Bath Studio School has been told to improve – just months before it is set to close.
The Frome Road school will shut its doors in July 2020 because falling pupil numbers have meant its budget has shrunk.
Councillor Tim Ball, who has two grandchildren at the school, branded the inspection a waste of teaching time and public money.
“They made the kids suffer and the staff suffer,” he said.
“They had to move from the Bath Community Academy when it closed [last summer] and then had the indignity of an inspection at Bath Studio School just before it closes.
“It’s an insult. Why waste public money?”
In response to the criticism, an Ofsted spokesman said: “We inspected the school in accordance with our legal duty and the timescales set out in our inspection handbook.
“Schools that require improvement are normally inspected within 30 months of their last inspection, and we use our risk assessment process to make sure we’re prioritising our resources where they are most needed.
“It’s right that we check children are receiving a good quality of education and are being kept safe.”
Ofsted rated Bath Studio School “requires improvement” in all categories.
The report said, despite its imminent closure, principal Peter Headeach is “providing the best education possible for pupils so that they have a good start to their next steps in life”.
Students at the digital media and film academy produce industry-standard work in some specialist subjects but teaching is unstructured in English and maths, the inspectors said, adding that too many pupils fail to attend school regularly and teachers need to be more vigilant.
Bath Studio School provides effective careers advice for pupils but must do more so they understand “British values and have a spiritual and cultural awareness of life in the 21st century”, the inspectors said.
The school for 14 to 19-year-olds is part of the Wellsway Multi Academy Trust.
Inspectors said trust leaders are “sensitive to the situation” and do not burden staff with unnecessary paperwork.
Andrea Arlidge, chief executive of Wellsway Multi Academy Trust, said in a statement: “The inspectors recognised that the Bath Studio School continues to provide a high standard of education in the specialist subjects it was set up to support.
“We are very proud of the media skills our students develop through our ‘unique curriculum’ and are delighted that our sixth-form graphics candidates are already said to be working at industry standard.
“We are confident that they will follow a number of others who have studied at Bath Studio School and gone to forge promising careers in the industry.
“We are pleased that Ofsted praised our highly skilled staff and the high expectations and other strengths of headteacher Pete Headeach, who is leading the school through the final two years of its life.
“The inspectors also acknowledged the support provided by the trust.
“We will ensure that we bring in skills and expertise from other schools in Wellsway Multi Academy Trust over the coming months to help address the issues identified by Ofsted so that all the students who remain at Bath Studio School get the best possible education.”
A letter from the trust in February said there were then only 123 pupils on the roll, meaning the school was only 41 per cent full.
The Ofsted report says there are now only 49 students.
Stephen Sumner, Local Democracy Reporter