The Isle of Wight Studio School has received their first Ofsted report, following an inspection earlier in the year.
Despite receiving a rating of ‘Good’ for ‘Personal development, behaviour and welfare’, the inspector has given the school an overall rating of ‘Requires Improvement’.
Head: “Missed opportunity”
Head Teacher of the school, Richard White, wrote to parents sharing the report. He said,
“The school accepts the decisions made by the inspection team, based on the Ofsted criteria and assessment methods applied to all mainstream schools.
“However, we do feel that, although the inspection report follows a set process, the opportunity was missed to recognise the academic progress made last year, especially when compared with the progress of other Island secondary schools.
“We recognise that after just three full years since opening, there are further improvements to be made to continue to be consistently better.”
Strengths of the school
Highlights from the report include:
- High-quality work placements ensure that pupils are equipped with a range of
employment skills. Consequently, most pupils progress to further vocational courses or
successfully engage in a variety of local apprenticeships.
- Behaviour is good. Pupils are very loyal to their school and appreciate the opportunities it offers. They particularly value the wide range of enrichment activities.
- The headteacher is passionate about the school ethos and driven to promote the unique provision that the studio school offers pupils on the Isle of Wight. He has secured strong backing from businesses and the local community to support these aims.
- Leaders have engaged with other providers and external consultants to improve the quality of teaching in English and mathematics.
Achieving core values
In his letter to parents, Richard White went on to say,
“I am very proud of all the achievements made by an incredibly hard-working and committed team of staff who have the progress of every student at the heart of what we do.
“The constant references throughout the report to achieving our core values around helping to create confident business-ready young adults who are given the opportunity to succeed in a small, safe and caring community means a lot to us.
“Shining through this report is reference to the tremendous support and excellent working relationships we have with our families and local Island community, other educational providers, especially the IW College and of course the wealth of businesses across the Island.”
“May I take this opportunity to thank you for the powerful and clear message sent to the inspection team via the survey and the interviews held with a number of parents regarding the positive learning experience we give to your child.
“They were in no doubt that the unique curriculum offer that provides our students with experiences, skills and confidence really does help them to raise their own aspirations and move on to pathways that best suit their abilities and interests.”
Some of the reasons for the improvement include:
- Leaders’ self-evaluation of the quality of teaching and its impact on outcomes is over generous. Leaders are not sufficiently self critical.
- Governors have not been suitably robust in their oversight of policies or the monitoring of safeguarding in the school. Although safeguarding practices are effective, policies are out of date and systems are not routinely monitored with sufficient challenge.
- Teaching activities are not well matched enough to the varying needs of the pupils. As a result, the most able pupils are not appropriately stretched, and disadvantaged pupils and those who have special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities do not make strong enough progress from their starting points.
- Some staff do not have high enough expectations of what pupils can achieve.
- Current progress in both year groups is variable.
- Pupils do not make enough progress from their starting points in some subjects, particularly science and some vocational subjects. The progress made in mathematics is variable.
- Leaders’ curriculum planning lacks depth and analysis. Although there is a broad range of enrichment activities, there is insufficient provision for physical education or religious education in the school.
- Although overall attendance has improved, there are still gaps between the attendance of some groups and their peers.
Mr White finished by saying,
“The timing of the Ofsted visit has, in many respects, been unfortunate. The school awaits the outcome of the in-principle decision to close after the four week listening period ended and we anticipate that this will be announced in the next few days.
“The inspection and the news about potential closure have added to the challenge of preparing our students in the final revision sessions and beginning of their GCSE examinations. TV crews, newspaper reporters and the radio alongside protest rallies and the canvassing of all those influencers has been really quite distracting for students as well as for staff, although we our eternally grateful for the utterly positive messages that have been delivered. However, our student body have been wonderful and remained positive and focused throughout.
“We have been immensely grateful and quite humbled by the amount of local, national and even international support for our school. Over 20,000 people have signed a national petition to support the school and demand that the government re-think their decision. We appreciate every single vote for us.”
Full details can be found in the report below. Click on the full screen icon to see larger version.