School etc

Opal College London

Opal College London
Bow House
153-159 Bow Road

phone: 020 32226077

headed by: Mr Paul Townsley

school holidays: via Tower Hamlets council

— Other Independent School

Establishment type
Other Independent School
Establishment #
Open date
Sept. 8, 2011
Reason open
New Provision
OSGB coordinates
Easting: 537453, Northing: 182930
GPS coordinates
Latitude: 51.529, Longitude: -0.019897
Accepting pupils
14—21 years old
Census date
Jan. 16, 2014
Region › Const. › Ward
London › Bethnal Green and Bow › Bow East
Urban > 10k - less sparse
Sixth form
Has a sixth form
Learning provider ref #

rooms to rent in Tower Hamlets

Schools nearby

  1. 0.1 miles St Agnes RC Primary School E33ER (229 pupils)
  2. 0.1 miles Bow School E32QD (512 pupils)
  3. 0.2 miles Childrens House Nursery School E33HL (95 pupils)
  4. 0.2 miles The Cherry Trees School E34EA (24 pupils)
  5. 0.2 miles Christian Hearts Academy E32SJ
  6. 0.3 miles Old Palace Primary School E33BT (418 pupils)
  7. 0.3 miles Wellington Primary School E34NE (394 pupils)
  8. 0.3 miles Central Foundation Girls' School E32AT (1498 pupils)
  9. 0.3 miles Phoenix School E32AD (168 pupils)
  10. 0.4 miles Malmesbury Junior School E32AB
  11. 0.4 miles Malmesbury Infant School E32AB
  12. 0.4 miles Ian Mikardo School E33LF (29 pupils)
  13. 0.4 miles Malmesbury Primary School E32AB (582 pupils)
  14. 0.4 miles Solebay Primary School E32AB (122 pupils)
  15. 0.5 miles The Clara Grant Primary School E34BU (495 pupils)
  16. 0.5 miles Marner Primary School E33LL (612 pupils)
  17. 0.6 miles Old Ford Infants' School E35LD
  18. 0.6 miles Old Ford Junior Mixed School E35LD
  19. 0.6 miles Beatrice Tate School E34PX (73 pupils)
  20. 0.6 miles Old Ford Primary School E35LD
  21. 0.6 miles East London Science School E33DU (90 pupils)
  22. 0.6 miles Old Ford Primary School E35LD (727 pupils)
  23. 0.7 miles Olga Primary School E35DN (229 pupils)
  24. 0.7 miles St Paul's Way Trust School E34FT (1032 pupils)

List of schools in Tower Hamlets

School report

Opal College London

Bow House, 153−159 Bow Road, London, E3 2SE

Inspection dates 2–3 July 2014
Overall effectiveness Good 2
Achievement of pupils No judgement made
Quality of teaching No judgement made
Behaviour and safety of pupils No judgement made
Leadership and management Good 2

Summary of key findings

This is a good college because
It is not yet an outstanding school because
Compliance with regulatory requirements

Leadership and management are good.
The college has appropriate policies and
Although there are currently no students on
roll aged 14 to18, there is clear vision for a
successful college for students of this age.
documentation that indicate it is preparing
effectively to educate a small number of
students aged 16 to 18 in the coming
academic year.
Appropriate safeguarding checks and policies
which are in place indicate that the college is
well prepared to safeguard the students who
may start courses in the coming academic
There was insufficient evidence to make
judgements about the quality of teaching and
how well students achieve.
Some procedures do not have the degree of
detail needed to support excellence in college
  • Regulatory requirements were met where the evidence available made it possible to make these
    judgements. The college meets schedule 1 of The Education (Independent School Standards)
    (England) Regulations 2010, as amended by The Education (Independent School Standards)
    (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (‘the independent school standards’) and associated


Compliance with the regulations in Part 1 was not judged as there are no 14 to 18 students on roll at the


Information about this inspection

  • This inspection was carried out at a day’s notice by one additional inspector, over a period of
    one and a half days in college.
  • Although there are no 14 to 18 students on roll at present, the inspection was carried out
    because there had been two earlier inspection deferrals.
  • The purpose of the inspection was to check the college’s compliance with the independent
    school standards required for continued registration as a school, and to report on the extent to
    which the college is ready to educate and safeguard students aged 16 to 18 who are likely to
    start in September 2014.
  • College policies and documentation were scrutinised and discussions held with the proprietor,
    Principal and administrative staff.
  • Questionnaires about the college were returned by eight staff, and these responses were
    considered by the inspector.
  • As the college has no teaching staff for students aged 14 to 18, apart from the Principal, and has
    never had students of this age range, no lessons could be observed or records of teaching,
    learning and achievement scrutinised. No discussions could take place with students, parents or
    teaching staff.

