Second consecutive ‘outstanding’ for Catholic sixth form college

St John Rigby RC Sixth Form College retains top marks 7 years after previous inspection

St John Rigby RC Sixth Form College retains top marks 7 years after previous inspection

A Catholic sixth form college in Greater Manchester has been awarded a second ‘outstanding’ rating by Ofsted, seven years after its first grade one.

St John Rigby RC Sixth Form College in Wigan received top marks across all areas of inspection following a visit in January.

The college previously received a grade one in 2017 and inspectors once again praised the provider for its quality of teaching and “highly motivated” students.

Seven inspectors visited the college between January 23 to 26. At the time of inspection, the college had enrolled 1,351 students, mostly studying level 3 programmes and a minority on level 2 vocational courses.

Principal Peter McGhee said the inspection outcome was a “testament” to the “relentless hard work and dedication” of staff and students.

“We have now been recognised as a beacon of educational excellence in this region over an extended period of time,” McGhee added.

“This has been achieved by doing everything we can to maintain our high standards and expectations whilst simultaneously providing the support needed by our students to enable them to excel in their studies.”

Inspectors poured praise on the college’s support system for students.

They found the college had enabled bespoke support such as subject-specific interview support for Oxbridge applications, mock recruitment and assessment sessions for prospective apprentices, and individualised support for students with high needs.

“Students with high needs feel staff really believe in them and help them to become the best version of themselves,” the report said.

Students were found to feel comfortable and safe and learnt about maintaining good mental health and that use of phobic language is not tolerated.

Additionally, St John Rigby’s was commended for its contribution to meeting local skills needs through its collaboration with Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Wigan Council.

The stakeholders identified health and social care, science, professional services, engineering, and digital as key priority growth sector areas. As a result, leaders introduced level 3 engineering to support these skills needs.

“They have developed a range of T levels that complement the offer at other local providers,” the report said.

The report however added that the college provides four T Level programmes, but “they have not yet recruited enough students for them to run”.

Meanwhile, inspectors found leadership and management to be “outstanding” and senior leaders and governors are “highly ambitious” for their students and their staff.

Teachers also are “very well qualified” and help students understand complex subject content “expertly”.

For example, inspectors found “in A-level psychology, teachers sensitively and ethically manage discussions about domestic violence while teaching students about the evolutionary explanations of aggression.”

Plus, governors were found to have an “excellent understanding of their statutory responsibilities” and use the “highly detailed reports” provided by leaders to challenge and hold leaders to account for their actions.

“Governors have a very accurate understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the college and individual programme areas.”

This is the latest ‘outstanding’ report in recent days. On Friday, Ofsted published grade ones for specialist colleges St Piers College (Young Epilepsy) and Woodpecker Court.

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