Ofsted Report / Performance

Please feel free to download our Ofsted reports below:

Ofsted Report 2019

Ofsted Report 2015

Statement regarding the Ofsted Report 2019:

This week Ofsted has released a new report rating Plymouth School of Creative Arts (PSCA) as Inadequate and placing the school in Special Measures, following our first inspection, June 2015, in which we were rated Good.

Inspectors noted that senior staff who are newly in post have identified areas for development and are making positive changes across the school but it is too soon to judge their impact.

We are reassured that the report identified no areas for improvement that we hadn’t already identified ourselves and were already working on before the inspection. We have the capacity to improve, and work on improving these areas will continue at an accelerated rate. Staff and Governors take the findings of Ofsted very seriously and are committed to improving and developing the school, transforming the life opportunities of every student and supporting them to achieve academically through a creative and purposeful education. We understand that many of the school’s strengths are not yet the focus of the Ofsted inspection process, and that the Ofsted inspection framework is due to change this year because the current process puts too much emphasis on test and exam results.

Our journey so far

PSCA was founded in 2013 as an all-through Free School with a pedagogical vision that was supported by the Department for Education and framed in response to the ongoing marginalisation of arts subjects in mainstream education. Preparing all students for a rapidly-changing world means helping them develop as whole people, not just teaching them to pass tests and not excluding or ‘off-rolling’ students in order to improve the school’s data. This ethos is something that we remain proud of and staunchly committed to.

Our school has grown from its opening roll of 100 students to its planned size of 1020 students since September 2018. The school is proud to offer a broad and balanced curriculum with a focus on project-based learning, including traditional qualifications such as GCSEs but also opportunities to learn creatively across all subjects in a way that Ofsted inspectors would not normally assess. The school is partnered with HERO Learning System, an innovative digital learning environment used to record and capture project-based learning from the students digitally in a way that falls outside the normal scope of Ofsted inspection.

Next steps & ongoing work

Following the results of the School’s Ofsted inspection, our staff and Governors are working in close dialogue with the Regional Schools Commission with advice and support from Tony Bloxham, Director of the Taunton Teaching Alliance and one of the RSC’s Education Specialist Team to support the school in achieving its Improvement Plan. We’re already receiving excellent support from the Local Authority, and regional organisations and schools, including an exciting new partnership with Devonport High School for Boys in maths mentoring.

Staff and Governors have already met with over 150 parents to discuss the Ofsted report. We have been encouraged by the widespread support from parents and guardians of children at the school, many of whom gathered outside on Monday and Tuesday morning to stage a public show of support and speak to journalists from BBC Spotlight, ITV West Country and the Plymouth Herald.

The school’s community and leadership team is entirely focused on and committed to addressing its need to improve, within the school’s distinctive educational ethos and values. Our founders and sponsors, Plymouth College of Art, remain committed to supporting the school in transforming the lives of every student.

We are in discussion with the Regional Schools Commission regarding the implications of this Ofsted judgement and next steps. We fully appreciate that this uncertainty will be difficult for everybody within our school community, but we will continue to share new developments and information as soon as we can.

If you have any questions about the report or what comes next, please email us directly on headteacher@schoolofcreativearts.co.uk. We’re unable to reply to questions or comments on social media, but will try to answer your emails within two working days of receiving them.

Thanks for all of your support so far.

Mike Beard & Andy Carpenter,

Joint Interim Headteachers at Plymouth School of Creative Arts

In its inspection, Ofsted praised the following strengths at the school:

  • The large majority of parents and carers who shared their views are supportive of the school.
  • Staff morale is high.
  • Staff are supportive of each other and work hard to foster positive relationships with pupils, who are well cared for.
  • Senior and middle leaders are making positive changes in the school.
  • Safeguarding is effective.
  • The physical education (PE) and sport premium is spent effectively to improve staff training and opportunities for pupils.
  • Pupils’ pastoral care is a key priority for staff. They invest time, energy
    and resources in helping pupils to overcome various social, emotional and behavioural issues.
  • Children achieve well in early years.
  • There is little bullying in the school, because of the inclusive, tolerant and accepting attitude of pupils and staff.
  • Pupils look after the school environment well. There is no litter, graffiti or vandalism.
  • Governors are highly committed to the school’s distinctive vision and philosophy of learning. They have integrity, and care deeply that pupils should experience enjoyable, stimulating learning that broadens their horizons.

National successes

The most recent Parent Survey at the school highlighted:

  • that 85% of parents felt that teachers supported their child’s learning;
  • that 83% of parents considered their child was happy at school; and
  • that 80% of parents felt their child was progressing well at school, and that behaviour was well managed.

Other recent successes include strong assessment results in Early Years children and strong results of the oldest students in their BTEC qualifications. In the Edge Foundation’s October 2018 report, ‘Towards a Twenty-First Century Education System’, the school was championed for its project-based learning, strong partnerships with local employers, and meaningful integration with the local community and businesses.

At the 2018 national Shine School Media Awards, encouraging the development of publishing projects in secondary schools across the UK, students from PSCA won Best Design and Layout award, and were Highly Commended in the categories of Best Podcast, Best Photograph, and Best Magazine.

PSCA also appeared alongside Prime Minister Theresa May and a small number of outstanding schools in the 2016/17 Parliamentary Review, showcasing best practice as a learning tool to the public and private sector in a publication that is sent to over half a million leading policymakers.

About Plymouth School of Creative Arts

  • Founded by Plymouth College of Art in 2013 the school is located in an award-winning building, The Red House, designed by renowned architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, specialists in arts and education.
  • The school was built as part of the regeneration of Millbay, an area ranked among the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in the UK.
  • The proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional language is in line with the national average (significantly above the Plymouth average).
  • The proportion of pupils known to be eligible for the pupil premium is much higher than the national average.
  • The proportion of pupils with SEND who receive support is well above the national average.
  • The proportion of pupils who have an education, health and care plan is also significantly above the national average.
  • A wide range of community groups have shared The Red House since it opened, including Plymouth & Devon Racial Equality Council, Street Factory CIC, Plymouth Dance Development Agency.
  • The Red House won the RIBA South West Award and British Construction Industry Judges Special Award in 2016, as well as being shortlisted for international prizes including Architects Journal 100 Building of the Year, World Architecture Festival award and Building Magazine Project of the Year.

Link to school and college performance tables

Key Stage 2 Results 2017/2018:

KS2 Data 2017/2018
The percentage of pupils achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics 19
Average progress in reading between KS1 and KS2 -3.33
Average progress in writing between KS1 and KS2 -5.79
Average progress in mathematics between KS1 and KS2 -8.23
Percentage of pupils achieving a high level of attainment in reading, writing and mathematics 0
Average scaled score in the reading test 99.5
Average scaled score in the maths test 94.1