Orchards Academy

Name Orchards Academy
Website http://www.orchards-tkat.org
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 08 February 2012
Address St Mary’s Road, Swanley, Kent, BR8 7TE
Phone Number 01322665231
Type Academy
Age Range 11-18
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 525
Number of Pupils per Teacher 14.6
Academy Sponsor The Kemnal Academies Trust
Local Authority 886
Percentage Free School Meals 16%
Percentage English is Not First Language 5%
Persisitent Absence 14.6%
Pupils with SEN Support 15.8%
Catchment Area Information Available Yes, our catchment area data is FREE
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Information about the school

Orchards Academy replaced the former Swanley Technology College in November 2010, when the school became a member of the Kemnal Academies Trust. Orchards is smaller than the average secondary school. It is a non-selective school in an area which operates a policy of selection by ability. The current headteacher was appointed in December 2010. Since September 2011, the school has operated under a joint governing body with Kemnal Technology College. There have been several changes in the composition of the senior leadership team and in teaching staff since the school’s previous inspection. The proportion of students known to be eligible for free school meals is above the national average. Most students are of White British heritage. The proportion of students who speak English as an additional language is much lower than that found nationally. The proportion of students who are disabled or who have special educational needs is well above the national average. The main group represented is that of students who have moderate learning difficulties. The school meets the current floor standard. A privately-owned nursery operates on the school site. This is subject to separate inspection arrangements.

Key findings

Orchards Academy is a good and rapidly improving school. Students’ achievement has improved considerably since the previous inspection and is now good. GCSE results have risen substantially in recent years. Students throughout the school, including those who are disabled or who have special educational needs, make good progress from their starting points. Teaching in the majority of lessons is good, and in some it is outstanding. Most teachers plan their lessons carefully to meet the different needs and abilities of the students in their groups. They have high expectations of students in terms of work and behaviour. Teachers mark students’ work thoroughly, but they do not always provide them with enough detailed written advice to help them to know how to improve their work. Students behave well in lessons and around the school, and they say they feel safe there. They have few concerns about bullying because, they say, it is dealt with well if it does occur. Many students report that behaviour has improved considerably in recent years. A small number of parents and carers expressed concerns about behaviour, but inspection findings did not support their views. Leaders and managers, together with the governing body, have accurately evaluated the school’s strengths and weaknesses. Leaders have set and achieved challenging targets for raising students’ attainment. They closely monitor the quality of teaching and help teachers to improve their practice. Cooperative work with other schools in the Trust has helped considerably to improve the quality of provision and of outcomes for students. Partnership with parents and carers is less well developed. The school recognises that students do not have enough opportunities to take on responsibility. The sixth form is good. It is well led and managed, and the school has improved the guidance it gives and the range of courses it offers to students.