Cambridge sixth form still ‘outstanding’ in first Ofsted inspection since 2006 

'It’s wonderful to see the hard work of our staff and students recognised in this way'

'It’s wonderful to see the hard work of our staff and students recognised in this way'

24 Mar 2022, 20:24

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A principal has hailed the hard work of staff and students after her sixth-form college retained an Ofsted ‘outstanding’ judgment over 15 years since its last inspection.   

Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridgeshire was lauded by inspectors for creating a “highly ambitious and inclusive community” in a report published this week that resulted in grade ones across the board.   

Principal Jo Trump said: “Delivery of educational excellence is about enduring habits and values that have students at the heart of everything. And we do that so well, Ofsted or no Ofsted.   

“Throughout every aspect of our work with young people, we strive for excellence, and it’s wonderful to see the hard work of our staff and students recognised in this way.”   

‘Outstanding’ schools and colleges began to be inspected last term for the first time since 2010, after an exemption was removed last year.   

Hills Road Sixth Form College was last inspected in November 2006.   

In the latest inspection, Ofsted found that students “consider it a privilege to study” at Hills Road and “enjoy studying alongside other like-minded students who challenge and inspire them”.   

Students also have a “strong work ethic and dedicated focus to achieve the very top grades of which they are capable”.   

The college’s “highly ambitious, inspirational and effective curriculum” was also recognised by Ofsted, which found that learning extends “well beyond… academic expectations” by, for instance, creating a “wealth of enrichment opportunities that are highly effective in building students’ character in preparation for their next steps”.   

Ofsted said the college teaches around 2,640 level 3 students aged 16 to 19, and there are 13 students with high needs.   

Thirty-five A-level subjects are on offer. Inspectors found the college maintains curriculum breadth by supporting small class sizes in specialist subjects, such as dance, Latin, history of art, German and geology.   

The college was praised for “extensive investment in specialist tutors, whose role is to support students to cope with such a demanding curriculum”.   

Teaching staff were described as “enthusiastic, skilled and highly qualified in their subjects” and who “use their knowledge and skills to successfully inspire and motivate students”.   

Senior staff were found to “encourage and achieve extremely high levels of collaboration with parents and carers” as leaders “recognise the considerable benefits of involving and informing parents in their decision making and student progress monitoring”.   

Within the college’s provision for students with high needs, “staff are highly proficient and extremely proactive in planning the curriculum for students with SEND”, Ofsted added.   

“Students with high needs are supported exceptionally well to integrate with their group and gain confidence in their ability.”   

Trump said: “We look forward to maintaining and improving on these standards at Hills Road for many years to come.” 

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