Not even the pupils' all-singing production of Fame could save Churchfields school in Swindon from losing its status as a performing arts college.
A redesignation panel was shown some of the students' work on the musical last year but it still decided that the school should be stripped of its status in April.
School staff have complained that the decision was based mainly on the proportion of students who gained five or more A* to C grades at GCSE, which dropped from 42 per cent in 2000 to 28 per cent last year.
Steve Flavin, headteacher, said the re-designation system gave the misleading impression that a school had failed in its specialism when it could have lost the status because of results in other subjects.
However, he said he had already begun the process of reapplying and was confident the school would become a specialist again within the next two years.