Inspection team

Peter McGregor, Lead inspector Additional Inspector

Full report

Information about this college

  • Opal College is an independent day college for students aged 14 and above.
  • The college opened in 2009 for students aged 18 or over taking further and higher education
    courses. There were 210 post-18 students enrolled at the college in the academic year 2013−14.
  • This report, on the first inspection of the college, considers aspects of the education provided for
    students aged 14 to 18.
  • The college has not enrolled students aged 14 to 18 in the past but is recruiting students aged
    16 to 18 for the first time for the academic year 2014−2015. Currently, there are no students on
    roll, although a small number has indicated a wish to start A-level courses in the coming
    academic year.
  • The college intends to recruit pupils aged 14 to 16 from September 2015 in suitable
    accommodation on a different site.
  • The college is currently housed in the wings of a large building used for a variety of commercial
  • The college’s aim is to meet the diverse needs of the students, enabling them to achieve the
    highest standards.

What does the school need to do to improve further?

  • Improve documentation on personal, social and health education, and the tutoring programme,
    so that plans can be implemented to ensure the best possible start for students joining the

Inspection judgements

Achievement of pupils No judgement made
  • No evidence was available of the achievement of students aged under 18 years because the
    college, to date, has not enrolled any of these students.
  • Post-18 students taught at the college on commercial, language and academic courses, such as
    HND business and health and social care, and a diploma in management, have been successful
    and gained places at higher education institutions or employment. Successes with these young
    adults indicate that the college systems are appropriate and the staff know how to set and
    assess work at the right level.
Quality of teaching No judgement made
  • As the college has not yet enrolled any students aged under 18, there are no teaching staff for
    this age group, nor records of teaching and learning for such students.
  • College monitoring records of teaching and learning of post-18 courses show that the quality is
    good. This substantiates the positive information on these students’ achievements. This evidence
    supports the view that college staff know how to teach well.
  • The curriculum policy, necessarily general until it is known which students are going to join the
    college, meets the independent school regulations. It specifies a generous teaching time
    allocation, and a small class size. A flexible approach is to be applied, enabling students to follow
    up to four AS-level courses. Practical courses, such as those for the sciences, design and
    technology and art and design, are not offered as the college has no facilities for these subjects.
    Two-weekly assessments will be made and the results used to inform teachers and leaders
    about the progress of each student. A formal assessment is intended to take place each term
    which will inform reports to parents.
  • The college intends to offer a good range of visits and visitors, as it does for post-18 students.
    The college’s location in London will enable students to appreciate the wide-ranging cultural and
    other facilities and activities available. Several visitors are curriculum linked, for example
    representatives from finance and banking joining the students for discussions.
  • Local sports facilities have been identified for physical education. Once the needs of the under-
    18 students are known, time at a centre will be booked for them.
  • The planned curriculum of activities for students aged 16 to 18 is appropriate.
  • A clear statement explains how the college will meet the needs of disabled students and those
    with special educational needs, if any join the college in September.
  • Helpful schemes of work are in place for the eight AS-level courses available from September
    2014. Each shows a planned sequence of lessons over a thirty-three week year that will enable
    the examination specifications to be covered well. The school has audited these schemes to
    ensure that they are free from political bias and partisan views.
  • The college has a strong background in providing English language courses for post-18 students
    who need to improve the standard of their spoken and written English. The college has plans to
    provide similar courses and teaching for international students and those who speak English as
    an additional language who are under 18, if these are needed.
  • Outline curriculum planning has been carried out for students aged 14 to 16. It is intended to
    recruit students in this age range for entry in September 2015. The intended range of courses
    will cover the required areas of learning.
Behaviour and safety of pupils No judgement made
  • As there are no students aged 14 to 18 currently on roll, no judgement could be made on their
    behaviour and safety. No checks could be carried out on the implementation of policies, on staff,
    student and parent views about behaviour and safety, or on students’ attitudes and attendance.
  • The safeguarding policy and procedures meet the independent school regulations. A single
    central register of the staff who will be working with under-18 students has been drawn up to
    ensure that staff are suitable to work with them. The Principal has had safer recruitment
    training, and it is planned into staff induction to the college that all new staff appointed will
    receive training in child protection procedures. The college has an appropriately-trained child
