorated, morale is high and pupils are proud to be part of the school. Leadership at all levels has been restructured to make the best use of staff’s skills. Everyone works together successfully to secure improvements. Teaching, learning and assessment have improved substantially due to staff reorganisation, highly effective quality assurance and well-planned training. Revisions to schemes of work, rigorous progress tracking and new policies have raised expectations of what pupils should achieve. Pupils rise to teachers’ higher expectations for their behaviour and the quality of their work. Good teaching is increasing pupils’ progress and raising standards across the school. Pupils get off to a flying start in Year 7, where teachers build on their prior learning successfully. In Years 8 and 9, increasing proportions of pupils work at standards expected for their age, having made good progress from their starting points. The much-improved approach to curriculum planning is ensuring that pupils in Years 10 and 11 are better prepared for examinations. However, these pupils still have gaps in their learning due to weaker provision in the past. The GCSE results in 2017 were better than the very low results of 2016, but still below average. The school’s externally moderated assessments show that outcomes are continuing to improve. There is a calm and encouraging atmosphere around school and in classrooms. Pupils typically engage fully in their learning, are respectful and take care of their school. The school’s procedures to keep pupils safe and free from risk are extremely rigorous. Bullying is rare and pupils say that they feel safe. The care and support for the most vulnerable pupils and those who have special educational needs and/or disabilities are a particular strength. The governing body provides clear strategic direction and governors have the skills to sustain challenge and improvement. Thorough checks on teaching and learning ensure that leaders know the areas that require further improvement. Work has started to promote pupils’ literacy, numeracy and verbal skills more explicitly, but they are not yet developed consistently well in all subjects. Most groups of pupils are now making better progress from their starting points. Occasionally, the most able pupils in mixed-ability teaching groups do not deepen their learning.