School etc

Spires Academy

Spires Academy
Bredlands Lane

phone: 01227 710392

academy leader: Ms Nicki Mattin

school holidays: via Kent council

476 pupils aged 11—17y mixed gender
600 pupils capacity: 79% full

245 boys 51%


230 girls 48%


Last updated: June 20, 2014

Secondary — Academy Sponsor Led

Education phase
Establishment type
Academy Sponsor Led
Establishment #
Open date
Sept. 1, 2007
Reason open
New Provision
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 619494, Northing: 161797
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 51.313, Longitude: 1.1481
Accepting pupils
11—16 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Ofsted last inspection
May 23, 2013
Region › Const. › Ward
South East › Canterbury › Sturry North
Hamlet and Isolated Dwelling - less sparse
Admissions policy
Free school meals %
Trust school
Is supported by a Trust
Learning provider ref #

rooms to rent in Canterbury

Schools nearby

  1. Montgomery School CT20HD
  2. 0.5 miles Hersden Community Primary School CT34HS
  3. 0.5 miles Hersden Village Primary School CT34HS (88 pupils)
  4. 0.7 miles St Anne's Preparatory School CT20EW
  5. 1 mile Sturry Church of England Primary School CT20NR
  6. 1 mile Sturry Church of England Primary School CT20NR (363 pupils)
  7. 1.5 mile Junior King's School CT20AY (387 pupils)
  8. 1.7 mile Hoath Primary School CT34LA (70 pupils)
  9. 2.3 miles Chislet Church of England Primary School CT34DU (80 pupils)
  10. 2.5 miles Parkside Community Primary School CT11EP (141 pupils)
  11. 2.5 miles Wickhambreaux Church of England Primary School CT31RN (114 pupils)
  12. 2.6 miles Herne Church of England Infant School CT67AH (308 pupils)
  13. 2.7 miles Littlebourne Church of England Primary School CT31XS (84 pupils)
  14. 2.7 miles Herne Church of England Junior School CT67AL (351 pupils)
  15. 3.3 miles St Stephen's Junior School CT27AD
  16. 3.3 miles St Stephen's Infant School CT27AB (269 pupils)
  17. 3.3 miles St Stephen's Junior School CT27AD (382 pupils)
  18. 3.4 miles St Thomas' Catholic Primary School, Canterbury CT11NE (201 pupils)
  19. 3.4 miles Chaucer Technology School CT11SU (603 pupils)
  20. 3.4 miles Canterbury Christ Church University CT11QU
  21. 3.5 miles Preston Primary School CT31HB (123 pupils)
  22. 3.5 miles Kingsmead Primary School CT11BD
  23. 3.5 miles Pilgrims' Way Primary School and Nursery CT11XU
  24. 3.5 miles Diocesan and Payne Smith Church of England Primary School CT12LU

List of schools in Canterbury

School report

Spires Academy

Bredlands Lane, Sturry, Canterbury, CT2 0HD

Inspection dates 13–14 May 2015
Overall effectiveness This inspection: Requires improvement 3
Previous inspection: Requires improvement 3
Leadership and management Requires improvement 3
Behaviour and safety of pupils Requires improvement 3
Quality of teaching Requires improvement 3
Achievement of pupils Requires improvement 3
Sixth form provision Requires improvement 3

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a school that requires improvement.
The school has the following strengths:

