School etc

Alton College

Alton College
Old Odiham Road
Alton
Hampshire
GU342LX

phone: 01420 592200

principal: Ms Jane Machell

school holidays: via Hampshire council


16 Plus — Further Education

URN
130691
Education phase
16 Plus
Establishment type
Further Education
Establishment #
8605
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 471726, Northing: 140156
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 51.156, Longitude: -0.97577
Accepting pupils
16—99 years old
Ofsted last inspection
Sept. 29, 2009
Region › Const. › Ward
South East › East Hampshire › Alton Eastbrooke
Area
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Investor in People
Committed IiP Status
Further education type
Sixth Form College (General)
Learning provider ref #
10000256
Further & higher education #
108469

Rooms & flats to rent in Alton

Schools nearby

  1. 0.2 miles Anstey Junior School GU342DR (229 pupils)
  2. 0.2 miles Bushy Leaze Early Years Centre GU342DR (61 pupils)
  3. 0.3 miles Saint Lawrence Church of England Primary School GU342BY (167 pupils)
  4. 0.3 miles Amery Hill School GU342BZ
  5. 0.3 miles Amery Hill School GU342BZ (849 pupils)
  6. 0.4 miles Alton Infant School GU341DH (176 pupils)
  7. 0.4 miles Wootey Infant School GU342JA (133 pupils)
  8. 0.4 miles Wootey Junior School GU342JA (177 pupils)
  9. 0.4 miles Three Counties Primary School GU342BT
  10. 0.5 miles Alton Convent School GU342NG (543 pupils)
  11. 0.6 miles Mayfield School GU342RN
  12. 0.8 miles Eggar's School GU344EQ
  13. 0.8 miles Eggar's School GU344EQ (790 pupils)
  14. 0.9 miles Whitedown School GU341LP
  15. 0.9 miles Treloar School GU344GL (89 pupils)
  16. 0.9 miles Eastbrook Education Trust GU342SL
  17. 1 mile The Butts Primary School GU341PW (234 pupils)
  18. 1 mile Andrews' Endowed Church of England Primary School GU344EL (202 pupils)
  19. 1 mile Treloar College GU344EN
  20. 1.2 mile Chawton Park Pupil Referral Unit GU341RQ
  21. 1.3 mile Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital School GU341RJ
  22. 1.8 mile Chawton Church of England Primary School GU341SG (140 pupils)
  23. 3.2 miles St Mary's Bentworth Church of England Primary School GU345RE (86 pupils)
  24. 3.4 miles Binsted Church of England Primary School GU344NX (85 pupils)

List of schools in Alton


AudiencePublishedProvider reference

Alton College

Inspection report

Post-sixteen July 2006 130691

2

Contents

Basic information about the college 3
Background of the organisation 4
Scope of the inspection 4
Summary of grades awarded 5
Overall judgement 6
Main findings 8

3

Basic information about the college

Name of college: Alton College
Type of college: Sixth Form College
Principal: Jane Machell
Address of college: Old Odiham Road, Alton, Hampshire, GU34 2LX
Telephone number: 01420 592 200
Fax number: 01420 592 253
Chair of governors: Mrs Merry Frankel
Unique reference number: 130691
Name of lead inspector: Gloria Dolan, HMI
Dates of inspection: 15-19 May 2006

4

Background of the organisation

1. Alton College is a sixth form college located in rural Hampshire. It has one

main campus but courses are also offered at a wide range of other locations in
the community.

2. Most students live within 20 miles of the college. There are 1,608 students

aged 16-18 and 24 students aged over 19 who study full-time at the college.
There are 122 students aged 16-18 and 1,619 adults who study on a part-time
basis. Most full-time students study courses at level 3 and most adults study
courses at level 1.

3. Sixty-three per cent of pupils in east Hampshire attained at least 5 grade A*-C

passes at GCSE in 2005 compared with 56.3% for England as a whole. Over
90% of students are of white, European origin. Six per cent of students are
from minority ethnic backgrounds which is a far higher proportion than in the
local population. In 2001, there were 110,200 residents in east Hampshire and
the unemployment rate was 3.1%.

4. The college received a Beacon Award in 2004 for inclusive learning, sponsored

by Mencap and the RNIB, in recognition of its strong partnership work with
Treloar College, a specialist college. Thirty students from Treloar College, with
a range of severe disabilities, attend Alton College each year and study
advanced level courses.

5. The college provides courses in 11 sector subject areas. The numbers of full-

time equivalent students are highest in science and mathematics, arts, media
and publishing and languages, literature and culture.

6. The college’s mission is “To provide high quality sixth form and adult

education in an inclusive, supportive and challenging environment, enabling
people within our community to achieve their potential”.

