reCAPTCHA demo: Simple page

Barnsley Sixth Form College

2022 Full Inspection Report
What does the provider do well and what does it need to do better?

Leaders and managers have very successfully maintained excellent standards of education for students and most apprentices. Leaders have developed a very clear strategic vision for the college, which benefits the residents of Barnsley. Senior leaders and governors work closely and effectively with the local authority to focus on providing ‘More and Better’ jobs for local residents. They have invested in the college estate to enable students and apprentices to study in highly professional, up-to-date and aspirational learning environments. As a result, students thoroughly enjoy coming to college and working towards their careers goals.

Senior leaders and governors have developed very effective partnerships with a wide range of relevant stakeholders in and around Barnsley. This ensures that they develop curricula that meet current and new business industry needs. For example, they have developed an esports qualification in partnership with the Yorkshire Sports Foundation and the Williams Formula One racing team. As a result, students develop the skills needed to gain aspirational jobs with local employers or progress to higher-level study.

Leaders and managers have carefully considered the provision of subcontracted education to complement their own curriculum offer. In sports, for example, bespoke programmes of study enable students to undertake sports studies that are specifically designed for those interested in football, as opposed to the wider sports curriculum. Leaders and managers closely monitor subcontracted education to ensure it is of high quality and leads to progression opportunities for students in the careers of their choice.

Leaders support and develop teachers and staff to ensure that they are well qualified and can teach their subjects very effectively. Teachers and trainers use their expert knowledge and skills to enhance the curriculum content for students. For example, sports staff update their skills in sports massage therapy, cupping and acupressure. Teachers then develop students’ skills and knowledge to relieve sports injuries and increase circulation to improve performance. As a result, students develop up-to-date and industry-standard skills.

Teachers and assessors successfully plan and sequence the curriculum so that students continuously build on prior learning. They carefully plan what knowledge and skills students and apprentices need to learn first to maximise their potential and progress into employment. Foundation learning teachers ensure that students develop first the skills and behaviours needed to help them become more independent in life. Students’ and apprentices’ work is of a high standard, and they achieve well.

Teachers and trainers use assessment strategies very effectively to check what students and apprentices have learned. They provide very useful feedback that helps students and apprentices to understand what they have achieved and what they need to do to improve. For example, they use QR codes to provide students with individualised feedback videos which talk them through the strengths and areas to improve in their work. Teachers and trainers use students’ starting points to plan new learning effectively. This ensures that students’ and apprentices’ knowledge, skills and behaviours develop over time. As a result, students and apprentices make very positive progress towards their goals and aspirations.

Students benefit from very effective and engaging teaching and training sessions that successfully incorporate the use of technology in their lessons. Leaders develop teachers’ digital pedagogical skills via a bespoke ‘Discover Digital’ innovation hub. Teaching staff ensure that students use a range of technology to help them effectively retain key information and develop their knowledge and skills.

Leaders and managers ensure that students continue to improve their English and mathematics skills effectively. The vast majority of students who enrol without a grade 4 or better in English and mathematics are enrolled on to a GCSE programme. Teachers ensure that most students achieve a grade 4 while they are at college. Most students are focused on improving their individual skills to help them achieve their career goals. However, teachers do not contextualise mathematics into the vocational curriculum as well as they do in relation to English. Consequently, students engage less well in their learning in mathematics lessons. Leaders and managers are developing the curriculum and teachers’ knowledge and skills to improve the teaching of mathematics more rapidly.

Students and most apprentices receive effective careers advice and guidance from teachers and staff. Students are very clear on how to prepare for and access their career of choice. Students who are first-generation university applicants are very well-prepared for progression to higher-level study. Consequently, a very high proportion of students progress into positive destinations, including higher education and further training. However, a small number of apprentices do not receive effective careers advice. As a result, they do not understand what wider careers are available on completion of their current apprenticeship.

Staff provide extremely good pastoral and academic support for students. Students highly value and respect the support that they receive and credit staff with helping to transform their lives. They have the opportunity to achieve nationally recognised awards, such as apprentice of the year. Teachers and staff continually monitor students’ welfare so that issues are dealt with swiftly to ensure that students stay in learning. As a result, students have very positive attitudes to learning and understand why it is important to develop their social skills as well as gaining qualifications.

Students benefit from good individual support when coping with external pressures that may cause them anxiety. Teachers tackle the poor attendance of these students very well. Staff help students get back on track swiftly if they have fallen behind with their assignment work. Students who may be struggling in their personal life are carefully supported by staff to return to learning and improve their attendance. As a result, students feel safe and welcomed and are well supported to re-engage in learning.

Leaders have created well-being spaces and learning environments that develop and support students’ and members of staff’s well-being extremely well. Leaders and staff have created an inclusive environment that promotes reflection and a better sense of personal well-being. For example, a well-being garden provides a space where students can access support from staff and can sit in peace and quiet. As a result, students learn how to cope with stressful situations and develop greater resilience to manage their learning.

Teachers and pastoral staff make very effective use of topical events to develop students’ awareness of issues that may impact on them. They teach students about topical current affairs to develop students’ awareness of the wider world. Tutors, for example, adapted learning plans to develop students’ understanding of the current conflict in Ukraine. This helps students to recognise reliable sources of evidence so that they can develop a balanced view of such events. As a result, students become more active citizens and often get involved in helping their local communities.

2010 Full Inspection Report
What does Barnsley College need to do to improve further?
  • Continue to implement and monitor current strategies for improving success rates on AS courses and address the variability in value-added scores between different AS- and A-level subjects.
  • Maintain the focus on continuously improving the quality of teaching and learning so that learning activities and assessments enable all learners to achieve highly; secure greater reliability in the college’s lesson grade-profile by developing observers’ skills in evaluating how much learning takes place within lessons and how much progress learners make.
  • Ensure, through closer monitoring and evaluation, that learners’ electronic learning plans are completed fully to a consistently high standard, with specific, short-term targets that provide challenge and help learners to improve.
  • Provide work experience opportunities for a wider range of full-time students by drawing on the good practice in some curriculum areas and overcoming traditional barriers in others.
  • Strengthen the promotion of equality and diversity in the curriculum by sharing good practices and building the confidence and ability of teachers to recognise the opportunities presented in their own subject area.

2007 Full Inspection Report
Areas for improvement

The college should address:

  • success rates overall, including those for work-based learning, which are close to national averages
  • key skills success rates
  • the rigour of individual progress reviews
  • the effectiveness of target setting at course and department level
  • the inconsistency of the implementation of policies to promote equality and diversity.

2005 Re-Inspection Report


2003 Full Inspection Report
What should be improved
  • aspects of management
  • literacy and numeracy provision
  • initial assessment
  • key skills provision
  • individual learning plans
  • work-based learning.

Report Recommendations