Wakefield’s CAPA College (Creative and Performing Arts College) celebrate Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ rating 


Since opening their doors as Wakefield’s first (and only) DfE-funded Free School in September 2018, CAPA College have quickly established themselves as one of the most exciting and innovative education providers in the North of England. Every year students from across Yorkshire and beyond flock to the College; which moves into its new multi-million pound, state-of-the-art facilities in September 2022; to pursue their dreams of becoming the next Hollywood star, Oscar-winning filmmaker, director, choreographer or creative. 


It’s easy to see why. CAPA College is a paragon for Arts education. Over two years of study students achieve the equivalent of four A Levels, a portfolio packed with transferrable skills and all of the performance experience they need to progress to HE and their chosen professional careers in Dance, Drama, Musical Theatre or Production Arts and Media. 


CAPA College, which is the only non-fee paying specialist Creative and Performing Arts College of its kind in Yorkshire or the North East, has had much to celebrate in recent years. With an alumnus in every major West End show, consistent 99% A*-C results, a ranking in the top 1% of all post-16 providers nationally for student progress, awards and accolades from the National Theatre, BBC, Sky TV and Arts Council England and almost 6 applicants for every place, CAPA College is already a tour de force in Arts Education; and it now adds Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ to its list of achievements.


During their visit at the end of January 2022, Ofsted were overwhelmed at the quality of education delivered by the teaching team at CAPA College (which is made up of specialist resident teachers and freelance artists; many of whom also have professional careers in the industry as actors, dancers, choreographers, directors, technicians and more). 


The official Ofsted report records, ‘Teachers are highly experienced and use their extensive industry knowledge and links very well. The energy and passion that staff have for their subject is infectious and creates a unique and special learning environment for all students to learn and thrive in…leaders have relentless focus on providing the best teaching, support and outcomes for their students’. 


CAPA College’s results speak for themselves, but the Ofsted inspectors were keen to highlight in their report that ALL students at the College are given ‘very effective support’ to ‘develop their skills’, including students from low income families or those with special educational needs and/or disabilities. 70% of CAPA College students come from the top 3 areas where young people are least likely to go to university, yet 99% of last year’s graduates secured university places; with over 53% being offered places at specialist Arts conservatories (equivalent of Russell Group). 


CAPA College’s ethos is ACER (accessibility, collaboration, excellence and respect). First and foremost, the College are committed to support their students as young people and young performers; and the quality of their pastoral and careers guidance was lauded by Ofsted. 


The report recorded, ‘Students display exemplary attitudes to their studies. They are polite, motivated and well organised, and they attend regularly…Students take great pride in their work and use their very helpful feedback that they receive from teachers to improve their practice further. They make rapid progress, achieve well and move on to their chosen universities…Students are exceptionally safe, nurtured and cared for’. 


CAPA College is part of Enhance Academy Trust and the inspectors’ report also makes specific reference to the College’s exceptional team of trustees and governors, as well as the ‘extensive teaching programme’ offered throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns; factors which were also recognised by the Sixth Form College Association who bestowed their ‘Governance’ and ‘Covid Above and Beyond’ awards to CAPA College in 2021. 


Ultimately every Ofsted inspection is judged on five different criteria: the quality of education; behaviour and attitudes; personal development; leadership and management; and education programmes for young people. CAPA College was judged ‘Outstanding’ in every category. 


CAPA College was already a jewel in Yorkshire’s crown; it now takes it position amongst the UK’s elite of ‘Outstanding’ education providers. 


The full Ofsted report can be accessed here: https://www.capa.college/ofsted/