The report published on the Ofsted website is full of praise for the college, its students, staff and governors. The inspectors said that, ‘Students find the college a truly aspirational place to learn’ and praised the ‘calm, professional and inclusive learning environment where students feel safe and can flourish.’
The college received ‘outstanding’ grades in all the areas of the inspection including the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management.
The inspectors judged the college’s curriculum to be ‘high-quality, comprehensive and ambitious’ supporting students ‘to make substantial progress throughout their learning programmes.’ They were impressed with the expertise of teaching staff who ‘create a range of stimulating learning activities.’ They also noted the successful emphasis on the progression of students to further study and careers, supported by ‘a very strong programme of ongoing careers advice while on their courses.’
As well as its A level programme, Blackpool Sixth offers an extensive range of vocational and applied courses. The inspectors said that students on these programmes ‘develop industry-standard knowledge and skills that are linked to their specific career aspirations.’
Opportunities for personal development beyond the students’ classroom learning were highlighted as a key feature of the college. It was noted that ‘Staff provide extensive enrichment activities that they purposefully, skilfully and seamlessly integrate into every student’s curriculum.’
Blackpool Sixth prides itself on being an inclusive and supportive environment for all and this is clearly evidenced in the report which says that ‘Students are unreservedly positive about the work that all staff do to support them.’ Support for students with additional needs was judged to be exemplary, with staff implementing ‘support strategies to help them to achieve at least as well as their peers.’ The inspectors highlighted the way in which the college creates ‘a culture where respect for others and diversity are celebrated’ for example through the college’s very active LGBT+ group, and they noted that students are encouraged to help their local communities through activities such as charity fundraising.
Leaders and other staff at Blackpool Sixth are praised for ‘ensuring that safeguarding is at the forefront of everything that students do’ and for keeping fully up-to-date with any developments required to keep everyone safe.
The report details how the college supports its staff through extensive initiatives to help with health and well-being. The ‘highly effective’ work of the college’s governing body is also highlighted. Governors are described as ‘ambitious for their students’ and as having a ‘thorough strategic understanding of the strengths and areas for improvement across all college activities.’
‘We are incredibly proud that we have retained our Ofsted Outstanding status which is testament to our remarkable staff and students who demonstrate an unswerving commitment to excellence every day. In spite of the challenges of the pandemic, the college has stayed true to its mission ‘inspiring learning, developing character, building futures’ and we are delighted that the inspectors were able to see the impact of our endeavour. The inspection outcome is a fantastic achievement for the college and recognises our commitment to providing the highest-quality educational experience for the young people in our area.’