Ofsted Information

The academy’s most recent Ofsted report:

Inspection dates

29 and 30 November 2022

Outcome

Bradfields Academy continues to be an outstanding school.

What is it like to attend this school?

This is a kind and caring school where pupils flourish. They arrive at school each day smiling and keen to find out what they will be learning. They develop respectful relationships with staff and form positive friendships with each other.

Pupils achieve exceptionally well because staff understand and address every individual pupil’s special educational needs and/or disabilities. Expectations are high. Staff are dedicated to giving each pupil the knowledge they need to succeed academically. Leaders are determined that all pupils will have the skills and character needed to continue learning or to get a job when they leave school. Therefore, pupils are well prepared for their future lives.

Highly skilled, caring staff consistently use thoughtful approaches to help pupils manage their own behaviour effectively. Jenson, the therapy dog, plays an active role in helping pupils develop their self-esteem and confidence. He participates in sessions which help pupils with their communication and social skills.

Pupils feel safe and secure, and they love learning. Staff notice pupils’ talents and interests and create opportunities to showcase and nurture them. Parents are overwhelmingly positive about the school and describe the school as ‘a supportive community that goes above and beyond for everyone’.

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

Leaders have devised a range of curriculum pathways that are designed to meet the variety of needs of the pupils. Teachers have carefully planned out the learning. High levels of knowledge and expertise mean staff are confident in making appropriate adaptations to plans to deliver highly effective and personalised learning.

Pupils’ education, health and care plan targets are thoughtfully broken down to form achievable smaller steps. These are woven throughout a full range of subjects. In all classes, activities and tasks for learning are carefully sequenced to meet the specific needs of each learner. This ensures that they meet the targets teachers set and achieve their full potential.

Staff feel valued by leaders. This has created a culture of mutual support and collaboration among the staff team. Passionate subject leaders share their specialist expertise with other staff. As a result, learning is engaging and interesting for all pupils.

In the primary phase, pupils enjoy learning through stories and topics. This enables them to develop their skills and knowledge in all subjects. Reading, writing and communication are prioritised. Reading lessons enhance pupils’ knowledge of different phonics sounds. If pupils need more opportunities to practise, leaders quickly identify this and put targeted support in place. All teachers share a determination to promote a love of reading. The special, whole-school ‘drop everything and read’ days are a highlight. Older pupils spoke enthusiastically about the range of books they study in school.

Staff focus on building positive relationships with pupils. This helps to motivate pupils who, in return, show high levels of engagement. Lessons are carefully structured to support pupils to be ready to learn. When moving around the school, pupils are sensible and respectful. Staff know pupils extremely well. They strive to understand the communication that lies behind some behaviours. When needed, pupils have access to appropriate sensory equipment to help them learn to self-regulate their emotions effectively.

Careers guidance is focused on expanding pupils’ knowledge of what is possible. Pupils gain meaningful qualifications and training that will help them to take their next steps in employment, education and training. Teachers support students in the sixth form to take part in interesting work placements, both in the community and school. For example, some pupils work as teaching assistants with younger pupils. These experiences give pupils confidence and a range of useful skills for their future lives.

Leaders expect all pupils to grow into responsible citizens. They are taught about respect and equality. In line with leaders’ aspirations, over time, pupils develop a strong selfidentity. This has resulted in older pupils being able to express empathy for those who are victims of discrimination. Pupils were able to describe resolving issues where there had been differences of opinion in a respectful and polite way. Responsibility is taken seriously by everyone. Opportunities to become lead students, complete the sports leader qualification and help younger pupils are valued.

Trustees know the school well. They are focused on working closely with leaders on building and expansion projects. Leaders have a strong moral focus on improving outcomes for pupils, both within and beyond Bradfields. Close links with other local schools and services create a valuable opportunity for staff to share excellent practice.

Safeguarding

The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

Staff know and understand pupils exceptionally well. Leaders make sure that everyone has high-quality safeguarding training. This means staff are well prepared to notice signs that something may not be right, including for pupils who are less well able to communicate this for themselves. Staff report any concerns, and leaders make sure the right support is put in place quickly.

Pupils are taught how to keep themselves safe online and outside of school. Pupils are confident that there is always a trusted adult to talk to in school who will listen to them and help them.

Background

When we have judged a school to be outstanding, we will then normally go into the school about once every four years to confirm that the school remains outstanding. This is called an ungraded inspection, and it is carried out under section 8 of the Education Act 2005. We do not give graded judgements on an ungraded inspection. However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection, which is carried out under section 5 of the Act. Usually this is within one to two years of the date of the ungraded inspection. If we have serious concerns about safeguarding, behaviour or the quality of education, we will deem the ungraded inspection a graded inspection immediately.

This is the first ungraded inspection since we judged the school to be outstanding in March 2017.

2017 Ofsted Inspection

Ofsted Inspection Judgements
March 2017
Overall effectiveness1
Effectiveness of leadership and management1
Quality of teaching, learning and assessment1
Personal development, behaviour and welfare1
Outcomes for pupils1
16 to 19 study programmes1

Key Findings

1. Together, the principal and guardian principal provide outstanding leadership, ably supported by very capable senior and middle leaders. Staff share leaders’ high expectations of pupils. Therefore, a culture of ambition and enthusiasm to secure positive futures for all pupils flows throughout the school.

2. Subject leadership is strong, especially in the secondary phase. High expectations are widespread across all subjects. However, these leaders’ skills and knowledge should be used more effectively to support staff who are new to holding leadership roles.

3. All pupils make excellent progress from their different starting points. Consequently, any differences between pupils’ achievements and those of other pupils nationally are diminishing quickly.

4. Teaching is outstanding because teachers are reflective about their practice. Teachers’ superb subject knowledge is used to engage, challenge and support pupils in a wide range of subjects.

5. Pupils’ behaviour and attitudes to learning are outstanding. Pupils demonstrate excellent manners, consideration, empathy and respect towards each other and adults and so model British values very well. They exude an intrinsic pride in their work and a love of learning.

6. Students in the sixth form thrive because their individual needs are met exceptionally well. Students have a wealth of opportunities to build on what they have already achieved both academically and personally. They are extremely well prepared for life beyond the school and to be successful young adults.

7. Pupils flourish because they are extremely well looked after in a nurturing and enabling environment.

8. Leaders are relentless in their pursuit of school improvement and seize every opportunity available to participate in research projects and to work with other schools in the local area. This outward-looking attitude has contributed significantly to the school’s strengths. Leaders feel a moral obligation to work collaboratively with other schools to further raise pupils’ outcomes.

9. Leaders are eager for pupils to continually improve their academic and personal outcomes. They know that there is always more scope to include parents in their children’s learning, and to continue to raise parents’ aspirations for their children.

What does the Academy Need to do to Improve Further?

1. Continue to help parents feel confident in supporting their children’s academic and personal development to aid the school in their aspirations for pupils to achieve highly and to become independent young adults.

2. Build even greater leadership capacity by sharing expertise more widely across the school, and in particular between the primary and secondary phase.

3. Further develop opportunities for staff at this school to share their expertise with colleagues further afield to support pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities in the wider community through outreach and other means.

The new Academy Development Plan has set targets related to these points for the period 2017-20.

The full Ofsted Report can be found below: