Inspectors praise Sir Harry Smith Community College but say sixth form needs to improve

SIR Harry Smith Community College in Whittlesey is a good college where the personal development of students is a significant strength.

But while Ofsted inspectors judged the overall effectiveness of the college and its capacity for sustained improvement to be ‘good’ the sixth form was given a ‘satisfactory’ rating.

Outcomes for sixth form students, quality of provision and the leadership and management, were all found to be satisfactory.

Commenting on the sixth form, the inspector said: “In the better lessons, students are actively engaged in their work and are given clear guidance on the criteria to drive towards higher grades which results in their good progress.

“In other lessons, teachers often talk far too long or fail to challenge students sufficiently to do more in the time allocated. In these lessons, progress is limited.”

A new system of tracking has been implemented which checks the progress of students allowing for early intervention, but this has yet to show full impact.

An inspector said: “The arrangements for monitoring provision are in place but are not as fully embedded as those for the main college. As a result, improvements are not having enough impact on outcomes.”

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In the main body of the college inspectors pointed out that the attainment of students is sometimes restricted because teachers do not always plan activities that are challenging enough particularly for high attainers.

The college was found to be ‘outstanding’ in the effectiveness of care, guidance and support. Inspectors said: “Excellent attention is given to all aspects of care, guidance and support. Parents and carers agree that adult care is of a high standard in the college. Targeted support for groups of students who are vulnerable because of their circumstances has resulted in them making good progress in their learning and development”.

In a letter sent out to parents, students were told: “Make sure that teachers plan to ensure that all of you in class make the most possible progress, including high attainers”.

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