LEADERSHIP of the Studio School at Knutsford Academy has been rated as outstanding by Ofsted, with inspectors awarding an overall received Ofsted’s second-highest rating in its first full inspection, with leadership rated as outstanding.

Opened in September 2014, the school offers a wide range of career-based opportunities, on top of a focus on academic achievement as well as preparing students for the working world.

The report follows a flurry of success for the Studio school and Academy as a whole, with record Year 7 and sixth form applications – including students from more than 20 schools requesting a post-GCSE place.

Outside of the classroom, the academy has also seen success across a range of sports, including athletics and football, as well as in the performing arts.

Mike Cladingbowl, Knutsford Multi-Academy Trust executive principal and former Ofsted head of inspections, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the report and the progress the school has made since it opened.

“The school is now one of the top performing Studio schools in the country and we have introduced a range of options that are proving very successful, including our football academy who were recently crowned Cheshire champions.

“Our aim is now for outstanding overall, and we have already started to work on the key opportunities highlighted by the inspector to achieve this.”

During a two-day visit at the end of March, published last week, Ofsted inspectors found the school’s teaching quality, learning and assessment, personal development, pupil outcomes and 16 to 19 study programmes all to be ‘good’.

The inspection team, led by Neil Mackenzie, wrote: “The executive principal, very well supported by the governors and the headteacher, has created a clear vision of what this studio school should provide to best serve its pupils.

“His passion is infectious and he has inspired other staff to drive rapid improvement. The quality of leadership at all levels is excellent.

“The school’s ethos is tangible. Many pupils start in the studio having not experienced recent success in education. Staff strive to find ways to help their pupils thrive.

“Success is celebrated and pupils’ self-esteem is systematically developed. With increased confidence, good academic achievement and strengthened personal development, pupils are well prepared for good-quality further training and employment.”