Ofsted Good rating for Darwen Studio School

Date: April 23rd 2015

Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio school is celebrating after receiving an official “Good” rating from Ofsted.

The inspection took place just before the Easter break and the Report highlights that the school, which opened in September 2013, is performing well in every headline category. The quality of teaching, the achievement of students, the performance of the sixth form, behaviour and safety of students, and leadership and management of the school were all rated as Good.

Principal Ruth Bradbury said “It’s actually very difficult to gain a “good” rating from Ofsted under the more rigorous framework now used. The outcome is testament to the dedication and skill of staff as well as the academic ability and excellent behaviour of our students. It is also proof that the unique nature of the Studio school curriculum which allows our students to study the subjects that they love and therefore excel in, is the way forward for many young people”.

She added “The Report shows that the Studio is a provider of a high quality secondary and sixth form education for students across Blackburn, Darwen and North Bolton.”

As well as observing lessons and talking to staff, students, governors and the Foundation, the inspector reviewed responses to the Ofsted’s on-line questionnaire (Parent View) and met with parents. In the report they noted that:

  • Students make GOOD progress in response to GOOD teaching
  • Pastoral care is EXCELLENT
  • Students achievements in the Studio’s specialist subjects is STRONG
  • Parents STRONGLY agreed they would RECOMMEND the Studio to other parents
  • Parents talk about the AMAZING difference the Studio has made
  • Higher attaining students are ON TRACK to achieve GOOD GRADES.
  • Business links and work placement opportunities mean that student are WELL PREPARED for the next stage of education or employment.
  • The SIXTH FORM supports students to become REFLECTIVE, RESILIENT and INDEPENDENT learners.

The report also shows that the small school and class sizes, and the close relationship we have with our students and their parents and carers is at the heart of our success. The report states “strong relationships between staff and students are apparent. Teachers and support staff make students feel positive about themselves and their work”.One student is quoted saying “everyone knows each other as a person and that helps you find your talents.”

Parents’ views on behaviour and safety are also highlighted: “parents agree that students’ behaviour is well-managed and that their children feel safe at the studio.”

Principal Ruth Bradbury concluded “as the aim for the Studio school is to make students more work-and university- ready than traditional educators, statements such as “almost all students have secured university places or work for when they leave the studio. Some students have received unconditional university offers because of the talents they have displayed” and “virtually all students have a clear and realistic idea of what they want to do in the future and the steps they need to take to realise their ambitions” will make the parents of prospective students understand we can make a difference.”

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