Barnsley College


Name Barnsley College
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 01 November 2010
Address PO Box 266, Church Street, Barnsley, South Yorkshire, S70 2YW
Phone Number 01226216405
Type General Further Education and Tertiary
Age Range 14-99
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Local Authority Barnsley

Information about the provider

1. Barnsley College is a large tertiary college serving Barnsley and surrounding areas in South Yorkshire. The college is the main provider of post-16 education and the destination for 80% of school leavers in the town. Barnsley Metropolitan Borough has a population of 230,000 and is made up of both rural and urban industrial areas, including the main town of Barnsley, with a population just under 90,000, and other smaller towns and former mining villages. 2. Barnsley continues to experience serious economic challenges as a legacy of the demise of the mining industry. The index of multiple deprivation identifies it as one of the most deprived areas in England. Unemployment is several percentage points higher than the national average, household income is low, a high proportion of workers are in low-skilled employment, and the insolvency rate is high. The proportion of adults without any formal qualification is much higher than the national average. At 40%, the proportion of school leavers achieving five A* to C GCSE grades, including English and mathematics, in 2010 was significantly below the national average. 3. The college provides courses in all subject areas. In 2009/10 some 7,700 learners attended the college. Just under 60% were aged 16 to 18 and 60% were female. On learner-responsive programmes, 90% of students aged 16 to 18 and 20% of adult learners take full-time courses. Approximately 3% of learners have minority ethnic backgrounds compared to 2% of the local population. 4. The college estate spreads across six sites, including a working farm, with many of the buildings set within the town centre conservation area. New centres for sports, motor vehicle and construction have been opened in the last two years. A new main site is currently under construction with completion planned for September 2011. 5. The inspection took into account all of the provision offered by the college. Learner-responsive provision in health and social care and early years, engineering, sport and leisure, literacy, numeracy and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), and employer-responsive provision in engineering, and business, was inspected in depth. 6. The college provides training on behalf of the following providers: CSkills (construction). 7. The following organisation provides training on behalf of the college: ALS (security training). Type of provision Number of enrolled learners in 2009/10 Provision for young learners: 14 to 16 Further education (16 to 18) Foundation learning (included in above) Entry to Employment 375 part-time learners 3,592 full-time learners 433 part-time learners 477 full-time learners 49 part-time learners 229 learners Provision for adult learners: Further education (19+) 443 full-time learners 1,685 part-time learners Employer provision: Train to Gain Apprenticeships 989 learners 647 apprentices Summary report Grades: 1 is outstanding; 2 is good; 3 is satisfactory; 4 is inadequate Overall effectiveness of provision Grade 1 Capacity to improve Grade 1 Grade Outcomes for learners 1 Quality of provision 1 Leadership and management 1 Safeguarding Equality and diversity 1 2 Subject Areas Grade Health and social care and early years 1 Engineering (learner-responsive provision) 2 Engineering (employer-responsive provision) 2 Sport and leisure 1 Literacy, numeracy and ESOL 1 Business (employer-responsive provision) 1 Overall effectiveness 8. Barnsley College has improved strongly since its last inspection and is now outstanding. The college is highly effective at raising learners’ aspirations, supporting them to succeed and celebrating their achievement. Learners of all ages achieve exceptionally well at almost all levels. The college has a strong focus on further improving AS- and A-level achievement. Learners enjoy their time at the college, benefit from a wide range of enrichment activities and make excellent progress. Many learners progress through different levels of the course and make enormous advances during their time at the college. The college promotes the health and well-being of learners exceptionally well. Lessons are consistently good and often better. Work-based training and assessment are very good. The college provides a very broad and inclusive curriculum. It is especially responsive to users’ needs and has developed excellent partnership links which help to extend and enhance the provision. More full-time learners could benefit from work experience opportunities. Thorough advice and guidance ensure that learners are on the right course from the outset and outstanding support helps learners to overcome any barriers that might prevent them from succeeding. Targets set within personal learning plans are sometimes too broad to be useful. 9. The college is extremely well led and managed. It has been very successful in growing learner numbers. The college has high expectations of staff and learners. The approaches to planning, quality improvement and value for money are exceptionally good. Arrangements for safeguarding are thorough. The learners’ voice is very strong. Learners had few suggestions as to how the college could improve further because they feel that the college has implemented almost all of their suggestions. The promotion of equality and diversity is good. Staff throughout the college are extremely committed to ensuring the success of learners. The college provides an inspirational resource for the Barnsley community and a transformational one for many learners. Main findings Outcomes for learners are outstanding. In an area characterised by relatively low levels of attainment at the end of compulsory schooling, the college has become extremely effective at raising the aspirations of its learners, supporting them to succeed and celebrating their achievement. For many learners their experience at the college is transformational. Success rates are high and have continued to improve at a faster rate than they have nationally. Success rates are very high in work-based learning and