The Blackpool Sixth Form College


Name The Blackpool Sixth Form College
Website http://https://blackpoolsixth.ac.uk/
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 11 May 2009
Address Blackpool Old Road, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY3 7LR
Phone Number 01253394911
Type Sixth Form College
Age Range 16-99
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Local Authority Blackpool

Description of the provider

1. Blackpool Sixth Form College (BSFC) serves the communities within a 20 mile radius across the Fylde coast. The population of some 330,000 live in the heavily populated towns of Blackpool, Lytham St Annes, Thornton-Cleveleys and Fleetwood or in the adjacent small rural towns and villages. Learners attending the college are mainly from the Poulton and Wyre districts with 50% living in Blackpool. The college has recently completed the first stage of a four phase campus redevelopment. Changes include new teaching blocks, science facilities, a visual arts and media building, a learning resources centre and student services. 2. The college’s core activity is the provision of full-time education, particularly at level 3. Learners are aged 16 to 18. The college has very few adult learners. At the time of the inspection, there were 7,700 enrolments, the majority of which were at level 3. Many of the learners attending the college are the first in their families to follow General Certificate of Education (GCE) A-level provision. At 5.38%, the proportion of minority ethnic learners studying at the college is more than three times greater than the Blackpool minority ethnic population. 3. Blackpool ranks as the twelfth most deprived borough in the country with localised pockets categorised as super output areas. Employment in the area is heavily dependant on tourism, leisure and related services. Unemployment is 6.5% against a national average of 5.4%. Attainment at Key Stage 4 is below the national average with 34.6% pupils achieving five GCSE passes at grades A* to C including mathematics and English compared to 46.7% nationally. 4. The college mission is ‘To provide in our supportive environment, educational excellence which promotes lifelong skills’

Main findings

Achievement and standards Good: Grade 2 13. Inspectors agreed with the college that achievement and standards are good. Since the last inspection, overall long course success rates have improved much faster than national rates, bringing the college above the national average from a very low base. Although the success rate at level 1 dipped in 2007/08, the rate remains well above the previous year’s national average. The success rate at level 2 has improved over the last three years and is now satisfactory. 14. Success rates on GCE AS and A-level courses have improved significantly and are now high. Since 2005, learner numbers on BTEC courses have increased significantly whilst maintaining very high success rates. The proportion of high grade achievement on BTEC programmes is very high, but although significantly improved, high grade achievement remains a concern on some GCE A2 programmes. Retention and achievement are both high, as is attendance. 15. The progress made by BTEC learners is particularly good; most progress at a higher level than their GCSE grades predict. In 2007/08, learners on GCE A/AS courses made satisfactory progress when compared to their prior attainment at GCSE. However, the college has taken actions to improve this and current learners are making good progress. 16. The standard of learners’ work is very good and outstanding in art, media and music. Learners are well motivated, punctual and sufficiently focused on high attainment and achievement. They make substantial contributions during group work and class discussions. Learner aspiration is high with high numbers of learners progressing into HE. 17. The college has modified curriculum content, monitored the progress and provided additional support to improve the success rate for men. Early indications are that this has been successful. Success rates are comparable for all groups of learners but the progress and outcomes for looked after children are excellent. Quality of provision Outstanding: Grade 1 18. The quality of provision is outstanding, which matches the college’s own evaluation. Teaching and learning are outstanding. Managers and teachers at all levels have a strong focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning. The college has a robust system of line management and peer lesson observations. Observations are moderated carefully and standardisation involves joint observations with senior staff or external subject experts. 19. The outcomes of observations inform very effectively whole college and individual staff development. Innovative ways of sharing good practice, which include the very effective use of learner evaluations, regular discussions at team meetings together with an extensive range of teacher support have been effective in improving teaching and learning. The quality of schemes of work,