Birmingham sixth form college awarded ‘outstanding’ second time running

The city’s only sixth form college praised for ambitious curriculums for thousands of learners

The city’s only sixth form college praised for ambitious curriculums for thousands of learners

Birmingham’s only sixth form college has received its second consecutive ‘outstanding’ grade from Ofsted.

Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College (JCC) was given top marks again by inspectors for its ambitious curriculum, highly structured governance and skilful teaching.

In the watchdog’s report published this morning, inspectors found learners were “extremely positive about their learning” and make “substantial and sustained progress from their starting points”.

At the time of the inspection, conducted in December, the college had 2,375 learners studying academic and vocational courses entry level to level 3. JCC also employed one subcontractor to teach 790 adult learners on ESOL courses.

Ofsted praised the college’s “strong” contribution to meeting skills needs. This included prioritising digital skills in adult learning courses and having strong links with employers and higher education providers to improve learning in real-time.

Tony Day, principal of JCC, said: “[The report is] the perfect endorsement of the tireless work we do to educate and support our students.”

Inspectors said that teachers expertly use a variety of teaching strategies and resources as well as using assessment to inform and plan their teaching. They were also commended for teaching learners to use subject-specific technical vocabulary “exceptionally well”.

“Learners develop substantial new knowledge and skills and produce work to a consistently high standard,” the report said.

JCC’s governance was also commended for its “highly coherent structure”. Inspectors said governors, who comprise “experienced practitioners”, provide robust challenge and actively support leaders and staff to achieve their strategic goals.

For example, Ofsted inspectors found the board to scrutinise leaders on performance, teacher retention and equality and diversity at the college.

Regarding its subcontracting provision, the watchdog found the college works “highly effective” with Birmingham Ethnic Education and Advisor Service and has “robust systems to oversee the quality of education that the subcontractor provides”.

Inspectors added that college leaders are actively involved in designing the ESOL course which targets the hardest-to-reach members of the community, including refugees and migrants. It has resulted in learners developing skills to “successfully integrate” within their communities.

In a statement on its website, the college said the report recognised its mission of providing “an exceptional education for all”.

“The recent Ofsted report reveals JCC to be a truly exceptional institution and the first sixth form College in England that has been judged as making a ‘strong’ contribution (the highest possible grade) to the development of skills urgently in demand among the local community as well as the wider country,” the statement added.

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