This week: Several ‘outstanding’ Sixth Form Colleges from the late spring inspections Hereford Sixth Form College, Hereford
Summary of grades awarded:
Effectiveness of provision Outstanding: Grade 1Capacity to improve Outstanding: Grade 1Achievement and standards Outstanding: Grade 1Quality of provision Outstanding: Grade 1Leadership and management Outstanding: Grade1Equality of opportunity Outstanding: contributory grade 1
Hereford Sixth Form is a medium-sized FE college with a specialism in the arts. Most students come from the largely rural county of Herefordshire, though others travel from the neighbouring counties of Shropshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. The college offers advanced level courses in 12 subject areas, as well as a range of GCSE qualifications. In September 2007, there were 1,726 full-time students, most aged 16 to 18-years-old.
Ofsted said the effectiveness of provision at Hereford was outstanding, as were all the areas inspected. They found that achievement and standards had continued to improve since the previous inspection and judged them to be very high. The excellent performance of students at AS and A level, compared to their prior attainment predictions, was highlighted as key strength for the college. Ofsted’s only criticism in this area was that too many students were not completing their ICT key skills portfolio.
Inspectors agreed with the college’s self-assessment that teaching and learning were outstanding. They said: “Most lessons are at least good and a significant proportion is outstanding,” and that teachers combined, “innovation, productive use of ILT and considerable skill to make lessons enjoyable and inspiring.” Lesson observations and support were both described as effective, and the range of extra-curricular activities was listed as a strength.
Leadership and management received the outstanding grade. The only area for improvement was the replacement of some unsatisfactory temporary accommodation. Otherwise, Ofsted thought that governance was good, promotion of equality was outstanding, and the college showed a commitment to success and high quality care.
Oldham Sixth Form College, Oldham
Summary of grades awarded:
Effectiveness of provision Outstanding: Grade 1Capacity to improve Outstanding: Grade 1Achievement and standards Outstanding: Grade 1Quality of provision Outstanding: Grade 1Leadership and management Outstanding: Grade 1Equality of opportunity Outstanding: Contributory Grade 1
Established in 1992, Oldham Sixth Form College is a purpose built college that was awarded learning and skills Beacon status in 2005. Most students come from the Greater Manchester area, and from 11 partner schools in Oldham. In 2006/07, there were 2,111 students, mostly aged 16 to 18, studying advanced level courses in 12 subject areas. The college also provides GCSE and vocational courses.
The effectiveness of provision and capacity to improve at Oldham were judged to be outstanding. The number of key strengths identified greatly outweighed the areas for improvement. Ofsted agreed with the college’s self-assessment that achievement and standards were outstanding. The report noted that success rates at all levels were, “consistently above the national rate.” The progress of some students in a small number of subjects was the only area for improvement listed by Ofsted.
Teaching and learning were described by inspectors as, “challenging and innovative.” In 2006/07, the college declared that 94% of lessons had been of good or better quality; Ofsted confirmed this judgement during the inspection. They also noted that academic and personal support was excellent, particularly for individuals with additional learning needs.
Inspectors again agreed with the self-assessment that leadership and management were outstanding. Other key strengths that were listed as outstanding included the college’s approach to social and educational inclusion, its resources and accommodation, and the contribution it makes to the local community, where it was said to be, “held in very high esteem.” Ofsted also said the college showed excellent financial management and had a strong focus on quality improvement.
Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College, Leeds
Summary of grades awarded:
Effectiveness of provision Outstanding: Grade 1Capacity to improve Outstanding: Grade 1Achievement and standards Good: Grade 2Quality of provision Outstanding: Grade 1Leadership and management Outstanding: Grade 1Equality of opportunity Outstanding: Contributory Grade 1
Notre Dame Catholic Sixth Form College, the only one of its kind in the Yorkshire and Humberside region, was established in 1989. The college provides full-time courses for students from the Catholic schools in Leeds and the surrounding area. Students from other faith backgrounds also have a strong representation. At the time of inspection there were 1,422 students, most of whom are aged 16 to 18 and undertaking level 3 courses.
Ofsted found Notre Dame to be an outstanding college. Achievement and standards was the only area not to receive an outstanding grade, though inspectors were generally pleased with success rates stating they were, “broadly in line with national rates,” since there had been an improving trend. Success rates on a small number of AS courses were highlighted as areas for improvement.
The quality of provision was graded outstanding and inspectors listed, “much good teaching and learning,” as a key strength. They said that lessons were, “well structured with a clear emphasis on ensuring that all students make good progress,” and that, “teachers check understanding regularly.” Assessment was described as thorough and well planned, while enrichment opportunities were said to be excellent. Other strengths for the college included social and educational inclusion and the support available for students.
Ofsted thought that leadership and management were highly effective and that Notre Dame was doing a good job of meeting the needs of the Catholic community. Their only suggestions for improvement focused on the college’s further development of accommodation and better integration of an electronic monitoring system for student progress. Quality improvement strategies were seen to be “rigorous” and promotion of equality was graded outstanding.
Ashton-under-Lyne Sixth Form College, Greater Manchester
Summary of grades awarded:
Effectiveness of provision Satisfactory: Grade 3Capacity to improve Good: Grade 2Achievement and standards Satisfactory: Grade 3Quality of provision Good: Grade 2Leadership and management Satisfactory: Grade 3Equality of opportunity Good: Contributory Grade 2
Ashton-under-Lyne Sixth Form College (Ashton) was established in 1980 and provides academic and vocational courses at levels 1, 2 and 3. In 2005/06, there were 1,728 students aged 16 to 18 and 625 students aged 19 and over. The majority of learners undertake AS and A levels, though the college also offers GCSEs, BTEC courses, Train to Gain programmes and foundation degrees through partnerships with universities.
The overall effectiveness of provision at Ashton was graded as satisfactory. Ofsted identified a good capacity to improve stating that the college had set, “challenging yet realistic targets to achieve their goals.” Achievement and standards were judged to be satisfactory, though Ofsted wanted to see improving success rates, particularly on level 3 courses. Students on the newly developed Train to Gain programme were showing satisfactory levels of achievement.
The quality of teaching and learning was deemed good and was listed as a strength for the college. Inspectors reported that most teachers planned their lessons well, but some lessons were “too directed” by the teacher. They suggested that the effectiveness of group tutorials and the uptake of additional learning support could be improved. Inspectors also said the college’s approach to social and educational inclusion and its “very responsive” curriculum were two outstanding strengths.
Leadership and management received a satisfactory grade. Ofsted felt that Ashton had a strong commitment to quality improvement. They thought the college should focus on improving the effectiveness of course reviews and the self-assessment report. Resources for learning and equality of opportunity were both described as good.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in