Scope of the inspection

7. In deciding the scope of this inspection, inspectors took account of: the

college’s previous inspection report (www.ofsted.gov.uk); the college’s most
recent self-assessment report and development plans; comments from the
local Learning and Skills Council (LSC); reports from the inspectorate annual
assessment visits; and data on enrolments and students’ achievements over
the period since the last inspection. This inspection focused on the following
aspects:

 overall effectiveness of the college and its capacity to improve further
 achievements and standards
 quality of provision
 leadership and management.

5

Summary of grades awarded

Effectiveness of provision Outstanding: grade 1
Capacity to improve Outstanding: grade 1
Achievements and standards Outstanding: grade 1
Quality of provision Outstanding: grade 1
Leadership and management Outstanding: grade 1

Note: Where contributory grades have been awarded, they are shown in the relevant sections of the
report. Contributory grades represent the judgement of the team that the quality of the aspect of
provision indicated by the grade differs from the grade overall.

6

Overall judgement

Effectiveness of provision Outstanding: grade 1

8. Achievements and standards are outstanding. Success rates are high on nearly

all courses. Value-added scores on level 3 courses show that students make
significantly better progress than expected based on their prior achievement.
Students of all backgrounds, including those of minority ethnic heritage, those
with disabilities, male and female students and those studying on a full- or
part-time basis, achieve very well. Attendance rates are excellent.

9. The quality of teaching is good and learning is very effective. Lessons are well

planned and teachers use a range of strategies effectively to develop students’
knowledge and understanding of complex topics. Very good use of information
and learning technology (ILT) is evident throughout the college and enhances
learning. Assessment and feedback on students’ work is thorough and helpful.
Support for additional learning needs is generally very effective but its
effectiveness is not monitored consistently across the college.

10. The college’s approach to meeting the needs and interests of students and to

social and educational inclusion is outstanding. A wide range of courses is
provided for students of all ages and backgrounds, including school pupils,
students with learning difficulties and disabilities and employers. Progression
opportunities are available from entry level to level 3. The enrichment
programme is popular and extensive.

11. Guidance and support for students are outstanding. Well focused guidance

ensures that students are on courses appropriate to their needs. Information
and guidance for higher education are excellent and careers advice is
effective. The monitoring of students’ progress is thorough, frequent and
highly effective.

12. Leadership and management are outstanding. The principal and governors set

a clear strategic direction for the college. There is a strong culture of
promoting achievement and the development of rounded young people.
Quality assurance systems are comprehensive and robust. Self-assessment of
teaching departments and cross-college functions is accurate and leads to
improvement. The college engages in excellent partnership working to meet
the needs of a broad range of students. Financial management is sound and
expenditure is controlled prudently.

Capacity to improve Outstanding: grade 1

13. The college sets challenging targets and consistently achieves high standards.

Performance is monitored closely and continuously, using very effective quality
assurance procedures. Lesson observation procedures have been strengthened

7

since the last inspection. These have helped to improve the already good level
of teaching. Self-assessment is rigorous and effective in identifying areas for
improvement. Staff at all levels are committed to ensuring students achieve
their potential. The support provided for students is excellent. Governors and
senior managers are clear about the strategic direction of the college. They
recognise the challenges of maintaining current enrolment levels and income
against a background of falling numbers of pupils in partner schools.

The effectiveness of the steps taken by the college to promote
improvement since the last inspection

14. Progress made since the last inspection has been outstanding. The college has

gone considerably further than addressing the relatively minor weaknesses
identified in the last inspection. Accommodation and teaching resources have
been improved. Information technology is now used very well to support
teaching and to monitor students’ progress. The curriculum has been
broadened in response to local needs. Success rates and attendance have
improved from already high to outstanding levels. The quality of teaching has
improved and appropriate steps have been taken to achieve further
improvement. The financial position of the college continues to be strong.

Key strengths of the college

Strengths

 high success rates for students of all ages on nearly all courses
 very effective learning
 highly responsive provision to meet local needs
 outstanding academic, welfare and pastoral support
 very good attendance by students in lessons
 outstanding social and educational inclusion
 highly effective leadership, management and governance
 excellent partnership working

Areas for improvement

The college should address:

 some low success rates on a small number of level 2 courses for 16-18 year

old students and for adult students on a few level 3 courses

 ineffective monitoring of additional learning support provision

8

Main findings

Achievements and standards Outstanding: grade 1

Contributory grades:

Adult and community learning Good: grade 2

15. Inspectors’ findings agree with the college’s self-assessment that achievement

and standards are outstanding. Success rates are high or very high for most
courses. Students from all backgrounds do well. There are no significant
differences between the achievement rates of male and female students, those
from minority ethnic backgrounds, students with disabilities or those who have
additional learning needs.

