The Stoke-on-Trent school where ‘kindness’ is key and pupils ‘look after each other’
A Stoke-on-Trent secondary school’s commitment to “teaching kindness” has reaped its rewards after inspectors praised how much the staff and children “take care of one another”.
Haywood Academy in Burslem was rated as ‘good’ in what was the school’s first Ofsted inspection since 2017. The report, published last week, revealed how most teachers felt “proud” to work at the High Lane school, which caters for 1,130 children – more than 50 of which are sixth form students.
The inspection team visited the school over two days in April and described the curriculum in most subjects as “ambitious” and “carefully sequenced”. Haywood Academy was rated ‘good’ in every department bar sixth-form provision where concerns were raised over students’ attendance.
The school’s previous two inspections which took place after it became an academy also saw it handed ‘good’ ratings on both occasions.
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The latest report states: “Pupils at Haywood Academy, and students in the school’s sixth form, enjoy coming to school. They feel part of a caring community that supports them to do as well as they can. Classrooms are calm spaces where the focus is firmly on learning. The vast majority of pupils work hard and try their very best.
“High expectations of behaviour are well established and well understood. Pupils value the rewards they receive for good behaviour. There is great emphasis on teaching kindness in this school. As a result, pupils and students take care of one another.
“Pupils and students are friendly, polite and respectful to adults and to each other. They are very confident that if they have a problem, there will always be someone to help. They say that assemblies and community time are very important in their school and that they learn to keep safe and look after each other.”
It adds: “The focus leaders have placed on improving pupils’ behaviour has paid dividends. Older pupils say that behaviour has improved hugely over time. Pupils and students know what is expected of them and know that they will be challenged if they do not meet those expectations.
“This means that low-level disruption is rare and is usually dealt with very rapidly. Pupils agreed that positive learning attitudes are the norm. Most staff say that they are proud to work at this school. They feel that their workload and well-being are taken into account.”
With regard to some of the issues around sixth form provision, the report states: “A small number of sixth-form students are not prepared well enough for their next steps. Study programmes do not always provide important elements to support students’ development and ability to succeed in life and work.
“As a result, some students do not achieve what they need to move on. Leaders should make sure that study programmes include all elements, particularly work experience, and identify how students will be supported to achieve their aspirations.
“Students’ attendance is not regular enough in the sixth form. As a result, a few students miss a significant proportion of their study programme. This impacts negatively on their achievement. Leaders should take action to improve students’ attendance in the sixth form.”
Principal Mike Dawes said he was “proud” at the positive recognition from Ofsted, adding: “Most importantly though, and what comes across so strongly in the report, is the caring community that we have developed, with its culture of high expectations and kindness.
“Our children know that they are cared for, know that we are here for them and know that we are doing everything we can to help them.” He also paid tribute to his “excellent team of staff” and “the ongoing support of parents and the wider Haywood community”.
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