Students’ achievement requires improvement
The gap between the attainment of those
The proportion of most-able students reaching the
Not all subject leaders monitor the quality of
Not all leaders use information on students’
because progress in some subjects, particularly in
mathematics, is too slow. Due to this, a significant
minority of students do not make enough
students who are supported by the pupil premium
and their peers has not closed enough.
highest levels of which they are capable is too
teaching and learning effectively to ensure
consistently good provision in their departments.
progress effectively to identify those needing
extra help so they can make better progress.
Behaviour requires improvement because low-level
Teaching requires improvement because not all
Some leaders have had recent significant changes
Students’ achievement in the sixth form requires
disruption slows the pace of learning in some
lessons. Rates of exclusion are higher than the
national average. They have recently increased due
to a change in the way some behaviour is dealt
with. Attendance is below average.
staff consistently follow the academy’s policies for
managing behaviour and for giving guidance to
students about their work. Work set is not always
matched to their ability levels. As a result of this,
students do not make consistently good progress.
to their roles and responsibilities, which has slowed
the pace of improvements. Due to this, the impact
of their work on students’ achievement is limited.
improvement. Their achievement is not consistently
In some subjects, such as English, students make
The academy’s procedures for safeguarding
Behaviour in the sixth form is good and there are
particularly good progress and attain well.
students meet statutory requirements and
students feel safe.
good relationships between the students and their
Governors are well informed and have high
Students who attend alternative provision make
expectations and ambition for the academy, which
is improving.
good progress from their starting points.

Information about this inspection

  • The inspection team visited 32 lessons, six of which were observed jointly with members of the senior
    leadership team.
  • Inspectors took account of the 65 responses to the online questionnaire, Parent View, and 24 staff
  • Meetings were held with three members of the governing body, a local authority representative, senior
    and middle leaders, teachers and representative groups of students. Informal conversations were held
    with students around the academy between lesson times.
  • Inspectors observed the academy’s work and looked at samples of students’ work to look at the rate of
    progress and the quality of the assessment and marking processes. They also looked at progress
    information, documents about the academy’s development and evaluation, safeguarding information and
    records about attendance and behaviour.
  • Information about the sixth form was limited as it has only been established since 2013 and the academy
    will be closing it at the end of the next academic year.

Inspection team

Moazam Parvez, Lead inspector Additional Inspector
Neil Strowger Additional Inspector
Christopher Lee Additional Inspector

Full report

Information about this school

  • Spires Academy is smaller than the average-sized secondary school.
  • Most students are from White British backgrounds and very few speak English as an additional language.
  • The proportion of students eligible for the pupil premium funding, which is additional government funding
    for those students eligible for free school meals and those in the care of the local authority, is much higher
    than the national average.
  • The proportion of disabled students and those with special educational needs is well above average.
  • In 2014, the academy met the government’s current floor standards, which are the minimum expectations
    for students’ attainment and progress by the end of Year 11.
  • Since the previous inspection, there have been significant changes in staffing, including senior and middle
  • There are a small number of students who attend alternative provision at The Canterbury Inclusion
    Service and Nu Steps who provide vocational courses such as construction and hair and beauty.
  • There is collaborative partnership between Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School and the academy.
  • The proportion of students with above average prior attainment is significantly below the national
  • In 2014, the academy took in 92 students from a school that was closing in the local area. The prior
    attainment of most of these students was well below national averages.
  • The academy opened a sixth form in 2013 to meet the needs of 30 students for whom further education
    elsewhere would have been difficult. The sixth form will be disbanded at the end of this academic year as
    links with sixth form colleges have been established however the academy will see out its obligation to the
    current students in the sixth form.
  • Currently there are no examination results for the sixth form.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Improve progress and outcomes for all students in all year groups, particularly in mathematics, by
    ensuring :
    school policies that impact directly on student learning are implemented consistently across subjects
    leaders at all levels and teachers make better use of assessment information about all groups of
    students in order to identify and close any gaps in their learning
    that subject leaders’ monitoring of teaching focuses on students’ progress and the quality of teaching,
    in particular how students are challenged so improving their knowledge and understanding
    that teachers plan tasks that are matched appropriately to the ability and the needs of students
    teachers’ assessment and guidance to students is accurate and consistently good.
  • Improve students’ behaviour and safety over time so that they support more rapid progress by:
    ensuring the academy’s policy for behaviour management is followed more consistently by all staff
  • Ensure students’ attendance improves at a more rapid pace.

