Leaders at a Sussex sixth form college say they have “worked tirelessly” to secure a second successive ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating – 10 years after the education watchdog’s last visit.
Brighton Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC) was handed the top rating in all areas by inspectors in a report published today following a visit in early December – its first since November 2012 when it also scored ‘outstanding’ across the board.
Since the last visit Ofsted has introduced an enhanced inspection framework, meaning inspections place less emphasis on exam results and more on the quality of teaching and curriculum, as well as the skills inspection element which assesses how well it is meeting the needs in the area.
At the time of BHASVIC’s latest inspection, there were 3,420 16-to-18 full time students – 2,592 of whom were on A-level courses, 42 who were on vocational programmes and 747 on a mix of the two.
Inspectors praised the students for their “consistently exemplary” behaviour, while the sixth form’s “challenging curriculum” and “highly effective teaching” were also hailed.
The report said that “students benefit from a stimulating and highly supportive environment that is extremely conducive to learning,” adding that teachers put on “highly effective extension sessions” which resulted in the majority of students achieving well.
Inspectors gave the oversubscribed sixth form a ‘reasonable contribution’ to skills needs, reporting that courses had been introduced to meet the needs in the area, such as English as a second language for young refugees and asylum seekers, as well as qualifications for the green economy. That includes a level 3 in carbon literacy which a “substantial number” of students complete.
Elsewhere, the report said the curriculum is taught “logically and effectively”, and praised the work of teachers who skilfully question students to challenge them, as well as use of effective support plans.
Endeavours supporting students with high needs were also praised.
In addition, the watchdog found “valuable opportunities” to develop skills beyond the classroom, such as by visiting university facilities and taking part in skills-based challenges.
The report also highlighted the sixth form’s one-to-one career guidance and careers fair participation to help students understand their progression opportunities.
Principal (pictured) William Baldwin said he was “so proud of our students, staff and governors who were able to give the Ofsted inspectors and honest and inspiring insight into what being part of our college community is like”.
He added: “We have worked tirelessly since our last inspection in 2012 to ensure that we continued to retain our outstanding ethos and have evolved to meet the changing needs of our students and the wider education and employment landscape.”
In November, FE Week reported that 100 per cent of England’s 44 sixth form colleges had a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating, which marked a 13 percentage point increase on the same time the year prior.