Inspection Report Published

This week Ofsted published their latest inspection report for The Sixth Form College, Solihull, shortly after the College joined the Ninestiles Academy Trust.

A four-day inspection took place at the end of January; the first inspection the College has had since 2013. The College’s BTEC provision received particular praise, while partnerships with Higher Education were also commended by inspectors. The safety of staff and students and the strength of the College’s Equality and Diversity were rated highly.

College Principal Martin Sullivan commented:

“Ofsted inspectors recognised many of the good things that we do for our students. They also had suggestions for areas for improvement and all staff, management and trustees are committed to working together to raise standards further. We have a good track record for helping our students to progress onto university, further training and employment.”

The College’s Higher Education acceptances are consistently higher than UCAS national figures for all applicants – at 88.6% in 2017. In addition, the number of students progressing to Russell Group and Oxbridge universities is also above the UCAS average. In 2017, nine students secured places at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. A substantial number of students (9%) also secured places on apprenticeships and in direct employment in 2017.

The Principal added:

“Despite success in terms of progression, we agree with Ofsted that our students can make greater progress with us and we have some exciting ideas for how we can help our students to achieve this in the future.”

Among the reforms being planned by the College are a new management structure that will include a new Vice Principal and Assistant Principal and these positions are being advertised in March. A new automated system for informing parents of any student absences has already been implemented and further training is planned to embed new systems that have teaching, learning and assessment at the heart of their objectives. A change to the timetable is also being planned, which will allow for more targeted interventions to improve the progress of all students.

Ofsted made reference to the College’s recent merger with the Ninestiles Academy Trust and praised the new Trustees and Trust leaders, who they described as having “vision and setting challenging targets”.

Ninestiles Academy Trust Chief Executive Catherine Anwar commented:

“We have been working closely with the College and the new Principal, Martin Sullivan, since the merger in August 2017. We are very ambitious and have high aspirations for the College and all our students; reforms and new developments are already underway. There is no doubt that the College will continue to benefit from the Trust’s strong leadership, vision and values.”

The full Ofsted report can be downloaded. However, some of the highlights of the report include:

“Students feel safe and their safety is a high priority for the college. Senior managers’ highly effective approach to keeping students safe has created a secure and harmonious learning environment. Students have a good understanding of the importance of equality, and they value the diverse community in which they learn. The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.”

“The majority of students taking the BTEC National Diploma make good progress from their starting points and achieve high grades.”

“The new trustees and trust leaders have high aspirations for the college and the students. They have a clear vision of how the new academy can benefit staff and students through the sharing of good practice across the college. They understand the importance of monitoring students’ progress and the quality of teaching and learning. They have set challenging and appropriate targets for college managers and are holding them to account well.”

“Leaders have developed effective partnerships with local schools and universities, which have led to students progressing well to university.”

“Senior leaders have a clear strategy for the development of students’ skills in mathematics and English.”

“The large majority of students benefit from participation in a wide range of enrichment activities. Vocational students benefit from high-quality work experience. All students benefit from impartial and high quality careers guidance, which leads to positive destinations for the large majority of students.”

“Leaders and managers place particular importance on equality. Senior leaders clearly set out expectations in terms of respect and non-discriminatory behaviour. They ensure that staff and students participate in appropriate training. Staff and students treat each other with respect. As a result, leaders and managers have developed a safe and harmonious learning environment, which staff and students value.”

“The majority of students are positive about their overall learning experience and the support they receive, and are motivated to learn. They work well together and benefit from both peer and teacher support.”

“The majority of students produce classwork to an appropriate standard and are proud of the work they produce.”

“Students are well behaved, friendly and arrive in class ready to learn. They display a strong work ethic inside the classroom.”

“Students have access to a wide range of well-planned and organised enrichment activities. These include a variety of societies and academic forums to support higher education applications.”

“The very large majority of BTEC students benefit from an external work experience placement, which has helped them to develop well personal, social and work-related skills, or example their timekeeping and teamwork.”

“Students benefit from comprehensive and effective impartial careers guidance from experienced advisers. This enables them to make informed decisions about their immediate higher education choice.”

28 February 2018