Inspection judgements

The leadership and management require improvement
  • The principal and executive principal have worked together effectively and have ensured that
    improvements in students’ attainment and progress continue during a period of significant change in
    staffing and leadership. A large number of new staff and changes in leadership have all been managed
    well. However, leadership and management require improvement because the improvements in the quality
    of teaching and students’ achievement have not been rapid enough.
  • The monitoring of teaching and learning has been given greater priority with the creation of a new
    assistant vice-principal post in January 2015 for teaching and learning however this has not yet shown
    impact in ensuring consistency across all departments. Policies such as marking and behaviour
    management are not being consistently followed, particularly by staff new to the academy.
  • The principal has tried to raise significantly expectations of the levels students can achieve across the
    academy. This has been more successful in some departments than others. Some departments have had
    significant staffing issues and this has slowed the progress of initiatives in these areas.
  • The academy has a high proportion of staff new to the academy and many new to teaching, and the
    support for these staff is of a very high quality. The academy also provides support and training to new
    staff, and student teachers to its partner grammar school.
  • Senior leaders monitor rigorously the progress, attendance and behaviour of students who attend
    alternative provision. These students make good progress from their starting points.
  • The leaders have an accurate picture of the academy’s strengths and areas for development. Leaders and
    managers have produced a clearly focused plan to further improve the academy’s work. For example, they
    have identified the work that needs to be done to accelerate progress in mathematics and ensure that
    teaching is consistently good or better.
  • New assistant vice-principals oversee improvements in subject areas where leadership has been weaker
    and support subject leaders to improve. This is beginning to have an impact on improving the quality of
    middle leaders although there remains too much variation across departments.
  • While there are rigorous systems in place that link teachers’ performance to salary progression, these
    have not yet resulted in consistently good teaching across the school.
  • The academy's use of the Year 7 catch-up funding is improving the literacy levels of students who arrive
    with difficulties in reading. The pupil premium funding provides additional teaching to increase the rate of
    progress, particularly in English and mathematics. However, the impact of this is still too variable.
  • Good quality training and support are provided for staff at all levels through coaching and mentoring as
    well as through weekly professional development opportunities.
  • The academy’s curriculum has been changed in order to meet more fully the needs of the students at the
    academy. There is a good balance of academic and work-related courses in Key Stage 4. Students receive
    independent careers advice so they are well informed about the options for the next stage in their lives.
  • The close links with Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School provide opportunities for the more able
    students at post-16.
  • The academy promotes students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development well through its
    citizenship curriculum and a wide range of other opportunities. This includes ‘buddying’ Chinese and
    Taiwanese students who regularly visit the academy. Leaders promote equal opportunity well ensuring
    that the students have a good understanding of British values. For example, students are given
    opportunities in lessons to discuss topics such as democratic processes and cultural and religious
    differences, thus developing tolerance. This prepares students well for life in modern Britain.
  • Safeguarding procedures fully meet requirements. Training in safer recruitment and child protection are all
    in place. Polices for behaviour, anti-bullying and equal opportunities are kept up to date by senior leaders
    and shared with governors.
  • The governance of the school:
    Governors have high expectations for the academy. They have supported senior leaders well through a
    period of change, but this has not yet resulted in more effective leadership and management.
    Governors are well-informed about the quality of teaching and student performance and are challenging
    the academy’s leaders to improve students' attainment and progress.
    Governors know how the academy manages the performance of teachers. They understand the link
    between teachers’ performance and pay progression and this is rigorously monitored so that only
    effective teachers progress up the pay scales. The governing body has a breadth of expertise which
    includes financial management and leadership, but this expertise has not yet resulted in the academy
    improving to good levels of effectiveness.
    The governing body knows about how additional funding, such as the pupil premium and Year 7 catch-
    up funding, is spent and recognises that it is not yet being used effectively to ensure those students
    eligible for extra funding make good progress.
The behaviour and safety of pupils require improvement
  • The behaviour of pupils requires improvement.
  • In a significant number of lessons over time, some students’ disruption slows the pace of learning for all.
    This is especially true where the activities in the lesson are not challenging them or meeting their needs.
    When activities are well matched to students’ abilities behaviour is more positive and students work well
    together and are able to sustain attention on their work.
  • Around the academy, students are generally helpful and relationships are pleasant. They open doors for
    one another and are friendly and confident. There is very little litter or graffiti around the site.
  • The academy’s behaviour management system is not being implemented consistently by all staff, which
    results in some inconsistent expectation of what constitutes good behaviour.
  • The number of students excluded from lessons has recently increased as the academy has become less
    tolerant of unacceptable behaviour. The academy works hard to ensure that when students return from
    exclusion that they are supported through an action plan that will help them improve their behaviour.
  • Senior leaders maintain good records of students excluded from the academy and review them regularly.
    Fixed term exclusions are above average as a result of the academy’s focus on reducing unacceptable
    behaviour. Exclusions are beginning to fall.
  • The small numbers of students who attend alternative provision are looked after well by the academy.
