Excellent Ofsted Report 2015

Posted on: June 4, 2015

 

ofsted2015_reception_group

Walsall Studio School is a “Good School” where students are very well prepared for the next stage of their lives.

The staff and students of Walsall Studio School received a significant boost to the summer term following the publication of an excellent Ofsted report today. The team of inspectors who visited the school in April praised the standards they found and rated the school as ‘Good’ while highlighting many areas of excellent and outstanding practice.

In a summary statement, the inspectors concluded, “A culture of very high expectations permeates the studio school, driven by leaders’ uncompromising belief that all students can reach their potential. As a result, students are very well prepared for the next stage of their lives.” Furthermore, the school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure has been judged to be “outstanding.”

The work of teachers in the studio school was praised – particularly in planning to meet the different needs of students.“A range of activities that motivate students to learn new things and help them consolidate earlier learning results in students making good progress”. As one Year 11 student told inspectors, ‘I had cobwebs in my brain before I came here!’

Unique to the studio school is the team of personal coaches who work with students on their personal and professional development. Inspectors recognised the benefit to students in saying “The highly effective use of personal coaches ensures that all students’ academic and emotional needs are clearly understood. The individual support students receive contributes significantly to their progress.”

Walsall Studio School is the first and only studio school in the Black Country and brings together professionals from the world of work and students aged 14-19 who study GCSE, A Level and BTEC qualifications at the school. Inspectors commented on this approach in the report saying, “Teachers are skilful at planning rich and rewarding tasks that are based on real experiences linked to working alongside professionals in the workplace. These motivating experiences are demanding and build resilience” adding “Sixth form students are independent and able to manage their own learning.”

The leadership of the school has been highly praised in the report. The principal’s inspirational leadership drives a team of very dedicated staff to be ‘pioneers’ of the studio school vision. All staff are very clear that they are contributing to students not only achieving academic success but developing students to become confident adults in the world of work and the community in which they live. This view is widely shared and students clearly understand these values at the heart of their school.”

Dan Parkes, who has been principal since the formation of the school in 2013, expressed his delight with the findings. “The inspectors spent their time observing lessons, scrutinising student work and talking to students during breaks and lunchtimes. They also spent time after school meeting with staff, governors and our partners including representatives from Queen Mary’s Grammar School. The students’ pride in this school had a real impact on inspectors and that really comes across in this report – as do the high standards that were observed throughout the visit.”
He added, “My favourite conversation with inspectors was when a group of students described our school as ‘a community they belong to not just a school they attend’ – I was really pleased it made the final draft of the report.”

In concluding the principal reflected on the success of launching the first school of its kind in the local area, “This Ofsted framework really sets a very high bar. I am proud that Walsall Studio School is succeeding in areas where other schools and colleges have been unable to do so – and I believe that is reflected in this report. We will continue into the 2015/16 academic year now from a very strong starting point. We have established the studio school as one of the best local providers of education, unrivalled in bringing high academic standards together with quality vocational training and experience for students who want to progress to university or directly into employment.”

There are limited places available for Year 10 and the sixth form for September 2015 at Walsall Studio School. For more information please contact the school office on 01922 621 951 Ext 321.

 

Ofsted Inspection Report – Read the full report.

 

Key Quotes

A culture of very high expectations permeates this studio school, driven by leaders’ uncompromising belief that all students can reach their potential. As a result, students are very well prepared for the next stage of their lives.

Students make good progress. Teachers use questioning well to deepen understanding and match activities in lessons to the needs of individuals.

The highly effective use of personal coaches ensures that all students’ academic and emotional needs are clearly understood. The individual support students receive contributes significantly to their progress.

Behaviour in school is good. The school is characterised by good productive relationships. Students describe their school as ‘a community we belong to, not just a school we attend’.

The school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is outstanding. Designated staff are tenacious in following up any safeguarding concerns, and ensure that students and their families are accessing the support that they need.

Teachers plan well to meet the different needs of the students. A range of activities that motivate students to learn new things and help them consolidate earlier learning results in students making good progress. As one Year 11 student told inspectors, ‘I had cobwebs in my brain before I came here!’

Sixth form teachers are skilful at planning rich and rewarding tasks that are based on real experiences linked to working alongside professionals in the workplace. These motivating experiences are demanding and build resilience. Sixth form students are independent and able to manage their own learning.

 

Ofsted Inspection Report – Read the full report.