Inspection and Reviews
Furness College was inspected between 12 and 15 March 2019, which was its first Ofsted inspection since the merger between Furness College and Barrow Sixth Form College in August 2016. Ofsted judged the College to be a GOOD college with GOOD provision in all main judgement areas, as follows:
GOOD – Overall Effectiveness
GOOD – Effectiveness of Leadership and Management
GOOD – Outcomes for Learners
GOOD – Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment
GOOD – Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare
Why is Furness College a good college?
- Leaders and managers have managed the merger of the predecessor vocational college and sixth form college effectively to minimise the impact on learners’ progress;
- Leaders and managers use their links with local employers and key stakeholders productively to develop the curriculum so that it meets local and regional needs and priorities;
- Teachers and tutors use their professional and industrial experience successfully to help learners and apprentices to develop high-level technical skills. As a result, learners gain relevant future employment or go on to further study;
- Learners and apprentices benefit significantly from effective support in lessons that helps them to make at least the progress expected of them and to achieve their learning goals;
- Adult learners develop confidence and self-worth; many overcome significant personal issues and move into employment or further study;
- Learners’ and apprentices’ behaviour is good. They are supportive to their peers and display positive attitudes to their learning;
- The large majority of study programme learners complete their courses successfully and achieve their qualifications;
- Learners and apprentices benefit from high-quality impartial careers advice and guidance that enables them to move onto further learning or employment that matches their aspirations;
- Learners benefit from a well-developed and wide-ranging programme of additional activities that helps them to develop their personal, social and employability skills successfully.
Inspectors also commented that:
- Leaders and managers have successfully developed a strategy and curriculum that is responsive to local and regional needs;
- Governors and leaders have invested significantly in high-quality equipment and resources which enable learners to develop appropriate practical skills for use in the workplace;
- Leaders and managers have a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the provision;
- Leaders and managers have created a caring culture that ensures that all staff place a high priority on keeping learners safe;
- Teachers and tutors use their subject knowledge effectively to provide high-quality teaching and training;
- Learners’ and apprentices’ behaviour is good. Learners and apprentices are polite and courteous and display respect for one another, the staff and visitors in lessons and around the college campuses;
- Learners and apprentices receive effective support from their coaches and mentors to help them overcome their barriers to learning;
- The large majority of study programme learners complete their courses and achieve their qualifications;
- The large majority of learners following A-level courses make good progress and either achieve or exceed their expected grades.
What does Furness College need to improve further?
- Ensure that leaders and managers monitor closely the progress that learners make throughout the year to make sure that they are challenged to reach their full potential and achieve high grades.
- Improve teaching, learning and assessment by ensuring that teachers and tutors:
- plan lessons effectively to ensure that the most-able learners and apprentices achieve routinely the high grades of which they are capable;
- provide effective feedback to learners and apprentices that identifies accurately spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors in their work to prevent them from repeating the same mistakes in future;
- implement a curriculum for learners who have high needs that meets and fulfils their needs and aspirations and focusses on the achievement of the outcomes of their education, health and care (EHC) plans.
For the full report visit the Ofsted website
Quality Assurance Agency Review
The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) visited Furness College in February 2016 to undertake a full Higher Education Review. The result was exceptionally positive and complemented many areas of the College’s HE practice across a broad range of subjects.
The QAA team formed the following judgements about the Higher Education provision at Furness College:
- The maintenance of the academic standards of awards offered on behalf of degree-awarding bodies and other awarding organisations meets UK expectations;
- The quality of student learning opportunities meets UK expectations;
- The quality of the information about learning opportunities meets UK expectations;
- The enhancement of student learning opportunities is commended.
Good practice The QAA team identified the following features of good practice at Furness College:
- The drawing together of data from a range of sources to inform comprehensive action plans, which are aligned to internal and external benchmarks;
- The effective relationship between the College and stakeholders that enables the College to make timely adjustments to the curriculum to maintain relevance and currency;
- The strategic approach that enables all stakeholders to work together to identify and seamlessly develop enhancement opportunities of mutual benefit;
- The culture of enhancement that pervades all aspects of College provision.
Recommendations The QAA team makes the following recommendations to Furness College. By September 2016:
- Implement formal structured training for student representatives.
For the full report, visit the QAA website