    This is exemplified by a member of the academy’s staff who is based at ‘Nu Steps’ to monitor progress
    and attendance.
  • The academy has employed an attendance officer and as a result students’ attendance is improving
    slowly, although it remains below the national average.
  • The academy’s work to keep pupils safe and secure requires improvement.
  • Students feel safe in the academy and are confident that staff will deal with any incidents of bullying that
    might occur. However, they feel that staff could be more consistent in addressing language that could be
    interpreted as being homophobic.
  • Students know how to stay safe online and are aware of the possible pitfalls of using social media.
    Through the personal, social and health education programme external speakers, such as paramedics and
    road safety officers, help them understand the wider health and safety issues they might experience
    outside of the academy.
  • Arrangements to keep students safe and to promote their good behaviour when attending off-site
    provision are good.
The quality of teaching requires improvement
  • Teaching requires improvement because the planning of lessons by too many teachers does not meet the
    needs of the students, particularly the more able. Teachers’ marking and feedback on students’ work and
    management of behaviour is also inconsistent. As a result students’ progress is not as good as it should
  • Where students make better progress, teachers use a wide range of approaches to help enhance their
    learning. In these lessons, teaching is adapted to maintain interest and engagement in the subject being
    studied. In one religious education lesson, the Year 9 students, responding to the high expectation of the
    teacher, were totally engaged in attempting a difficult GCSE question on the opposing views of abortion.
  • Teaching in English is particularly successful and is improving students’ progress because teachers have
    high expectations and plan activities that are challenging. Teaching in mathematics, however, has been
    affected by a large turnover of staff and the use of non-specialist teachers, some who do not have the
    required in-depth subject knowledge. This has resulted in students not experiencing consistently good
    teaching and so not making the progress expected.
  • The academy has introduced ‘Communication Champions’, these are members of staff whose role is to
    ensure that literacy and numeracy skills are being developed and delivered consistently across the
    academy. They are having a positive impact as there is now a clear focus on these aspects across
    subjects. The Basic Skills Quality Mark that the academy is undertaking is also helping support the
    effective development of these skills across all subject areas.
  • Literacy skills are further enhanced through the reading intervention programme which includes the
    requirement for students to read within lessons for 10 minutes on three days a week.
  • The curriculum ensures that students benefit from a good balance of academic and vocational subjects.
    For example, teachers in drama, music and art give students good quality experiences which engage them
    and provide opportunities that develop skills beyond traditional academic subjects.
The achievement of pupils requires improvement
  • Achievement requires improvement because students make inconsistent progress across the academy.
    There are significant variations across subjects and in different classes.
  • In 2014, the proportion of students gaining five or more GCSE passes, including English and mathematics,
    increased from a low point in 2013, however it is still below the national average. The proportion of
    students both achieving and exceeding expected progress in English was much higher than the national
    average; however, the proportion making or exceeding expected progress in mathematics was below the
    national average.
  • Inappropriate early entry to GCSE in mathematics has been a factor in the weaker progress made by
    students and in 2014 did limit the number of grades at B or above achieved. Early entry in mathematics
    no longer takes place.
  • Achievement in mathematics is now improving because the new head of department’s actions to improve
    standards are making a difference and the quality of teaching and marking has risen. Teachers’
    assessments of students’ achievements in mathematics are now more accurate. This is leading to an
    improving trend in the attainment of students in mathematics.
  • In 2014, the gap between disadvantaged students in the academy and other students nationally was too
    wide. In mathematics, disadvantaged students were more than two GCSE grades behind other students
    nationally and one and a half GCSE grades behind other students in the academy. In English, the students
    were one and a half GCSE grades behind in comparison to other students nationally and other students in
    the academy. However, the academy’s current data show an improving picture in all year groups this year
    and gaps are narrowing rapidly.
  • Disabled students and those with special educational needs are now making progress similar to that of
    others across the academy
  • The progress of the most able students in the academy is variable. In 2014 the proportion of these
    students who made expected or more than expected progress in English was better than that seen
    nationally, however in mathematics their progress is well below the national average.
  • The small numbers of students who attend off-site provision make good progress as a result of the careful
    attention to their needs.
The sixth form provision requires improvement
  • Sixth form provision requires improvement.
  • The leadership and management of the sixth form require improvement. There is insufficient data on
    students’ achievement overall which can be analysed to show strengths and clearly identify areas where
    most improvement is needed. Thus, monitoring of performance is inconsistent.
  • Achievement in the sixth form requires improvement because the progress made by students is too
    variable particularly in mathematics.
  • Students are expected to study GCSE English and mathematics if they did not achieve a good grade in
    Year 11; however the success rate is low. Teaching, particularly of the GCSE course in mathematics, is not
    consistently good.
  • The curriculum in the sixth form is limited and consists of mostly vocational and re-sit GCSE courses in
    order to meet the very specific needs of a small number of students. Sound advice is provided on the next
    steps students can choose.
  • Behaviour in the sixth form is good. There are good relationships between the students and their teachers.
    Students feel safe, know how to keep themselves safe, and understand issues related to discrimination
    and diversity and are tolerant of difference.
  • Attendance rates in the sixth form are low but are improving as a result of the actions taken by the new
    attendance officer.

