24th May 2023
Students, staff and governors at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College were delighted this week to receive official confirmation from Ofsted that the College has, once again, been rated as Good overall with strong and secure judgements of ‘Good’ in every single inspection category.
The College was visited by seven inspectors from Ofsted for a rigorous four day inspection in March 2023 and the full report has been published this week.
The report begins by looking at ‘what it is like to be a learner’ at St Brendan’s and clearly recognises the College’s inclusive ethos and values. It notes that students “feel they can be themselves and are respected as individuals” and that “students from a wide diversity of backgrounds, including those of various faiths, those with special educational needs and/or disabilities and students from the LGBTQ+ community, feel welcomed and valued at the college”.
The inspectors acknowledge that “teachers set high expectations for completion of work and meeting deadlines”. This leads to the development of “good study habits” and as a results of this “students become more confident, and proud of their learning over time”. It also notes that through the A-level, Applied General and Access to Level 3 programmes “leaders and managers have developed inclusive curriculums that support their vision to increase social mobility” and that “a high proportion of students progress to their chosen next stages of education, training or employment”.
The inspection team found that “curriculum managers sequence the curriculum effectively” and that “teachers use assessment well to check students’ understanding and monitor the progress that students make. When gaps are in learning are identified, this information is used to inform future teaching”. They highlighted that “leaders and managers monitor students’ progress well” and that “teachers provide students with clear and informative feedback. This feedback accurately identifies strengths and areas for improvements” and that “students act on this feedback to improve their work”. Due to the support that students receive they develop the skills they need to be successful which means the vast majority achieve on their courses.
The report also acknowledges that “students enjoy their lessons because teachers have created a positive learning environment”. Ofsted were impressed by the focus the College has on developing bespoke Post-16 teaching and learning. “Leaders focus intently on improving the quality of teaching practice. As a result, most students experience high-quality lessons”. They acknowledged that “teachers are well qualified, and that the large majority apply their expertise well to enliven and enrich learning in the classroom”. The inspectors noted that “teachers use a variety of teaching strategies to help student learn the new knowledge and skills that they need”.
Tutors and the Careers team were also praised for the way they support students, for example, “students develop the foundations of good study habits in their tutorial lessons” and “ a range of opportunities are signposted, including available work experience”.
The College was praised for its “culture of safeguarding” and the effective links that have been built with external agencies that provide further support for students.
The inspectors were impressed by the Governing body’s knowledge of the College, the support that it gives to the senior leaders and the valuable contribution that it makes to shaping the College’s future.
College Principal Marian Curran said “we are delighted that Ofsted have highlighted the strong learning culture that exists at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College. We are a highly inclusive college where individuality and the education of the whole person is nurtured. I am pleased that the inspectors have not only recognised our academic standards, but also the high level of support that our students receive and our culture of safeguarding. A huge thank you to all our staff who relentlessly support students academically and pastorally to be the best that they can be. A huge thank you to our students who are a credit to our college community, and finally to our parents and carers for their support. This Ofsted report is testament to the hard work of our staff and the resilience of our students”.