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Officially Rated Good by Ofsted

We are delighted and proud to announce that following a Section 5 inspection by the education watchdog Ofsted in November, we have been judged to be a ‘Good’ school in all areas. This represents a jump from our previous judgement of requires improvement.

Inspectors noted that pupils, staff and parents are proud of their unique school and the positive impact it has on students’ lives. Recognising its unique offer, we were also praised for our partnerships with other providers, with inspectors also visiting Boomsatsuma sites in Bristol, and the way our students are prepared for future learning and employment in creative industries.

Lis Jolley, Principal said: “I am really pleased that Digitech Studio School Bristol has been recognised by Ofsted as a Good school. Digitech offers young people in Bristol and South Gloucestershire a real alternative to larger schools in terms of the specialist curriculum that it offers. I would like to thank the students, staff, parents, and CLF trust for making Digitech such a happy and unique school.

Ofsted’s report said: “Pupils, staff and parents are proud of their unique school. Pupils say differences are not just accepted at Digitech, they are celebrated. Pupils and staff respect one another. Staff know pupils well. Pupils feel safe in school. If they have a concern, they say they can speak with any member of staff.

“Pupils know what is expected of them. Teachers give them clear guidance and useful prompts to help them to complete work. However, some pupils do not always need this level of support. Students in the sixth form enjoy learning from experts to develop knowledge and skills for the creative industries. Student’s talk enthusiastically about their learning.

“Pupils are encouraged to be active members of the school community. Many pupils have a strong interest in the world around them. Pupils are keen to discuss their views and they feel listened to. While pupils gain experience in their specialist areas, such as art and creative media, they would like more enrichment opportunities to develop interests and talents beyond this.”

Cabot Learning Federation Executive Principal Sally Apps said: “It is great to see Lis and her team recognised by Ofsted for the innovative curriculum and peerless support offered to the young people who choose Digitech. Partnership is a significant strength of the school’s work and the inspectors recognised the truly excellent offer being taken up at Boomsatsuma and the Robins Foundation as well as on site at Tower Road. As a Trust we are very proud of the school, of its team, of its partnership work and of course the dedicated students, parents and governance volunteers. Ofsted have rightly recognised the value of collaboration at work in this unique school.”

Ofsted’s report also noted: “The headteacher has an ambitious vision for the school that is shared by staff, pupils and parents. Parents are overwhelmingly supportive of the school and the positive impact the school has on their children. Curriculum leaders and early career teachers welcome the support they receive from the trust.”

On the topic of curriculum the inspectors said: “The curriculum is well planned and sequenced in many areas. Teachers explain subject content clearly to pupils. Many pupils understand and use important concepts accurately. Pupils ask and answer questions that help them to make sense of their learning.”

With reference to sixth form, Ofsted reported: “Teachers of post-16 courses have expert knowledge that is used well. This helps students to develop a clear and precise understanding of their subjects.

“In the sixth form, leaders have developed strong partnerships with other providers. This is a strength of the school. There are high expectations of what students can achieve. This is reflected in the quality of their work. Students develop knowledge and skills that become more complex over time. For example, students produce graphic products of a high quality and create professional advertising to meet clients’ needs. The post-16 study programme prepares students well for future learning and employment in the creative industries.

“Pupils receive useful information and guidance about careers. Students in the sixth form learn about employability skills that prepare them for their next steps. The school meets the requirements of the Baker Clause, which requires schools to provide pupils in Years 8 to 13 with information about approved technical education qualifications and apprenticeships.”

On special educational needs Ofsted commented: “Teachers know pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) well. Leaders of SEND work together well to ensure students have a smooth transition onto new programmes of study when they join the school. Leaders make sure that staff use appropriate strategies to support these pupils, including students in the sixth form. As a result, many pupils with SEND are becoming increasingly independent in their learning. Students with SEND in the sixth form are supported to develop their social skills. They work well with their peers to develop their projects. Pupils with SEND speak positively about the help they receive that builds their confidence.”

On the topic of student safeguarding they said: “The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. Pupils feel safe and they know how to keep themselves safe, including when they are online. Staff receive regular safeguarding training. They are confident to identify and report concerns. Leaders act on concerns promptly. Leaders make sure staff and academy council members are well informed about safeguarding issues.

“Leaders know pupils’ needs well. They have developed strong relationships with external agencies to ensure that pupils and families get the support they need.”