Grove Academy rated 'inadequate' in first Ofsted inspection

A school in Slough has been rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted with pupils’ behaviour being branded ‘dangerous’ at times.

Inspectors started a two-day inspection at Grove Academy, in Ladbrooke Road, on Wednesday, February 16.

The school opened in 2017 and has not previously been inspected by Ofsted.

The school has been rated ‘good’ for its early years provision, however, has been given a ‘requires improvement’ rating in two areas including the quality of education and personal development.

It has also been rated ‘inadequate’ in two areas, including behaviour and attitudes and leadership and management.

The report states while school leaders want the community to ‘have a school that helps all pupils’ achieve success ‘significant disruption’ over time caused by staff changes and delayed building works has ‘hampered this ambition’.

On the topic of safeguarding, the report stated that a secure process is ‘not in place’, meaning that pupils ‘who may be at risk of harm are not always getting the support that they need’.

It explained that ‘not all pupils feel confident to report any worries or concerns’ to staff’, adding that pupils told inspectors that ‘they can feel unsafe at school’ due to ‘unkind behaviour’ from some pupils.

This included facing insults on their gender, sexual orientation or race.

The report added that as a result, ‘some pupils can feel very anxious and are unsure of what to do to get the help that they need’.

The report explained that at times, behaviour is ‘chaotic and dangerous’, with some pupils finding this behaviour ‘intimidating and unsettling’, adding that they ‘do not always feel safe’.

The report explained that leaders ‘must urgently review’ the behaviour systems and levels of supervision’ to make sure that behaviour is safe and respectful.

On the curriculum, the report stated it ‘requires further improvement’, as the curriculum across the primary and secondary phases ‘is not closely aligned’ and pupils ‘do not routinely build on their prior learning’.

The report added that while time is taken to ‘get to know the needs’ of students with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and needs are identified carefully’, not ‘all staff have the skills and knowledge’ that is necessary to ‘adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of each and every pupil', and this is 'particularly evident' in the school's secondary phase.

The report went on to state that in the primary phase, pupils demonstrate a ‘positive attitude to their studies’, however, in the secondary phase learning is ‘often disrupted’.

It added that planning for ‘pupils’ personal development has not been fully implemented’.

Touching on the positive aspects, the report said that youngsters in Reception make a ‘strong start to their schooling’, adding that there is a ‘daily focus on communication and language’.

The report added that school leaders recognise the ‘needs of pupils who start school speaking very little English’, as well as the ‘impact of COVID-19 on children’s speech’.

It added that children are also taught the importance of good manners and to show kindness to each other.

The report added that leaders have ‘also prioritised reading’, with youngsters in Reception and throughout Key Stage 1 are taught to read by ‘well-trained staff using a carefully ordered phonics programme’.

It added that pupils who ‘find reading more difficult read to an adult daily’ to help them to catch up with their classmates ‘quickly’.

In a statement Grove Academy said: "In the recent Ofsted Inspection, the school was judged overall to be inadequate, although the Inspectors clearly recognised some of the strengths of our school. Whilst the Inspectors found much that is positive including Reception, Early Years and Primary Provision, strong middle leadership and maths and science, amongst other things, there are areas that the school needs to continue to work to address.

"Staff and Governors at Grove Academy remain dedicated to supporting students to be ready for learning, respectful to their community and to keep themselves safe. Many areas raised in the report are already a key focus for improvement, as noted by the Senior Team in discussions with the Ofsted Team and work is already well underway to addressing concerns.

"The school, supported by the Local Governing Body and the Trust, who are also providing additional resources, are actively addressing the identified areas for improvement in the Ofsted report."

The school said it will continue to develop the ‘all-through curriculum drawing on best practice’ and are also working to make sure that all staff adapt their teaching to meet the needs of every student, including SEND pupils.

The statement added that the school is will also work to make sure that ‘all aspects of the personal development curriculum are fully implemented’, and recruitment is already taking place to expand the safeguarding team and develop its structure.

There will also be external reviews shared with trustees and governors and the school are also ‘committed to securing positive behaviour’ through the creation of extra capacity, expanding the pastoral team, and working with partner schools.

The school is also keen to collaborate with parents on the issue and are also reviewing behaviour systems to ensure it secures a ‘safe, calm learning environment’.

"We are totally committed to addressing the areas for improvement outlined in the report and will work to address them."

To read the full report visit: https://files.ofsted.gov.uk/v1/file/50182811

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