What inspection judgements mean


Grade Judgement Description
Grade 1 Outstanding An outstanding school is highly effective in delivering outcomes that
provide exceptionally well for all its pupils’ needs. This ensures that pupils
are very well equipped for the next stage of their education, training or
Grade 2 Good A good school is effective in delivering outcomes that provide well for all
its pupils’ needs. Pupils are well prepared for the next stage of their
education, training or employment.
Grade 3 Requires
A school that requires improvement is not yet a good school, but it is not
inadequate. This school will receive a full inspection within 24 months
from the date of this inspection.
Grade 4 Inadequate A school that requires special measures is one where the school is failing
to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the school’s
leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated that they have
the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school. This
school will receive regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.

A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and requires
significant improvement but leadership and management are judged to
be Grade 3 or better. This school will receive regular monitoring by
Ofsted inspectors.

School details

Unique reference number 135305
Local authority Kent
Inspection number 462416

This inspection of the school was carried out under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.

Type of school Secondary
School category Academy sponsor-led
Age range of pupils 11–18
Gender of pupils Mixed
Gender of pupils in the sixth form Mixed
Number of pupils on the school roll 600
Of which, number on roll in sixth form 30
Appropriate authority The governing body
Chair Gerry Pack
Headteacher Nicola Mattin
Date of previous school inspection 23–24 May 2013
Telephone number 01227 710392
Fax number 01227 712370
Email address reveal email: off…

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