16. The proportion of 16-18 year old students who complete their courses and

pass their qualifications at level 3 is consistently much higher than the national
average. Success rates for the much smaller number of students aged 19 plus
at level 3 are variable and in 2004/05 they were three per cent below the
national average. Fourteen to sixteen year old students studying GCE AS level
critical thinking have high success rates.

17. Students of all ages have high success rates at level 1. They are consistently

very high for adults and they are high in three of the last four years for 16-18
year old students. At level 2, the success rate for students aged 16-18
declined by four per cent to the national average in 2004/05. The proportion
of A*-C grade passes in most GCSE subjects is consistently much higher than
the national average. Adults do well on level 2 courses, with a high proportion
of them successfully completing their courses and achieving their
qualifications. Success rates on short courses are well above the national
average for students of all ages in almost all years.

18. Pass rates on GCE A and AS courses are high. The A-level pass rate was

98.8% in 2004/05 and 21 subjects had pass rates of 100%. A high proportion
of A or B grades are attained by students. Progress made by students taking
graded level 3 qualifications has improved over the last three years. There is
some variability between subjects but, overall, students make significantly
better progress than expected based on their previous attainment at GCSE.

19. Large numbers of students successfully complete their level 3 key skill

information technology. Students also perform well in the key skill of
application of number at levels 1 and 2. However, the success rate for the very
small number of students taking communication at level 2 was low.

20. A very high proportion of students progress into higher education, further

education or employment. Average attendance is high and has increased from

9

90% to 94% over the last year. Student retention rates this year have shown
considerable improvement at all levels and for students of all ages. The in-year
retention rate is high at 94.6%.

21. Students enjoy their learning and show courtesy and respect for one another.

They are articulate, confident and knowledgeable about their subjects.
Complex topics are dealt with very effectively by students and most of their
written work is of a very high standard.

Quality of provision Outstanding: grade 1

22. Inspectors agree with the college's judgement that the overall quality of

teaching and learning is good. In most lessons, teachers use a range of
learning strategies effectively to extend students’ knowledge and build on
previous experience. In advanced level lessons, students are challenged
successfully to critically analyse complex concepts. Lessons are well structured
and students work diligently and enjoy their work. Effective use is made of
information and learning technology to enhance learning. Teachers frequently
use and refer students to additional resources available on the college’s virtual
learning environment. The development of skills and knowledge for the
information technology key skill at level 3 is well organised and effective.

23. In a very few lessons teaching is uninspiring. Learning in these lessons lacks

sufficient challenge and not all students are fully included in questioning or
group activities. The college has identified this as an area for improvement.

24. The range of support to meet students’ additional learning needs is very good.

Students’ needs are assessed and identified on joining the college. Most
students take up the support offered and all students benefit from extra
support from subject specialists. Progress made by individual students is
monitored rigorously and those receiving support do at least as well as other
students. However, monitoring of the effectiveness of additional support is not
consistent or comprehensive. Learning support assistants are not used
effectively in some lessons.

25. Assignments are well prepared and of a consistently high standard. They

challenge students well and meet the requirements of awarding bodies.
Teachers mark work accurately and there is a rigorous system of internal
moderation to ensure that standards are consistent and maintained. Teachers
provide detailed and helpful feedback to students on the quality of their work.
The assessment of adults on work-based vocational courses is rigorous.

26. Feedback to parents or carers of 16-18 year old students is regular and very

effective. Detailed progress reports are produced termly. Parents and carers
are contacted quickly if students fail to attend lessons or if their progress is
causing concern.

10

27. Most teaching accommodation and learning resources are of a high standard.

New accommodation, including the science block and learning resource centre
(LRC), is outstanding. Materials on the college intranet and the LRC are used
frequently and ICT resources are of high quality. Student social facilities are
being extended and improved.

28. The college’s response to meeting the needs and interests of students and

social and educational inclusion is outstanding. A wide range of courses and
good progression opportunities are offered from entry-level to level 3 for
students of all ages and backgrounds. The range of provision is particularly
wide at level 3. Successful courses in language, literacy and numeracy are
provided in the college and at a range of venues in the community.

29. Students participate in an extensive enrichment programme. Social diversity is

widely explored and celebrated through the curriculum. Students make a
positive contribution to the community through a variety of creative, sporting,
personal and community development activities.

30. The college is responsive to meeting the needs of 14-16 year old pupils

through increased flexibility and gifted and talented programmes. High success
rates are achieved by school pupils, students from minority ethnic
backgrounds and by students with disabilities. Many students with severe
physical disabilities are fully integrated into the college.

