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This is a good school. Senior leaders, staff, governors and the sponsor share vision, passion, determination and the skills to make a difference to young people's lives. Good leadership is securing rapid improvement.
Students feel safe and secure. They behave well and take pride in their work and their studio. Students make good progress in response to good teaching that engages their interest and stimulates their thinking.
Their achievement in the studio's specialist subjects is strong. Students who have previously been at risk of exclusion or have had a disrupted education are effectively supported; consequently, their attendance has improved and they show g...ood engagement in their work. The curriculum is well-planned to meet students' needs.
Students enjoy wide-ranging experiences, including through their work placements; these prepare them well for meaningful future employment. The studio promotes tolerance, resilience and respect rigorously and equips students well to be responsible young citizens. Pastoral care is excellent.
The studio works tenaciously with students and their families to remove barriers to their learning and build their self-esteem. The sixth form is good. It gives students the skills and self-belief to progress into higher education or training.
It is not yet an outstanding school because : Some students do not read widely enough. Students do not always apply basic skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar sufficiently in their writing. Teachers do not consistently encourage students to use Standard English or to extend their range of vocabulary.
Attendance, although improving, is significantly lower than for secondary schools.
Information about this school
Darwen Aldridge Enterprise Studio opened in September 2013. It is sponsored by the Aldridge Foundation and provides specialist education in creative, digital and media education, business and law.
The curriculum is expanding to include health-, social- and child-care. After a year using temporary accommodation, the studio moved into permanent premises in September 2014. Refurbishment of this building was completed in January 2015.
The school is much smaller than an average-sized secondary school. Around two-thirds of students attending the studio are supported through the pupil premium. This figure is significantly higher than average.
(The pupil premium is additional funding for students who are known to be eligible for free school meals and those who are looked after by the local authority.) The proportion of students from minority ethnic backgrounds is below average, as is the proportion of students who speak English as an additional language. The proportion of students who are disabled or who have special educational needs is higher than average.
Students in Key Stage 4 and in the sixth form undertake professional placements with local businesses or organisations. Three students are educated at St Thomas' Centre, the local pupil referral unit. It is not possible to judge whether the school meets the government's floor standards (the minimum expectations of students' attainment and progress in English and mathematics by the end of Key Stage 4) because no group of students has yet completed their Key Stage 4 course.
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