Tamworth Sixth Form Centre ‘slammed’ by inspectors

July 10, 2015

TAMWORTH Informed has learned today that Tamworth’s only dedicated Sixth Form Centre, was ‘slammed’ by inspectors earlier in the year in a report that was held back until today.

Landau Forte Sixth Form Centre was subject to a short notice Ofsted inspection back in April, the results of this stated that the centre ‘Requires Improvement’ in all three monitored areas.

Being Tamworth’s only dedicated Sixth Form Centre since opening it’s doors in 2011, it is extremely disappointing to see the centre not rated at least ‘Good’ or indeed ‘Outstanding’ as their is little alternative for students and parents.

It is understood that due to the centre being disappointed with the results, they appealed and managed to hold back the report. However, the appeal was lost and Ofsted published the report this morning (10 July).

One of Her Majesty’s Inspectors, in this case Russell Henry and four additional inspectors, assisted by the Principal as nominee, carried out the inspection with short notice between April 21-24 this year.

The Inspection

The ‘Short Notice Inspection’ stated that the centre requires improvement because:

  • In several key subjects, including English, mathematics and AS science, too many students do not achieve their qualifications or make the progress that should be expected, given their starting points.
  • Tutors do not always provide feedback that helps students develop academic skills, such as how to structure an essay, that they can apply to future work across subjects.
  • Staff do not assess students’ starting points in English and mathematics and consequently, do not plan programmes to develop students’ skills further
  • Managers have not developed strong links with local employers and as a result, the planning of the vocational curriculum does not consider their needs sufficiently.
  • Too few students participate in work experience or work-related learning, a key study programme component that helps them consider future career options and prepare for work.
  • Governors are not involved early enough in reviews of quality and this limits their ability to contribute to improvement planning and monitoring.
  • Students do not have enough opportunities to express their views of the academy or influence the quality of their own learning.

It did however, identify the following strengths at the centre:

  • All students who complete their programme successfully progress to appropriate further learning or employment.
  • Tutors provide good support for students with additional needs.
  • Staff provide highly effective advice and guidance that helps students plan their next steps in education or employment.
  • Students are exceptionally well behaved; they are polite and have a professional appearance.

How the Inspection works

The three areas in which the centre is inspected are; Outcomes for learners, Quality of teaching, learning and assessment and Effectiveness of leadership and management.

During the inspection, for each area and then overall it is possible to ‘score’ in to four main categories; Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate.

Ofsted say the following regarding ‘Requires Improvement’: “The school requires improvement because one or more of the four key judgements requires improvement (grade 3) and/or there are weaknesses in the overall provision for pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development”

Inspectors used data on learners’ achievements over the last three years to help them make judgements. Inspectors used group and individual interviews, telephone calls and online questionnaires to gather the views of learners and employers; these views are then reflected throughout the report.

They observed learning sessions, assessments and progress reviews. The inspection took into account all relevant provision at the provider. Inspectors looked at the quality of teaching, learning and assessment across all of the provision and graded the sector subject areas listed in the report above.

Low Student Numbers

We have also learned that numbers are woefully low at the Sixth form centre.  The capacity of LFA sixth form is around 960, yet we understand that there are currently only 552 students enrolled, 400 short of capacity.

Surely five years on from its opening, the centre should be running at capacity, there are enough students in the Town and surrounding villages.  Instead,  post 16 students are fleeing the town and going to other  places such as Burton, Sutton.