|Name||Harris Academy Falconwood|
|Ofsted Inspection Rating||Good|
|Inspection Date||16 October 2019|
|Address||The Green, Welling, Kent, DA16 2PE|
|Religious Character||Does not apply|
|Number of Pupils||1181 (53% boys 47% girls)|
|Number of Pupils per Teacher||16.6|
|Academy Sponsor||Harris Federation|
|Percentage Free School Meals||8.6%|
|Percentage English is Not First Language||10.8%|
|Pupils with SEN Support||12.2%|
|Catchment Area Information Available||Yes, our catchment area data is FREE|
|Last Distance Offered Information Available||No|
What is it like to attend this school?
Pupils are well mannered and considerate. They told us how, when new to the school, they made friends quickly. Pupils feel safe in the school because there are plenty of staff around to help them. Bullying does not happen often here and, if it does, pupils are confident that the adults will sort things out.
Leaders have high expectations of pupils’ behaviour and are ambitious for their academic achievement. We found that pupils are insightful. They expressed their views confidently and have clear ideas about what helps them to learn well. Pupils value their education and the fact that teachers give them extra help with their work, especially at examination times. Pupils attend school very regularly. They arrive on time to school and to lessons. Pupils are keen to learn about the next steps in their education and for life in the world beyond school.
There are lots of interesting and exciting activities and clubs on offer, especially for younger pupils, including trampolining, cookery, trips to museums and sports events. However, pupils do not benefit as much as they should because not as many pupils take up these opportunities as leaders intend.
What does the school do well and what does it need to do better?
Pupils achieve well in a broad range of subjects. Over the last three years, an increasing number of pupils in Years 10 and 11 study a modern foreign language, as well as mathematics, English, science and history or geography. This leads to an increasing proportion gaining the English Baccalaureate qualification each year. In the 2017/18 academic year, leaders entered pupils in Year 11 for the English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) qualification to gain GCSE examination practice and improve pupils’ literacy skills. Since then, no pupils have been entered for this qualification.
In the past, pupils began their GCSE courses in Year 9. Leaders have redesigned the curriculum in Years 7 to 9 so that pupils study a wide range of subjects over the whole of key stage 3. Currently, there remain limited opportunities for pupils to study some subjects, for example music and computer science, in the same depth as other subjects after Year 8. Leaders ensure that pupils gain sufficient experience of these subjects and provide pupils with a broad curriculum in key stage 3. However, there are fewer opportunities for pupils to pursue interests and talents, and learn more in music and computer science, higher up the school. Leaders have already taken steps to address this to ensure that pupils can build their knowledge in all subjects in Years 7 to 11 in the future.
Leaders organise an extensive range of high-quality educational outings for older pupils, including students in the sixth form. These are usually linked to the subjects that pupils are studying. Pupils’ wider experiences beyond their academic studies are limited.
Leaders have carefully planned what they want pupils to learn, and when, in all subjects. Teachers are beginning to use these plans well. When they do, pupils recognise that what they learn builds on their work from earlier lessons and previous years. Teachers give pupils useful advice to help them to learn and remember key facts. Pupils are motivated and enthused by learning more and applying their knowledge. This is particularly the case in the sixth form. However, where leaders’ plans are not followed, pupils find work difficult because they do not have prior knowledge to help them to understand new concepts. As a result, sometimes, pupils’ attitudes to their work become less positive than is usually the case. Pupils become distracted and time in lessons is wasted.
Well-trained staff skilfully meet the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). They identify how best to support pupils with SEND and help them to achieve well. Pupils with SEND and those who are disadvantaged receive the extra help they need to study the same range of subjects as others.
Leaders have a well-established and well-organised programme to support pupils’ personal development. Teachers encourage pupils’ personal and social skills and their understanding of topics, including healthy lifestyles, financial management, democracy and e-safety. This programme encourages pupils to develop skills and knowledge about the world of work. Some pupils and students in the sixth form told us that the school’s careers advice and guidance have not been particularly helpful. They have not felt confident when making decisions about their next steps in education or employment. In the past, this has meant that some pupils have left the school at the end of Year 12 because the courses that they had started were not the best ones for them. Recently, leaders have increased the opportunities that pupils in Years 9, 10 and 11 have to find out about courses on offer and the qualifications they need for a wide range of careers. The proportion of students leaving the sixth form at the end of Year 12 in 2019 decreased considerably compared with 2018.
Leaders know how well subjects are taught across the school and where improvements are needed. They meet regularly with the team of teachers who teach the same subject. Subject leaders make sure that teachers know how subjects should be taught and provide teachers with professional development, support and training. Leaders draw upon support from the trust, for example to help non-specialist teachers to develop their knowledge of the subjects that they teach.
Surveys carried out by the school indicate that staff feel that leaders take their well-being into account. Leaders have taken steps to help staff to manage the pressures of high workload. They recognise this as an ongoing priority.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Staff are familiar with current safeguarding issues and are alert to risks that pupils might face in their everyday lives. Pupils feel safe and know who to go to if they need help. The safeguarding and pastoral teams are well trained and take effectiveaction when staff or pupils raise concerns. They work closely with outside agencies to safeguard pupils’ well-being when needed. Leaders, including governors, take their safeguarding responsibilities very seriously. They ensure that the required checks are made on all staff and that record-keeping is well organised.
What does the school need to do to improve?
(Information for the school and appropriate authority)
Leaders have newly revised, well-designed and ambitious plans for the school’s curriculum offer. The extent to which these plans are put into practice varies within and between departments. Leaders need to ensure that teachers teach the key content that leaders want pupils to learn and remember in each subject. . Leaders should ensure that pupils in all year groups participate in a wide range of activities and clubs to broaden their outlook and experiences. . Some pupils told us that they did not feel well prepared to make choices about the next steps in their education, including when making study choices for the sixth form. Leaders need to enhance the careers education programme so that pupils are helped to make well-informed decisions about their subject and pathway choices at key stage 4 and in the sixth form. . The transition arrangements were taken into account on this inspection. Leaders have newly revised curriculum plans for all subjects taught in the school. It is clear from the actions leaders have already taken that they are in the process of bringing about the effective implementation of their plans for music and computing.