Colleges, Ofsted

Third ‘outstanding’ in a row for Catholic sixth form college

Inspectors praise culture of 'continuous improvement', alongside 'passionate and committed' governors and 'high-quality' education

Inspectors praise culture of 'continuous improvement', alongside 'passionate and committed' governors and 'high-quality' education

A Catholic sixth form college has been awarded a third straight ‘outstanding’ rating by Ofsted.

Manchester-based Loreto College was granted the top rating across the board in a report published today, 13 years after it last achieved the feat.

Since the college’s last inspection, Ofsted has introduced an enhanced inspection framework which places less emphasis on exam results and instead focuses on the quality of teaching and curriculum, in addition to a new skills element which assesses how well colleges meet the regions skills needs.  

At the time of this inspection there were 3,591 students aged 16 to 19 who were following a fulltime study programme with most students studying A-levels across 34 subjects.  

Inspectors praised a culture of “continuous improvement” suffusing the college at all levels, alongside “passionate and committed” governors and “high-quality” education.  

SEND provision was lauded throughout the report, with inspectors finding that the programme is planned “carefully and incrementally” to enable students to develop “independence and advocacy” skills.  

The curriculum for those with high needs and SEND has been “developed ambitiously enough” and parents of students with SEND feel their child is “safe and happy”.  

This provision was hailed as enabling students to “become confident young people who can contribute to society very successfully”.

Elsewhere, inspectors praised the high priority placed on staff mental health and well-being which includes workload. The report notes that “staff can access counselling services, chaplaincy support, and the employee assistance programme, including physiotherapy, financial advice and mental health support”.

In addition, the watchdog found that the curriculum is planned and taught very effectively by teachers so students can develop the skills they need for the future.  

“For example, they work with local universities to ensure that the mathematics curriculum prepares students for their next steps in mathematics, such as integration by substitution, early in the programme. As a result, students practise these skills to ensure fluency and to prepare them for pure mathematics components at degree level.” 

The college makes a ‘reasonable’ contribution to meeting skills needs, according to Ofsted.

Inspectors flagged that leaders do not use external expertise well enough to “develop education programmes tailored to local, regional and national skills needs.” Alongside this, leaders and managers do not involve “employers sufficiently in the design of the curriculum for supported internships”.

Although the report also highlighted how students benefit from “relevant and high-quality” career advice and guidance from their personal tutors and college careers advisors.  

Principal Michael Jaffrain said “We are extremely proud to serve our local community and the region of Greater Manchester and we are delighted that our long tradition of excellence and success is reflected in our most recent Ofsted report. We would like to thank all students, staff, parents and carers, governors and all those who have contributed to our Loreto community for their support.”

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