Fledgling Academy’s inspection success

Langdale School has become Blackpool's first free independant school.  Principal Carol Stallard (centre) with pupils L-R Rebecca Potter, Jordan-Leigh Walsh, Ben Syme, Tomas Woods, Keira Woodhouse and McKenzie Palin-Aldred.
Langdale School has become Blackpool's first free independant school. Principal Carol Stallard (centre) with pupils L-R Rebecca Potter, Jordan-Leigh Walsh, Ben Syme, Tomas Woods, Keira Woodhouse and McKenzie Palin-Aldred.
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A unique Blackpool school has been rated ‘good with outstanding features’ in its first Ofsted inspection.

Langdale Free School, North Shore, converted to academy status in in September 2013, having operated as a fee-paying independent school before that since 1920.

A visit from the independent inspectorate for schools was its first as a state-funded school - independent schools are not overseen by Ofsted - and has seen it receive high praise.

The school, on Warbreck Drive, Blackpool, was told its leadership and management, quality of teaching and achievement of pupils are all good, while the behaviour and safety of pupils and its early years provision were rated outstanding.

The school was told it has an “extremely favourable atmosphere” where pupils “proudly uphold the values” of their “family school”.

The school has 117 pupils schooled across two buildings, and has a limit of 18 pupils in each class.

In particular it was noted how the school has helped its new pupils, who have joined since its conversion in 2013, to settle despite “varied learning needs”.

It was told:

> Leaders have established a clear vision for the school, which is focused on promoting a love of learning and ensuring the personal development and well-being of all pupils.

> Teachers know the pupils well and plan lessons that are interesting and motivating.

> Pupils’ outstanding behaviour creates a warm and friendly atmosphere where everyone thrives.

> Children love learning and take pride in their achievements.

> The school is outward looking and building effective partnerships.

But it has also been given advice on how to improve further, including governors developing their “strategic roles”, and told:

> The most-able pupils are not always provided with work that challenges them and extends their knowledge and skills rapidly.

> Skills of reasoning, problem solving and investigation are not developed as well as they could be.