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A report on Mountain Ash Comprehensive School

Mountain Ash Comprehensive School is an 11 to 19 mixed comprehensive school maintained by Rhondda Cynon Taf local authority that serves the town of Mountain Ash and the surrounding villages. Currently the school has 938 pupils, including 88 in the sixth form. Although overall pupil numbers are similar to those at the time of the last inspection in 2012 when they were 935, the number of sixth form pupils at that time was notably higher at 135 pupils. Around 32% of pupils are eligible for free school meals, which is much higher than the Welsh average of 16.4% for secondary schools. Around 60% of pupils live in the 20% most deprived areas in Wales. Approximately 26% of pupils have an additional learning need, which is slightly higher than the national average for secondary schools of 22.9%. The percentage of pupils with a statement of special educational needs is 0.6% compared with the average of 2.2% for the whole of Wales. Very few pupils are from a minority-ethnic or mixed-race background. Very few pupils speak Welsh as their first language or come from homes where English is not the first language. The headteacher was appointed in January 2017. The senior leadership team also includes a deputy headteacher and three assistant headteachers.

Summary

Mountain Ash Comprehensive School’s supportive and inclusive ethos has a beneficial impact on pupils’ personal development and wellbeing. Most pupils are courteous to visitors, staff and their peers. Many engage and behave well in lessons and the majority of pupils make sound progress in their learning. However, a minority of pupils are not sufficiently resilient in lessons, a few do not always behave maturely in class or respectfully as they move around the school. Teaching and assessment have many strengths, although overall there is too much variation in the quality of this provision. In a minority of lessons, teachers’ expectations are not high enough. The headteacher communicates a clear vision for the school that every pupil can succeed. The senior team work well together to realise this vision and this has contributed effectively to improved outcomes in 2018 for pupils, particularly at key stage 4. However, self-evaluation activities do not focus on the impact of provision on pupils’ learning closely enough. This limits leaders’ ability to target improvements in key areas of the school’s work.

A full report on the link https://www.estyn.gov.wales/sites/default/files/documents/Mountain%20Ash%20Comprehensive%20School.pdf