Oldfield School


Name Oldfield School
Website http://oldfieldschool.com/
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 21 January 2020
Address Kelston Road, Bath, Somerset, BA1 9AB
Phone Number 01225423582
Type Academy
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 1214 (48% boys 52% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 17.4
Academy Sponsor Oldfield School
Local Authority Bath and North East Somerset
Percentage Free School Meals 10.6%
Percentage English is Not First Language 6.7%
Persisitent Absence 14.6%
Pupils with SEN Support 4.7%
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?

Oldfield school has changed considerably since its previous inspection. Not only has the school grown in size, but it now admits both girls and boys. Leaders have managed this transition effectively. In many respects, they have established a new school, based on positive relationships and an ambition to be truly inclusive. Pupils reach standards that compare well with other schools.

The majority of pupils are courteous and respectful as they go about their day. Pupils recognise that behaviour has improved because staff have fair and consistent expectations of them. Pupils say that bullying is rare but if it does occur staff will deal with it swiftly.

Where teachers have high expectations, most pupils concentrate well in lessons. They are keen to discuss what they have learned with each other. However, at times some pupils lose focus and do not complete work to the best of their ability.

Leaders encourage pupils to be involved in the life of their school. The extensive work of the school council and the Year 11 prefect team illustrates this well. Pupils spoke of the many clubs and activities that they are involved in. Parents, too, recognise this as a strength of the school.

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

A larger proportion of pupils than is typical nationally study subjects that make up the English Baccalaureate in key stage 4. The newly appointed subject leader has quickly got to work to promote modern foreign languages and an appreciation of the culture of other countries. Year 7 pupils, for example, are looking forward to their forthcoming trip to Barcelona or Paris.

Subject leaders have good subject knowledge. They use this to think carefully about what pupils need to know. In some subjects, leaders have identified the things that pupils find difficult. In science, for example, pupils’ ability to write about their practical investigations at GCSE has been improved by refining the curriculum in key stage 3.

In English, the subject leader has thoughtfully planned how pupils can best build up their subject knowledge. Pupils who fall behind their peers are supported well by a curriculum that better meets their needs. Pupils are encouraged to read a wide range of high-quality texts.

However, in some subjects, leaders have not fully planned the order in which pupils will learn important knowledge and skills. There is also inconsistency in how well teachers check that pupils remember what they have learned in the longer term.

The school welcomes pupils from all abilities and backgrounds. Typically, pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) receive the help that they need to support their social and emotional well-being.

The special educational needs coordinator is working with staff so that they meet the academic needs of pupils with SEND. However, the ability of teaching to meet these needs is variable. This is a view shared by a minority of parents who responded to the Parent View survey.

Leaders work proactively to promote regular attendance. Leaders do everything possible, but pupils’ absence remains a stubborn issue, particularly for disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND.

While pupils’ behaviour is good overall, there are some pupils who find behaving well difficult. Leaders think creatively about how the curriculum can meet pupils’ needs and support them with their future plans. Leaders only use exclusion after other strategies have been employed.

Staff and students are proud of the growing sixth form. Teaching supports students to make good progress. Students are ambitious for themselves and feel that this ambition is shared by staff. As part of the enrichment programme, students debate the history of western thought, follow courses, such as media and conversational Spanish, or participate in sporting activities.

In key stages 3 and 4, pupils follow a well-planned programme to support their personal development. Pupils learn how to cook healthily in food technology, consider the dangers of gang culture in drama and discuss the importance of the rule of law in history. However, in key stage 5 the programme is in its early stages. Pupils say that the school is a community which respects and values different faiths and cultures.

Governors have supported leaders to overcome the school’s unsettled history. They are well informed about the work of the school. However, they need to have a sharper oversight of the additional funding provided for disadvantaged pupils and for those pupils who need to catch up with their peers in literacy and numeracy.

Staff are overwhelmingly positive about the support they receive from leaders. As one member of staff said, ‘This is the kindest, friendliest school I have ever worked in.’ This comment was typical of many.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Leaders are extremely diligent and record the referrals that are made to them carefully. Staff know the importance of recording even the smallest of incidents so that a detailed profile of pupils who are vulnerable can be built.

Leaders are knowledgeable about the support available from external agencies. They are skilled in ensuring that pupils receive the support that they need. They work with a range of partners, including the police, which means that they are aware of potential risks that pupils might encounter in their everyday lives, for example when using social media.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

There is variability in how well subject leaders have planned the order in which pupils learn important knowledge and skills. This means that pupils are not always able to make sense of their learning so that they are fully prepared for what will come next. Leaders need to ensure that all subjects sequence the curriculum in a way that will help pupils build their understanding over time. . Where teaching is less effective, teachers do not check pupils’ understanding sufficiently well. Consequently, some pupils have gaps in their skills or knowledge, including pupils with SEND. Leaders need to check how well teachers support pupils to understand and remember what they have learned. . In the sixth form, the curriculum to develop students’ understanding of the full range of important personal, social and moral issues is in its infancy. Therefore, there are gaps in students’ awareness. Leaders need to plan the curriculum so that students acquire the important information that they need to prepare them well for their life beyond school. . Overall absence and persistent absence for disadvantaged pupils and pupils with SEND are above the national average. Consequently, disadvantaged pupils, in particular, do not achieve as well as their peers. Leaders need to continue to develop the curriculum and their use of the systems they have in place to improve the attendance of such pupils.