PRIESTLEY College has been praised by Ofsted for its high pass rates and how it prepares young people in Warrington for their next steps in life.
In a report about the college – which this year celebrates 40 years of excellence in the town – inspectors said pass rates at Priestley were consistently high and above the national average.
It went on: “Students who are targeted to ‘aspire high’ nearly all got a place at prestigious universities including the University of Cambridge. A high proportion go to Russell Group universities.”
Principal Matthew Grant said: “It was a positive endorsement of the work we do as a college and the inclusive nature of Priestley.
“The inspection has demonstrated we meet the needs of young people in Warrington and the surrounding areas.
“We know there are things to improve, but are pleased that Ofsted acknowledged we had already identified these issues and are taking action to improve upon them.”
Ofsted spent three days at Priestley College meeting students, tutors, governors and parents as well as spending time in classrooms.
They found that ‘teachers ensure students develop the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in their qualifications and in their working life’.
“A high proportion of students, many of whom do not have a family history of higher education, go to university,” said the report.
Students benefit from a nurturing and inclusive culture with effective pastoral support.
The college was deemed good across the board with inspectors also finding areas of excellence during their visit. In particular the Art and Design, Performing Arts, Music and Sport departments were acknowledged for their very high standards.
Inspectors praised the behaviour of students who they said were ‘polite and highly respectful of their peers, staff and visitors’.
“The report told us something that we already knew, that our students’ behaviour and the respect they show in college is excellent,” said Matthew.
It was the first time Priestley had been assessed under the latest Ofsted framework and since it became an academy.
Inspectors noted that ‘the proportion of students remain on their course is high in all subjects. ‘The number of students who progress to a second year of study is high, particularly on A Level courses.’
The findings demonstrated that a ‘very high proportion of students achieve their qualifications’ and also have the chance to be involved with ‘interesting and worthwhile additional activities that help them develop their personal, social and communication skills’.
“Our mission at Priestley is to inspire, challenge and support our students and this Ofsted report shows we are achieving that goal,” said Matthew.
“I am very proud of all our staff, students, parents and governors who together make Priestley a wonderful community in which to work and learn.”