Northfield school was rated GOOD by Ofsted in May 2015.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils.

This is a good school.
  • The school’s leaders have improved the quality of teaching and behaviour management since the previous inspection.
  • Students benefit from good teaching and have positive experiences in school. Expectations of staff and students are clear to everyone.
  • Students acquire the reading, writing and mathematical skills they need to prepare them for the next stage of their education, training or employment.
  • Students also learn a range of skills in other areas because the school provides a good variety of learning opportunities. They have particularly good provision for art, music and physical education.
  • All groups of students make good progress and achieve well. They receive effective support to help them overcome difficulties. Students acquire good attitudes to learning.
  • Students’ behaviour improves while they are in the school and is good. They know that the staff always have time for them and understand them.
  • The school is a supportive learning community. The students feel safe and well looked after.
  • Students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is good. They learn to work together and understand other people’s points of view.
  • School governance has improved significantly. Governors are skilled, well informed and now carry out their role effectively.
Inspection Judgements

Leadership and management: GOOD
  • The school’s leaders have appropriately high expectations of staff and students and communicate these well. They have secured a good quality of teaching and keep this under regular review in order to address any shortcomings. The school has the capacity to continue improving.
  • The school’s self-evaluation is accurate and takes account of a good range of evidence. This includes rigorous tracking of students’ progress through an effective system for collecting and analysing performance data.
  • The school’s curriculum provides a good variety of opportunities for students. It promotes enjoyment and personal success. There is particularly strong provision for art, music and physical education. Emphasis on English, mathematics and computing provides students with the key skills to prepare them for the next stage of their education, training or employment.
  • The school’s leaders ensure that good relationships are established between students and between students and staff. Students are involved in activities that promote collaboration, listening to one another, understanding the importance of rules and seeing things from other people’s points of view. They learn about different faiths and beliefs. The school promotes tolerance and mutual respect. Students are well prepared for life in modern Britain.
  • Students receive effective careers guidance. An external provider trains staff and students and provides good careers advice. This provision enables students to analyse their strengths and to make more informed choices about their next steps. A group of Year 9 students currently goes off site once a week to study for a BTEC in land-based studies. Students in Year 10 have work experience and by the end of Year 11 students are clear about their destinations, often their local college but with the option to stay on into the sixth form at school.
  • The school ensures equality of opportunity. It provides students with new opportunities and experiences, such as going abroad for the first time to ski. It uses its pupil premium funding effectively to provide students with individualised support. There are no gaps in attainment when comparing the achievement of students receiving the pupil premium and other students.
  • The school provides a secure environment in which students feel safe. The school’s arrangements for safeguarding pupils meet statutory requirements.
  • Parents are positive about the school and its leadership. Most parents responding through Parent View agree that the school is well led and managed and would recommend the school to another parent.
  • Governance has improved significantly since the school was previously inspected. The school now has a skilled, well-informed board of governors that holds the leadership team to account and provides effective challenge and much stronger strategic leadership.
Behaviour and safety of pupils: GOOD
  • The behaviour of students is good. Taking into account the difficulties students have in controlling their own behaviour, there are relatively few disruptions in lessons. Staff are fully aware of the difficulties new students may have when joining the school and give them the additional support they need to settle in.
  • Students acquire good attitudes to learning and are positive about the school. They say that they much prefer it to their previous experiences of education because staff have time for them and ‘know what they are doing’.
  • Case studies of students’ behaviour over time show that recorded incidents of poor behaviour decrease once students have settled into the school. Over the past year, the rate of fixed-term exclusions has reduced significantly.
  • The school’s work to keep students safe and secure is good. Staff create a secure learning environment and students feel safe. They say that there is always an adult to go to if they need to.
  • Students learn to deal with risk in new situations, such as off-site placements. A group of students taken skiing for the first time coped very well in an unfamiliar environment containing new risks and challenges. The school tracks the attendance of students going to college or other locations. It also carries out thorough risk assessments for students attending off-site provision to ensure they are kept safe. 
Quality of teaching: Good
  • Teaching leads to good achievement over time across the curriculum, including in English and mathematics. Teachers and support staff have suitably high expectations of students and enable them to develop a broad range of skills, including reading, writing, mathematical, creative and physical skills.
  • All staff strive to create a positive climate for learning. Even where behaviour is challenging, staff remain calm and constructive in their approach.
  • Teachers nearly always set work that is interesting and engaging.
  • The teaching in Key Stage 3, which was a weaker aspect when the school was previously inspected, has improved and is now good.
  • Assessment is regular and mostly used well to set work at the right level. Staff listen to students and provide good verbal feedback in lessons.
Achievement of pupils: GOOD
  • Students’ attainment on entry to the school is often low, because of the difficulties they have had in previous schools. Many have had very poor attendance in the past, which has had an impact on their achievement. Due to effective teaching and support they make good progress and are able to overcome their difficulties. In particular, the school ensures that students acquire reading skills, which gives them confidence in other subjects.
  • For example, students in Key Stage 3 who receive individual support for reading began with very low starting points on entry to the school. They have made rapid progress and now read independently, using their understanding of letters and sounds (phonics) to sound out unfamiliar words.
  • Most students make good progress in English. There are good examples of extended pieces of writing. By the end of Year 9, the best writing is well structured and includes personal responses to books students have read; these include references to feelings and other people’s viewpoints.
  • In mathematics, students also make good progress and the school’s performance data show that they often exceed predictions. There are some good opportunities for students to apply their mathematical knowledge in other subjects. In Key Stage 4 physical education, students have used data handling to record and analyse a survey of physical activity.
  • The school tailors its Key Stage 4 curriculum to cater for students’ aptitudes and interests. Students have access to a variety of national qualifications, including GCSE English and mathematics. Most students in 2014 achieved a GCSE grade in English and mathematics which, given their starting points, shows good achievement. A few, more able, students achieved a grade C. There are no early entries for GCSE.
Acting Headteacher: Mr. Powell

Northfield School
Knights Road
Blackbird Leys
Tel: +44 (0)1865 771703
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