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Ashton Sixth Form College

2020 Full Inspection Report
What does the provider do well and what does it need to do better?

Leaders and governors are highly ambitious for their students. They are committed to providing the highest-quality education to help students achieve their best possible outcome. Leaders and governors promote exceptionally high standards and pursue excellence in teaching, learning and assessment across all areas of the college. Leaders accurately identify best practice and areas for improvement. They use this to inform teachers’ staff development. Governors consistently hold senior leaders to account to sustain high-quality provision for all students. They act swiftly and incisively to eradicate the very few areas of underperformance. As a result, staff at all levels have a shared vision for ensuring the best possible education for their students. Students strive to be the best they can be.

Teachers benefit from well-planned staff development activities that develop their subject knowledge and expertise. These are highly effective in improving the craft of teaching. Staff are trusted to be innovative in their practices but understand their responsibility to help develop high-performing students who achieve excellent results. For example, teachers who are the only teacher of their subject pair with high-performing staff and departments in other colleges to share best practice, teaching strategies and resources. As a result, a culture of self-improvement and continuous improvement permeates the college. Students benefit from high-quality teaching and learning.

Students enjoy an extremely well-planned curriculum that teaches them much more than the knowledge they need to pass their qualifications. For example, students study the impact of European law on English law. They research cases and evaluate the impact of Brexit and the referendum. Consequently, students develop the knowledge and skills to discuss current issues in their wider social networks.

Teachers use highly effective teaching and assessment strategies to identify what students understand and can do and what they need to learn. They teach the curriculum in a logical order. Teachers carefully plan and explain how new knowledge fits into the bigger picture. They build in frequent opportunities for students to practise their skills and to recall and develop their knowledge even further. As a result, students learn more and remember more. They prepare successfully for further study or employment.

Managers, teachers and staff provide students with highly effective and impartial careers information, advice and guidance before and during their programmes. This enables students to make well-informed and aspirational decisions about their future. For example, personal tutors invite guest speakers to talk to students about routes into industry, including employers of people with disabilities and those with specific BME recruitment strategies. Students benefit from the ‘realising aspirations’ programme that facilitates applications to many of the UK’s top universities. Consequently, students have high aspirations for their next steps. Most move into higher education.

2016 Full Inspection Report
What does the provider need to do to improve further?
  • Improve outcomes for learners in underperforming subject areas, by:
    • monitoring closely the impact of actions taken so far this academic year to improve learners’ progress
    • identifying accurately any further improvements needed
    • taking action quickly to ensure that a very high proportion of current and future learners make the progress of which they are capable.
  • Enhance the skills of teachers who do not provide sufficient challenge to the most-able learners by providing relevant training and development and by encouraging teachers to share good practice.
  • Develop the independent learning skills of all learners, by:
    • encouraging learners, particularly those who are less confident, to be more proactive in their learning during lessons, and developing their confidence to articulate their thoughts and ideas and to generate discussion without always being prompted to do so by their teachers
    • ensuring that all learners have sufficiently well-developed skills to extend their learning outside the classroom and beyond the specific requirements of their qualifications.

2011 Full Inspection Report
What does Ashton Sixth Form College need to do to improve further?
  • Embed and accelerate year-on-year improvement in success rates so that variability and inconsistency are tackled in all courses. Ensure the sharp and precise use of data to evaluate students’ progress and enable swift and effective action for improvement.
  • Increase the proportion of higher grades in advanced-level subjects by providing greater challenge and improving the analytical and evaluative skills of students. To embed this further, ensure the effective organisation of student files by regular checks to enable them to be used for reflection and revision.
  • Increase the rigour of the lesson observation system so that the college has an accurate view of the quality of teaching. Evaluate the effectiveness of strategies to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
  • Improve quality assurance systems so that actions to tackle areas of underperformance are sufficiently swift and effective in driving consistent and sustainable improvement in all areas.

2008 Full Inspection Report
Areas for improvement

The college should address:

  • improving students’ success rates particularly at level 3
  • improving the effectiveness of course review and self-assessment in some curriculum areas
  • improving the effectiveness of group tutorials and the uptake of additional learning support.

2004 Full Inspection Report
What should be improved
  • pass rates and higher grade passes on some level 3 courses
  • achievement in advanced level mathematics
  • rigour in some aspects of quality assurance
  • ineffective evaluation of staff development for bringing about improvements in teaching and learning.

Report Recommendations