Ofsted – it’s a “first” for Coulsdon Sixth Form College

Ofsted – it’s a “first” for Coulsdon Sixth Form College

The dynamic partnership of Steve Oxlade - left (Executive Principal of both Reigate and Coulsdon Sixth Form Colleges) and Brett Freeman (Principal at Coulsdon College) is making Coulsdon College one of the most desireable Colleges for sixth form education in Croydon and South London.

Following the “remarkable transformation” reported by Ofsted in November, Coulsdon Sixth Form College has done it again - but this time it’s one for the record books.

A team from the Government watchdog undertook a full inspection of the College between Tuesday 25 and Friday 28 February 2014. The inspection covered all aspects of the College’s provision including the quality of teaching and learning (especially focussing on English, Mathematics and Science), students’ results and the effectiveness of leadership and management.

The astounding success, since the take-over by Reigate College in March last year, has now been further endorsed by a “first” from Ofsted inspectors; Steve Oxlade, Executive Principal of the Reigate and Coulsdon College Federation explained:

“No school or College has ever improved so much, so quickly and been awarded such high grades in a full inspection. Ofsted was incredibly thorough, observing almost every teacher, and has now officially not only declared the College out of special measures but concluded that quality is so good that they will be monitoring us from afar from now on, just as they do at Reigate.”

The College received a letter on 17 March from Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills and Enterprise at the Department for Education, it said:

“I am writing to congratulate you and everyone at the College who played a part in this transformation. I know that you have placed learners in Coulsdon at the heart of your work and it is for them that the transformation of both the quality of teaching and learning and the overall culture and ethos of the College will have the most significant impact”

Brett Freeman, Principal at Coulsdon added:

“Ofsted has seen what we have achieved and recognised that this is something quite unique; I have to tip my hat to them because they scrutinised everything that we do. I was especially pleased that teaching was praised so highly with many teachers graded outstanding by the inspectors. We’ve all worked so hard to achieve this and now we can say with absolute confidence that there is nowhere else locally that provides the range of courses at the quality we guarantee at Coulsdon.”

The report, now published and available on the Ofsted and Coulsdon College websites (see www.coulsdon.ac.uk/ofstedreport), described the College’s students as behaving with “unfailing courtesy” and describes leaders and managers as being “highly effective in transforming the ethos of the College, raising aspirations and promoting high standards”.

The grades awarded were all “good” with the exception of outcomes for learners – and even this is no longer a cause for concern as exam results this coming summer are predicted to be excellent.

So how did the College do it? Steve Oxlade reflects on a year at Coulsdon:

“How did we do it? Well that’s a question the Department of Education, Ofsted and just about every other College in the country is asking me at the moment. It was just over a year ago that I first set foot in the College and it was immediately apparent that we needed to make substantial changes. The staff have been magnificent and the students are delightful but they had both lost their way and needed re focussing on the things that really matter”.

“Running a successful College is really quite simple; there are only three things you have to get right - teaching, systems and relationships, everything flows from these three fundamentals. We tackled all three at once using the Reigate College blueprint, so don’t be surprised if being a student at Coulsdon is a very similar experience to being at Reigate! The final piece of the jigsaw was Brett Freeman agreeing to join us as Principal. Brett has the drive and dedication to now take us to where we belong – and that is the very top.”

“This is the only sixth form in the whole borough that offers a broad enough curriculum to attract aspiring doctors, dentists, vets and lawyers as well as nurses, travel agents and sports therapists – and just about everything in between! We use one word to describe our approach to being the best – relentless – and it’s served us well, but this is just the beginning.”

To find out first-hand what makes Coulsdon College one of the top choices for sixth form education in Croydon, please come along to the College’s full Open Event on Thursday 1st May 2014, from 5.30pm to 8pm.
Coulsdon Sixth Form College, Placehouse Lane, Old Coulsdon, Surrey CR5 1YA admissions@coulsdon.ac.uk  Telephone 01737 551176

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