Conversion to Multi Academy Trust status was completed on 01.06.19. HCAT is a growing multi academy trust containing 1 Secondary School and 4 large primary schools. One of the trust schools is an Outstanding school and a designated teaching school under Tykes Teaching School Alliance.

The College initially approached HCAT because their vision and values so clearly aligned with those of Horizon, particularly in terms of moral purpose and focus on Barnsley children. We were also determined that Year 7 students should be in a position to make rapid progress from the outset and build on the very best primary experience. The partnership has also provided an additional layer of challenge and supported improved classroom practice for Horizon, whilst creating greater capacity for the Trust as it expands. A more robust monitoring programme within College has raised teacher expectations and introduced focused dialogue based on learning outcomes for each child. Furthermore, conversion has increased our capacity for CPD through formal training, work shadowing, joint training/work scrutiny and the additional expertise of the primary NLE staff. This has ensured rapid change from 2019 to 2020 through effective support and coaching structures.

At Horizon CC we have a shared ethos where everyone is valued, supported and respected. This ethos is reflected in our commitment that all students study Religious Education from Year 7 to 11, with a full entitlement to the GCSE RE course in KS4, and reinforced by our core values of tolerance, respect and kindness. There is high quality teaching and learning in all subjects, which develops students’ knowledge and skills through an exciting broad and balanced curriculum, providing life-long learning and opportunities for all. This is complimented and underpinned by our investment in a dedicated Careers and Enterprise Team led by one of our Assistant Principals and consisting of 6 full time specialists, who provide a planned programme of career and enterprise events from Y7 onwards to ensure that our students are as prepared as possible for their destinations after Horizon. This is all intertwined and linked in with our ambitious and wide-reaching Personal Development offer to our students which aims to grow their cultural capital alongside their skills and knowledge.

Our admission number is 400 students per year group; in 2019 and 2020 we admitted 420 students into Y7 and have had a significant waiting list. Student mobility is low, 3% in the academic year 2019-20, and due to the popularity of the College most year groups remain at their original admission number. We have a significant cohort of students who have English as an additional language. At least 30 different languages are spoken at home by our students, to differing degrees of proficiency and fluency. New arrivals and those who are still developing their confidence with everyday words and language processing skills are supported by our dedicated EAL team. This support includes 1:1 in-class and out-of-class literacy support, dedicated classroom teaching to develop English skills and the opportunity to study for a GCSE in their home language if they would like and are able to. The College is also an EAL Champion School for the local authority and has provided bespoke support and CPD to schools both at secondary level and for our feeder primaries.

Challenges

In a locality that has significantly greater than average deprivation, students have historically joined Horizon with data below national expectations. Since 2017, this profile has gradually altered, and students are now joining us with KS2 outcomes broadly in line with national figures. The standard of boys’ reading on entry presents a challenge, with all year groups having average Reading scaled scores below or significantly below the national average (Y10 boys average scaled score 98 compared with a national boys’ average of 102, for example). Nevertheless, outcomes have consistently been in line with or above national figures in the majority of subjects at both key stages. The percentage of students in receipt of the PPG is also higher than the national average but again, in 3 of the last 4 years, outcomes for these students have been in line with the national average progress figure for all students. This is due to the raising of outcomes for disadvantaged students being a key focus of our SIP, along with developing quality first teaching for all students.

ISDR 2019 reports the overall school location deprivation indicator to be in quartile 4 which is above national averages. Local statistics indicate that our community has high levels of deprivation, a high incidence of long-term limiting illness, low aspirations and a growing number of alcohol and drug-related illnesses, coupled with parental mental health issues.  This is evident in the increasing amount of high-quality support being given to families and students.  A morning ‘meet and greet’ allows a positive start to the day – we ensure students are ready for lessons by providing equipment, uniform and a free ‘magic breakfast’ for everyone. We actively encourage all parents/carers to become involved in the journey at Horizon by attending information evenings, parents’ evenings and extracurricular events. The College sits at the ‘heart’ of the community due to the academic and pastoral support it provides for students and their families, which is real strength, in addition to the outstanding dance shows, competitive sporting events and the very purposeful Careers and Enterprise opportunities.

Attendance is above the national average and has improved year on year for the last 3 years. Current cumulative attendance (March 2020) sits at 95.3%, compared with 95.1% at the same point last year, while persistent absence sits at 10% compared to 10.82% at this point last year. Local authority figures For Term 1of this academic year showed Horizon to have the highest attendance – at 95.7% compared to the LA average of 95.2%. Data for the first 3 half terms cumulatively showed Horizon to have the second highest attendance and the second lowest PA amongst all secondary schools in Barnsley.

Attendance data for 3 half terms

2018-19 Horizon 2018-19 LA Average 2019-20 Horizon 2019-20 LA Average
% Attendance 95.0 93.9 95.2 93.6
% PA 11.2 15.9 9.9 17.3

The drive to improve attendance has involved the introduction of robust intervention systems, consistent across all year groups, as well as an unrelenting focus on engaging with families through home visits or invitations to attendance meetings. Strong links with the EWS service has strengthened the support offered to Horizon students and their families. Other interventions include awarding achievement points for students maintaining 100% attendance, half termly prize draws for students whose attendance has improved the most and those with 100% attendance, and a Christmas prize draw for sustaining excellent attendance in the last two weeks of term. Analysis of the previous year’s attendance helps to identify trends and focus initiatives at certain times during the year. Overall, College attendance data shows that interventions and initiatives are impacting positively on the attendance of all groups of students in 2019-20.

Quality first teaching, clear structures and high expectations from all adults in College ensure that behaviour is good. We recognise that we have a number of students with social and emotional concerns; we also support schools in the local authority by accepting a number of permanently excluded students through Fair Access Panel.   The different needs of these students are addressed by our Inclusion School and SEND department through Inclusion support plans and targeted support. We prioritise supporting students and their parents, driving sustained attendance with year on year improvements, fostering punctuality and transforming negative feelings so that we enable all students to benefit fully from our learning culture.

Awards and recognition: We are working towards the Healthy School Initiative and the inclusion mark 2020/21.