are outstanding for students aged 14 to 16. The college is successfully narrowing the achievement gap between male and female learners. Attendance is good. Learners enjoy their lessons and going to college. Most learners make excellent progress during the period they spend at the college. For many the experience is life changing. Rates of progression from foundation courses, between levels of apprenticeship and into higher education are very high. Learners’ development of personal, social and employability skills is excellent and they leave the college much better prepared for their future. Learners feel extremely safe at the college and are very appreciative of the exceptional efforts the college makes to promote their health and well-being. Learners make an outstanding contribution to the college and the communities it serves. Teaching and learning are good. Teaching is planned well to meet the needs of different learners. In many lessons learners are actively involved in the evaluation of their own learning and progress. Teachers use a wide range of teaching and learning methods, although a few do not make best use of information and learning technology (ILT) to enhance learning. Initial assessment is very effective and identifies learning support needs before the start of a programme. Support is quickly in place. Teachers and assessors provide useful feedback on learners’ work, although not all teachers correct inaccuracies in spelling and punctuation. Assessment in the workplace is well planned, frequent and helps learners to make good progress. Arrangements to improve the quality of teaching and learning are thorough and wide ranging. Observations of teaching and learning are well planned and regular but observers’ skills in evaluating learning and progress are not sufficiently developed; action that teachers might take to improve their lessons is not always clear in the written feedback. The college is highly responsive to meeting the needs of all of its users. Learners and employers have an excellent range of courses to choose from and the college is continually developing new provision. The education and training provided helps learners to learn skills and achieve qualifications that improve their lives. The wide range of enrichment activities adds great value to many learners’ experience; however, more full-time students would like to have work experience opportunities. Partnership working is excellent. The college is a key player in developing strategies for the community. Links with schools give young people in Barnsley excellent choice in planning their future. Links with employers help them to become more competitive, enable them to secure their future workforce, and provide opportunities to local people. The support that the college provides for learners is outstanding. Information, advice and guidance are effective throughout learners’ programmes. Additional learning support, assistive technology and adaptations help remove barriers to learning. Tutorial provision is very good. Tutorial learning mentors and progress coaches provide exceptional levels of support and help learners to make good progress, though this could improve with more effective target-setting within learners’ electronic learning plans. Leadership and management are outstanding. The Principal and governors have developed an ambitious vision for the college to raise aspirations and promote high standards for learners in Barnsley. Staff throughout the college are committed to ensuring the success of learners. The college’s highly effective business planning and performance review process ensures that continuous improvement enables it to meet demanding targets. Safeguarding is outstanding. The college has an exceptionally strong culture of safety which ensures that learners feel safe and behave in a safety-conscious manner. Arrangements for safeguarding are clear and effective and all appropriate checks and effective monitoring take place. The college provides a safe and welcoming environment and promotes health and safety and safeguarding exceptionally well across its provision. The college promotes equality and diversity well and ensures that they have a high profile. A culture of mutual respect is evident and the college has taken effective action to reduce variations in the performance of different groups of learners. The promotion of equality and diversity in the classroom is good in some areas but the college is aware that this remains an area for further improvement. Quality improvement arrangements are outstanding. Self-assessment and action planning are rigorous. The college is extremely good at analysing its own performance and deals with any identified weaknesses very successfully. It is very effective at gathering the views of learners and responds outstandingly well to their concerns in order to effect improvements.

Main findings

Outcomes for learners are outstanding. In an area characterised by relatively low levels of attainment at the end of compulsory schooling, the college has become extremely effective at raising the aspirations of its learners, supporting them to succeed and celebrating their achievement. For many learners their experience at the college is transformational. Success rates are high and have continued to improve at a faster rate than they have nationally. Success rates are very high in work-based learning and are outstanding for students aged 14 to 16. The college is successfully narrowing the achievement gap between male and female learners. Attendance is good. Learners enjoy their lessons and going to college. Most learners make excellent progress during the period they spend at the college. For many the experience is life changing. Rates of progression from foundation courses, between levels of apprenticeship and into higher education are very high. Learners’ development of personal, social and employability skills is excellent and they leave the college much better prepared for their future. Learners feel extremely safe at the college and are very appreciative of the exceptional efforts the college makes to promote their health and well-being. Learners make an outstanding contribution to the college and the communities it serves. Teaching and learning are good. Teaching is planned well to meet the needs of different learners. In many lessons learners are actively involved in the