    protection officer to whom anyone can refer if they have any concerns.
  • Policies for anti-bullying, good behaviour and health and safety, including fire safety and first
    aid, meet the independent school regulations and will help to ensure procedures for students’
    welfare, health and safety are effective. Fortnightly fire drills take place, and are logged, that
    involve all people in the premises, including the many commercial enterprises present.
  • The computer suite intended for use by the students has appropriate e-safety software installed
    to protect students from sites the college considers inappropriate.
  • Planning for the tutorial arrangements is not as advanced as subject plans. There is a suitable
    policy for personal, social and health education; but plans for how students are to learn about
    public institutions and services, such as the heath service and judiciary, and about being a
    citizen in the United Kingdom, are not as comprehensive as they could be.
  • An admissions register has been prepared to record the details for students aged under 18
    years, once they have formally accepted places at the college. Draft attendance procedures are
    in place for those who start college in September.
Leadership and management are good
  • The proprietor and Principal have set out a clear vision for the college as one where the diverse
    needs of students are met through a commitment to truth and honesty, the provision of learning
    opportunities that enhance student employability and the pursuit of the highest standards.
    Successes of the current post-18 students indicate that what the college provides for them is
  • Independent school regulations are met, in so far as they can be assessed, showing that the
    college is in a position to educate students aged 16 to 18 in September 2014 and to ensure their
    welfare, health and safety. Outline plans for students aged 14 to 16, to be admitted from
    September 2015, are also appropriate.
  • The college website informs parents of prospective students about all required policies, including
    complaints. The policies are available to see, or to have copies, at the college office. The
    safeguarding policy is on the website.
  • The college has evidence of effective monitoring of teaching and learning related to the post-18
    teaching staff. Processes used, such as unannounced lesson observations, will be suitable to
    deploy for teachers of under-18 students. Evaluation outcomes are linked to the annual teacher
    appraisal cycle. Continuing professional development is provided for post-18 staff to enhance
  • A small number of post-18 support and teaching staff who completed questionnaires about the
    college are entirely positive about the quality of what is provided.
  • Staff are in process of being recruited to meet the subject needs of the curriculum to be offered
    from September 2014. The college has established good contacts with agencies that provide AS-
    and A-level teachers, so that the proprietor and Principal can make appointments quickly, as
    needed, for a September start. The necessary administrative staff have been appointed and are
    in place.
  • The college has developed strong links with the local and academic communities, such as banks,
    health and social care providers, and the universities post-18 students move on to. Under-18
    students will also benefit from the use of these links.
  • The college has achieved ‘highly trusted status’ in its latest United Kingdom Visas and
    Immigration inspection, showing that robust admissions and academic processes are in place
    that meet the standards of this government agency.
  • The premises are clean and well maintained. A supply of drinking water, appropriately labelled,
    is available. The rooms provide suitable accommodation for the range of courses being offered
    to students aged 16 to 18. Medical and toilet facilities are appropriate. The college has plans to
    use accommodation on a different site for 14 to 16 education as the accommodation available at
    the current site does not provide the specialist facilities needed to teach the full range of
    required areas of learning for students aged 14 to 16. The new site would require checking for
    suitability prior to admitting these younger students from September 2015.
  • Some of the elements of leadership and management cannot be assessed because there are no
    under-18 students and hence no achievement records or quality of teaching information.

What inspection judgements mean


Grade Judgement
Grade 1 Outstanding
Grade 2 Good
Grade 3 Requires improvement
Grade 4 Inadequate

Detailed grade characteristics can be viewed in the

Non-association independent school
inspection handbook

which is published on the Ofsted website:

School details

Unique reference number 115799
Inspection number 393282
DfE registration number 916/6037

This inspection was carried out under section 162A of the Education Act 2002, as amended by
schedule 8 of the Education Act 2005, the purpose of which is to advise the Secretary of State for

Education about the school’s suitability for continued registration as an independent school.

Type of school Day college, part of a larger post-18 college
School status Independent college
Age range of pupils 14 – 18
Gender of pupils Mixed
Number of pupils on the school roll 0
Number of part time pupils 0
Proprietor Mr Abedur Rahman Shimu
Chair Mr Abedur Rahman Shimu
Headteacher Mr Paul Townsley
Date of previous school inspection No previous inspection
Annual fees (day pupils) Flexible, depending upon selected courses up to
Telephone number 02032226077
Email address reveal email:…


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