Following an inspection in January 2020, Ashton Sixth Form College has been given the highest possible rating by Ofsted, judging the college as OUTSTANDING in all areas:
The quality of education - Outstanding
Behaviour and attitudes - Outstanding
Personal development - Outstanding
Leadership and management - Outstanding
Education programmes for young people - Outstanding
Adult learning programmes - Outstanding
Provision for learners with high needs - Outstanding
The college is the first sixth form provider in the country to convert from Good to Outstanding under the new rigorous Ofsted inspection framework.
The college has a proven track record of success and has consistently been ranked in the top 25% of colleges nationally over the past three years. Ashton Sixth Form College had previously maintained its Ofsted Good status for over 8 years but has continued to improve year on year providing exceptional opportunities for their students. Ofsted stated that “Students are extremely well supported by staff and their peers. Pastoral and academic support is exceptional. Staff help students to achieve high grades and produce work to a consistently high standard”.
Principal Anton McGrath said: “We are all incredibly proud of the outcome of our recent Ofsted inspection. The result is testament to the hard work, dedication and talent of all our staff and students. Inspectors were hugely impressed with all aspects of our work; they recognised the exceptional academic and pastoral support offered to students and the wide range of opportunities aimed at developing each and every member of our community. They also praised our ambition for our students, praised our careers education and were impressed by the range of destinations reached by Ashton Sixth Form College students. We continually strive to be the best and want the best for those who choose us.”
Highlights from the inspection report:
- "Students are extremely well supported by staff and their peers. Pastoral and academic support is exceptional."
- "Students are exceptionally polite, self-assured, respectful and resourceful. They enjoy their studies, take pride in their work and have an overwhelmingly positive attitude towards their learning."
- "Students’ behaviour is exemplary and in keeping with the college’s high expectations and values."
- "Students achieve their qualifications and make well-informed and aspirational decisions about their next steps."
- "Staff help students to achieve high grades and produce work to a consistently high standard."
- "Students enjoy an extremely well-planned curriculum that teaches them much more than the knowledge they need to pass their qualifications."
- "Students, including those who need extra help, benefit from a highly inclusive learning environment."
- "Staff accurately identify and meet the support needs of students with high needs. As a result, students develop their independence over time, which improves their life chances"
- "Students feel safe at the college. Safeguarding is a high priority."
- "Students gain the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours they need to be successful in their next steps."
- "Adult students returning to education develop their confidence and self-belief."
- "Managers, teachers and staff provide students with highly effective and impartial careers information, advice and guidance before and during their programmes."
- "Students benefit from the ‘realising aspirations’ programme that facilitates applications to many of the UK’s top universities."
In January, the college was positioned as the top college in the borough for the fourth year running in the official Department for Education league tables, which also rank the college as one of the best in the area for student progress.
Ashton Sixth Form College educates over 2000 students each year and has an excellent reputation in the area. Young people apply to join the college from over 100 different schools across Tameside and the neighbouring boroughs, alongside adult learners who study a range of Adult and Higher Education courses. The college works hard to support students and ensure that as many people as possible progress onto positive careers and destinations. Last year over 93% of Ashton Sixth Form College students successfully progressed on to competitive university courses, apprenticeships and employment.
This Ofsted inspection recognises “they are committed to providing the highest-quality education to help students achieve their best possible outcome”.