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'We support the teachers' - Parents hit back at Ofsted after Plymouth school placed in special measures

Parents David Nottage (left) and Stacey Giles (right) took part in the 'show of solidarity'. Credit: ITV News West Country

Parents have rallied to support an under-fire primary school in Plymouth after Ofsted placed it in special measures.

Inspectors from the education watchdog said pupils at the Plymouth School of Creative Arts in Millbay had made “insufficient” progress since their last visit.

They also criticised staff for having low expectations, and concerns were raised in Ofsted’s report about pupils being absent.

Plymouth School of Creative Arts was placed in special measures by Ofsted. Credit: ITV News West Country

In response, parents and pupils staged a ‘show of solidarity’ outside the school - unveiling banners with slogans such as 'Too special to measure', 'Outstanding in our eyes' and 'Creativity takes courage'.

Stacey Giles, who took part in the demonstration, said the Ofsted report has “upset most of the parents”.

Stacey Giles. Credit: ITV News West Country

I think the Ofsted result has upset most of the parents and the children, and the children really have done this off their own backs.

They love their school, they’re excited to come to school every day and Ofsted doesn’t measure those things so we want to show the staff and the school that we, as the parents and the children, support the school and we still love the school.

– Stacey Giles

David Nottage, another parent who took part, said he wanted Ofsted to listen to parents’ views.

This is about saying to Ofsted who did the report that we’ve heard you, we get it, we can improve but now hear us.

This is what we’re about, this is about creativity, it’s about expression, it’s about confidence and standing up something you believe in and that’s kind of really the DNA of our school.

– David Nottage

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.