Drama school with Wigan base is rated 'outstanding'

Students at ALRA celebrate the "outstanding" rating from Ofsted
Students at ALRA celebrate the "outstanding" rating from Ofsted

Staff and students at a drama school are celebrating after being given top marks by education inspectors.

Ofsted rated the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) as “outstanding” after visits to its sites at Wigan Pier and in London.

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They found teachers were “well qualified” and “many students” gained professional work after completing their course.

Principal Adrian Hall said: “It’s really rewarding to receive this ‘outstanding’ mark of quality and I am thrilled that the tutors, students and support teams have been recognised for their hard work, dedication and talent.

“ALRA has gone from strength to strength. We have built on firm foundations and our nurturing environment and drive for high standards has paid off.”

Ofsted inspectors found teachers were “highly experienced” and had worked “extensively” in the performing arts industry.

They planned lessons well and used a “diverse range” of teaching techniques.

Students had “excellent relationships” with teachers and peers and were described as “highly motivated, confident and self-assured”.

Leaders and managers were said to have a “clear sense of purpose” for ALRA.

There were “excellent strategies” to support students from all backgrounds, with initiatives for former looked-after children, mentoring for students from minority ethnic backgrounds and support for those considering gender reassignment.

ALRA also had strategies to support students’ mental and emotional well-being, as well as an “extensive” range of activities to support their physical well-being.

Students made “excellent” progress and developed “a broad cross-section of valuable performance skills”.

A “high” proportion of students acquired an agent when they completed their course, though this applied to fewer students in Wigan than the capital due to the “London-centric nature of performance work”.

Ofsted found ALRA should invest in improving the decorative state of classrooms at both sites, ensure each student has specific learning targets and make students more aware of the risks associated with extremism and radicalisation.