Set Ixworth School


Name Set Ixworth School
Website http://www.ixworthfreeschool.org.uk/
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 17 September 2019
Address Walsham Road, Ixworth, Suffolk, IP31 2HS
Phone Number 01359234050
Type Academy
Age Range 11-16
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 266 (51% boys 49% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 12.0
Academy Sponsor Seckford Education Trust
Local Authority Suffolk
Percentage Free School Meals 15.8%
Percentage English is Not First Language 1.9%

What is it like to attend this school?

This is a small school, where pupils and teachers know each other extremely well. As a result, their support and care for each other are excellent. Bullying is rare and dealt with quickly when necessary. One pupil observed that ‘It’s impossible for bullies to fly under the radar.’ Pupils feel safe.

Pupils have a longer working day than in most schools. They think this is great. Parents and carers are pleased they chose the school. It is a very happy community.

Pupils develop interests outside their subjects during the school day. Every Wednesday afternoon, they choose from a range of opportunities. These include the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, preparing for the school production or learning British sign language.

School leaders want every pupil to do well. They say they want to give pupils ‘a foundation for life’. They do this successfully. Pupils leave the school, not only knowing a lot about the subjects they have studied, but also as confident young people.

Pupils attend regularly and arrive promptly because they enjoy school. They move between lessons purposefully and sensibly. The school is calm and well ordered. Pupils behave well in lessons because they are interested and engaged in their learning.

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

The school has improved hugely since it was last inspected. Pupils achieve well at GCSE in a wide range of subjects. This is because school leaders and trustees of the multi-academy trust focus on making it the best school it can be.

Teaching is strong and improving. Most teachers are experts in their subjects but, if they are not, colleagues support them and they get helpful training. Teachers get on well with pupils, who behave very well as a result. This means that pupils learn rapidly. Teachers ask questions which make pupils think.

Teachers plan carefully to make sure that pupils know more and can do more as they move through the school. They think carefully about the order in which things are taught and they ensure that pupils understand connections between different parts of each subject.

Teachers make sure that pupils get better at remembering information. Lessons start with a ‘do it now’ task requiring pupils to recall previous learning. Sometimes this is from the last lesson, sometimes it is from an earlier topic and sometimes this is even from a previous year. This helps pupils to keep important knowledge fixed in their minds.

In almost all subjects, teachers understand what pupils know and how well they can use this knowledge. In subjects including English, mathematics, science, history and geography, teachers identify where there are gaps in what pupils know and fill them. In personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education and computing lessons, however, teachers do not have such a clear picture of what each pupil knows and can do.

Teachers in charge of leading subjects regularly think about what is being taught so that it stays interesting and relevant. They make changes if required. In geography, teachers have recently added lessons about plastics in our oceans. In most subjects, these leaders are school staff. Sometimes, they are experts from other trust schools. In modern foreign languages, it is not clear who is providing this leadership.

Inspectors saw pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) work independently in their classes. Teachers had made sure that the work was accessible for everyone. The proportion of pupils with SEND moving on to the next stage of their study or employment is high. One parent described the school as ‘an incredibly inclusive environment’.

Pupils are well prepared for adult life. They all eat lunch in the school restaurant with their teachers, which develops important social skills. Teachers plan tutor periods, assemblies and personal development days so that pupils can thrive in modern Britain. Teachers help pupils to plan for their next steps after they leave the school. Leaders have more to do to make careers education as strong as it should be.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Staff know that they play an important role in creating and maintaining the school’s culture of safeguarding. They keep up to date with the school’s procedures and training. Leaders carefully check that this happens. Staff are quick to follow up any concerns, however small. They liaise well with agencies outside the school so that pupils get the support that they require quickly. Information is shared effectively with parents. What pupils do in lessons helps them to deal with risks they may face, including the use of the internet and social networking sites.

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and appropriate authority)

School leaders should ensure that they have identified leaders within the school or trust who are clearly responsible for the quality of education in every curriculum subject area. This will ensure that every teacher knows who to approach if they need support, and there is clarity about who is constructing, evaluating and revising the curriculum. There is a particular priority for identifying a curriculum leader in modern foreign languages.School leaders need to ensure that every curriculum subject incorporates effective processes for understanding what individual pupils know, remember and can do. In most subjects, this is already well embedded but the school needs to work towards even greater consistency. This will particularly involve sharpening practice in computing and PSHE. . The school’s curriculum has a number of strengths in the way it prepares pupils for success in the next stage of their education, employment or training. It provides many opportunities for pupils to encounter the world of work, including work experience. Leaders are using the Gatsby benchmarks effectively to evaluate and strengthen their careers provision. However, they now need to sharpen the school’s approach to providing individual pupils with independent, personalised careers guidance.