That was the verdict of Ofsted inspectors after their first visit to Atherton High School in three years.
The school retained the overall judgement of “requires improvement” that it was given in 2018, but was actually rated as “good” in all areas apart from the quality of education.
Inspectors wrote: “Leaders, trustees and governors have a clear vision for the school and they enact it well.
“They have successfully made many improvements since the previous inspection, especially in relation to pupils’ behaviour.
“Parents and carers are very supportive of the school. Leaders and trustees work very effectively with parents. A typical comment received from a parent was that her child ‘has never been happier’.”
Ofsted found pupils felt “happy”, “safe”, “valued as individuals” and enjoyed going to school to learn.
They studied a wide range of subjects, could take part in a variety of activities and enrichment events and behaved well in lessons and when moving around the school.
Leaders had increased the “ambitiousness” of the curriculum and created detailed curriculum plans, which teachers were using to ensure pupils developed on what they already knew.
However, Ofsted said it was too early to see the impact of this on the pupils’ achievements.
Pupils revisited their learning regularly, but some teachers did not know when they had missing knowledge or had forgotten key learning, meaning they did not progress through the curriculum as well as they should.
Teachers identified the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities “effectively” and adapted curriculum plans, but these pupils faced the same issues with not achieving as well as they should due to missing knowledge not being identified.
Staff were “consistent” in managing pupils’ behaviour, while there was a “very strong programme” to support pupils’ personal development and a “well-designed” careers programme. Safeguarding arrangements were “effective” and the governors and trustees were successful in holding leaders to account.
Ofsted found the school could improve further by ensure all teachers check pupils’ understanding to identify any gaps in learning and inform necessary adaptations to curriculum plans; and by improving attendance rates for a small number of disadvantaged pupils.
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