Walsall Studio School

Name Walsall Studio School
Website http://www.walsallstudioschool.co.uk/
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 21 April 2015
Address 14a Lower Hall Lane, The Goldmine Centre, Walsall, West Midlands, WS1 1RL
Phone Number 01922621951
Type Academy
Age Range 14-19
Religious Character None
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils 276 (44% boys 56% girls)
Number of Pupils per Teacher 20.2
Academy Sponsor The Mercian Trust
Percentage Free School Meals 27.4%
Percentage English is Not First Language 6.9%

Information about this school

The Walsall Studio School is a smaller than average-sized school with a sixth form specialising in business, social enterprise and a broad range of creative and digital disciplines. Students apply to join the school at either the beginning of Year 10 or Year 12. Walsall Studio School opened in September 2013 following a successful joint bid to the Studio School Trust from The Vine Education Trust, Queen Mary’s Grammar School and Performance through People Training Ltd. These key partners are all represented on the governing body. There are 167 students currently on roll, and 18 staff employed in the school. Many of the students who join the school have in the past experienced disruption to their education and some have not attended school regularly. Three quarters of the school population are of White British heritage. One in five students in the school is supported by the pupil premium funding (additional government funding that provides support for disadvantaged students known to be eligible for free school meals or who are in the care of the local authority). This is below the national average. The proportion of disabled students and those with special educational needs is above the national average. This represents just under a quarter of the students in the school. A small number of students attend courses away from school at Second Chances School, part of The Vine Education Trust. Students have not yet finished their courses in Key Stage 4 or the sixth form, therefore it is not possible to analyse their performance against the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress in reading, writing and mathematics.

Summary of key findings for parents and pupils

This is a good school. 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. Regular tracking of information about how well students are doing is used very effectively by leaders to intervene quickly where students need additional support. Students make excellent progress in English and literacy as a result of a whole-school commitment to improving reading and writing skills. The leadership and development of teaching is highly effective. Robust systems are in place to continually review and refine practice, through a skilfully planned programme of training encouraging teachers to innovate and share good practice. The sixth form is good. Students undertake an extensive range of rich and rewarding work-based projects. Such opportunities ensure that students are fully engaged with their learning and make good progress. Governors use their expertise in business and commerce, social enterprise and the creative industries to great effect. This expertise provides students with very valuable opportunities developing their knowledge and understanding of the world of work beyond school. Keeping children safe is at the heart of this school and drives highly effective processes and systems. Students feel very safe in school. 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’. It is not yet an outstanding school because : Despite the positive impact of the interventions to improve students’ attendance and reduce persistent absence, attendance is not in line with other schools nationally. In mathematics, the proportion of students making more than expected progress is below the national average.