31. Many adults, including those with learning difficulties and disabilities in

residential care, attend courses throughout the area. The college works
particularly effectively with a targeted range of employers and community
organisations to identify and meet training needs. Highly focused marketing
has substantially increased the number of applications from pupils at a school
in a disadvantaged area. There is a good nursery available for students’
children to attend.

32. Inspectors agree with the college’s self-assessment that guidance and support

for students are outstanding. Information and guidance to potential students
are highly effective. Strong links with parents or carers of students under 18
years old are established at an early stage. Students make informed choices
and enrol on appropriate courses which meet their needs. Effective induction
programmes help them to settle quickly into their courses and college life.

33. Personal and welfare support are outstanding. Very good extra academic

support is provided by subject specialists to supplement lessons. Financial and
careers support are highly effective. Advice and guidance on progression to
higher education is excellent. There are strong partnerships with external
agencies, including Connexions, and work-related guidance is effective. The
college consults students frequently and systematically on a range of issues
and responds well to any concerns they raise.

11

34. Students are well supported by their tutors, but some group tutorials are less

effective. Health-related matters are covered extensively in tutorials. Good
health is promoted through enrichment activities. A healthy range of foods is
readily available in the college refectory. The comprehensive tutorial
programme includes strong focus on personal and social development and
financial literacy. Students develop a range of skills, such as team working,
which is useful preparation for future employment.

35. An innovative on-line system monitors and records the progress made by

individual students, ongoing throughout the year. Issues of concern about
student performance are addressed quickly. Attendance is closely monitored
and any absences speedily followed up.

Leadership and management Outstanding: grade 1

36. Leadership and management are outstanding. The principal and governors set

a clear strategic direction for the college. The vocational curriculum has been
broadened in response to local needs. Communication is good and staff at all
levels are committed to the mission of the college. There is a strong culture of
promoting achievement and the development of rounded young people. The
progress of individual students is closely monitored and they receive excellent
support. Students’ attendance and success rates have continued to improve
since the last inspection and are outstanding.

37. Governance is strong. Governors are committed and support and challenge the

principal and senior managers well. They are well informed about the work of
the college and monitor its academic and financial performance carefully. Their
expertise in areas such as finance and estate management is used particularly
well to support the development of the college.

38. Quality assurance systems are comprehensive and robust. Lesson observation

procedures have been strengthened since the last inspection and link closely
to teachers’ appraisals. Inspectors’ judgements regarding the quality of
teaching largely matched those of the college. Good use is made of value
added data to determine the progress made by individuals and groups of
students. Surveys of students’, staff and parents’ opinions are used well to
inform decision making although external benchmarking is limited. Self-
assessment of teaching departments and cross-college functions is accurate
and leads to improvement. Moderation procedures are implemented
meticulously. Staff have good opportunities for personal development.

39. In order to implement its strategy for meeting local education and training

needs and promoting diversity, the college has developed a range of highly
effective links and partnership arrangements. The college plays a lead role in
providing education opportunities for 14-16 year olds in the area and, with its
partners, is actively engaged in establishing a coherent 14-19 curriculum offer
for the area.

12

40. Resources are very good overall and many facilities have been improved since

the last inspection. A new performing arts building is soon to be completed.
Students have excellent access to computers. A wide range of learning
resources is available through the college virtual learning environment.

41. Financial management is sound and expenditure is controlled prudently. Due

to borrowing to improve resources, the college is only projecting modest
surpluses for the next two years. Management information is accurate,
accessible to staff and is used well to support both financial planning and
learning. Resources are deployed very effectively and value for money is
excellent.

42. The college is fully accessible to people with limited mobility. The college has

made a highly effective response to the requirements of the Special
Educational Needs and Disability Act. The college’s arrangements for
admissions, assessment and teaching are very effective. A suitable race
equality policy and action plan has been prepared and is fully monitored.
There are appropriate policies for child protection and for safeguarding young
people. Staff are subject to the appropriate checks before they are employed.
Staff and governors have been trained but some teachers are not sufficiently
aware of child protection procedures or their role within it. Bullying and
harassment policies are implemented effectively.

13

Students’ achievements

Table 1

Success rates on mainstream level 1 qualifications, by qualification type, expected
end year and age, 2002 to 2004, compared to the national rates for colleges of a
similar type.

Table 2

Success rates on mainstream level 2 qualifications, by qualification type, expected
end year and age, 2002 to 2004, compared to the national rates for colleges of a
similar type.

14

Table 3

Success rates on mainstream level 3 qualifications, by qualification type, expected
end year and age, 2002 to 2004, compared to the national rates for colleges of a
similar type.

. This report may be reproduced in whole or in part for non-

commercial educational purposes, provided that the

information quoted is reproduced verbatim without adaptation, and the source and date of publication are stated.
Inspection reports are available on the Ofsted website (www.ofsted.gov.uk).

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