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Pupils stage protest after Plymouth School of Creative Arts is placed in special measures

Plymouth's School of Creative Arts has been placed in special measures Photo: Larrah Thompson

Students at a Plymouth school have staged a colourful 'show of support' for their teachers following a damning Ofsted report.

Plymouth School of Creative Arts in Millbay has been rated inadequate and placed in special measures, with inspectors saying pupils are making 'insufficient progress', classroom disruption is too high whilst persistent absence is also a major issue.

Parents said they were proud of teachers and pupils at the school Credit: Larrah Thompson

This morning pupils unveiled banners outside the school with slogans such as 'Too special to measure', 'Outstanding in our eyes' and 'Creativity takes courage'.

Ofsted said the school is not making enough progress Credit: Larrah Thompson

We are disappointed with the results of this most recent inspection but committed to continuing to improve and develop the school, which has grown from 100 students when it opened in 2013 to its planned size of 1000 students since September 2018. Ofsted inspected Plymouth School of Creative Arts just nine days after I moved from my role as deputy head teacher into the role of joint acting head teacher, alongside Andrew Carpenter.

– Mike Beard, joint interim head teacher
Parents say the banners are not intended as a protest against Ofsted Credit: Larrah Thompson

Following the school being placed into 'special measures' by Ofsted, myself, other parents and our children wanted to show that we recognise that our school teaches differently and not everything can be measured by ticks in boxes. So this was a stand to show our solidarity with the school and the teachers. It is not to protest Ofsted's findings but rather to celebrate the reasons our children love this school.

– Larrah Thompson, parent
Ofsted released its inspection report on Monday morning Credit: Jenny South

Here is a summary of the key points from the Ofsted report:

  • Too many pupils across the primary and secondary phases of the school are making insufficient progress
  • Staff expectations are not high enough.
  • Leaders do not evaluate the effectiveness of pupil premium and catch-up funding. Consequently, funding does not lead directly to higher outcomes for pupils.
  • Absence overall, and for different groups of pupils, is too high and not showing signs of improvement.
  • Persistent absence is also too high, as is exclusion from school.
  • Across the school there is too much low-level disruption.
  • Teaching does not engage pupils and the learning environment is not conducive to learning.
  • Leadership and external support, over time, have not improved teaching quality sufficiently to enable pupils to realise their potential.
  • Teaching and assessment do not meet the needs of different groups of pupils.
  • The most able pupils are not challenged to achieve their best. The least able pupils are not provided with adequate support.
  • Governors have not held leaders to account for pupils’ outcomes in key subjects, such as English and mathematics, over time
  • Exclusions from school are above average.They are not declining quickly enough.
  • Provision in Reception is not yet good because the curriculum and learning environments require development to maximise children’s progress.
  • The curriculum does not enable pupils to acquire knowledge and skills across a broad range of subjects. Most pupils do not receive adequate careers advice
  • Senior and middle leaders, who are very new in post, are making positive changes, but it is too soon to judge their impact.
  • The large majority of parents and carers who shared their views are supportive of the school.
  • Safeguarding is effective.
  • Staff morale is high.
  • Staff are supportive of each other and work hard to foster positiver elationships with pupils, who are well cared for.
  • The physical education (PE) and sport premium is spent effectively to improve staff training and opportunities for pupils.