BOSSES at St Helens College have set a target of achieving outstanding status after an improved Ofsted report ranked it as “good”.
Quality of teaching, leadership and outcomes for learners were all praised following a week-long visit by inspectors at the Brook Street and Pocket Nook campuses.
The judgement – a step up from its previous rating of satisfactory – is a boost for the college, which is heading in a new direction under Principal Jette Burford, who took the helm in 2012.
However, the positive news is set against a backdrop of 50 more redundancies being made across the college following further funding cuts, as reported in last week’s Star.
Principal Burford said: “We made a clear commitment to drive up education standards for the benefit of the communities in St Helens Borough.
“The Ofsted report is just one of the many successes we have seen recently that reinforces the realisation of that ambition.
“However, we will not be stopping to celebrate for long. We have a clear strategy and relentless determination to succeed on our journey to ‘outstanding’.”
College chiefs have been working to reshape the courses on offer, with a the launch of its 14 -16academy, which is recruiting schoolchildren to study a curriculum that includes vocational studies, and a growing sixth-form for A-level, central to this.
There was praise in the report about how outcomes for students have risen sharply over the past three years and that they gain skills, particularly those needed for work, rapidly.
Staff are setting a culture of high ambition and achievement – and students behaviour is described as “exemplary”.
However, there were criticisms, including that that too many apprentices do not complete training successfully, only a small percentage of teaching is satisfactory, and students achievements in English and maths are no better than satisfactory.