An Ofsted monitoring visit has judged that we’re making significant progress in setting the right strategic direction and implementing targeted, rapid and sustainable quality improvement that’s clearly benefiting students.

In their first visit since the merger of Highbury and Portsmouth Colleges in 2021, the Ofsted team found that leaders and governors ‘carefully monitor the resultant whole college quality improvement plan and review progress carefully’.

Their report says: “Senior leaders and governors have very successfully transformed the culture at the college. Managers and staff across all campuses refer to an open and transparent culture.

"Almost all staff embrace the challenges and are proud of their role within the post-merger improvement journey. Senior leaders and governors recognised the importance of investing in their management and staff team.

"Most teachers plan and teach their lessons effectively and in a logical order so that students and apprentices build on basic knowledge before moving to more complex and difficult topics.”

The report also found that ‘staff continue to assess students’ and apprentices’ prior skills through the initial weeks of their courses. They identify gaps in knowledge or skills and take steps to help students address these gaps promptly.’

It added: “Teachers use a range of strategies to ensure they gather appropriate and detailed information. For example, at the sixth-form campus, students complete useful ‘flying start’ tasks at the start of their courses. These help teachers identify students’ prior subject knowledge and help students to understand the demands of the subject. Teachers use students’ responses to these tasks effectively to assess any gaps in knowledge and plan carefully to fill these gaps in subsequent lessons.”

Delighted Principal and CEO Katy Quinn said the inspection team also recognised that we’re making reasonable progress in tackling areas identified as requiring improvement in the legacy 2018 Highbury inspection, including making sure all students are receiving good English and maths teaching, learning and assessment.

“Our clearly defined onward trajectory for further improving the quality of education and experience for all our students and apprentices was commended by the team and we look forward to welcoming them back for a full inspection over the coming months,” she added.

To read the monitoring Ofsted report, click here.

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