The best of times for city college students

Daily Echo: Principal Alice Wrighton and deputy Matt Atkinson celebrate with students at Richard Taunton College Principal Alice Wrighton and deputy Matt Atkinson celebrate with students at Richard Taunton College

THERE has never been a better time to be a student at Richard Taunton Sixth Form College.

That was the conclusion of principal Alice Wrighton following a glowing report by Ofsted inspectors who gave the Southampton college a well-earned ‘Good’ rating

It is a notch up from the “satisfactory” rating it was given two years ago, since when staff and students have been working tirelessly to improve.

And it has paid off.

From the quality leadership to the “exemplary” behaviour of students, Richard Taunton college was praised for his high attainment, achievement and ethos.

Key findings of the report included:

  • Success rates for students on A-level and advanced level vocational courses have improved since the last inspection and are now high.
  • Students develop independent learning skills well through the careful attention teachers and support staff pay to improving study skills during lessons and through additional support and study sessions.
  • A high proportion of students on advanced level courses progress to higher education.
  • Students develop their confidence well; they enjoy the challenging activities that teachers provide and respond well to  detailed feedback from teachers. Behaviour is exemplary and students treat each other and staff with a high degree of respect.
  • Teachers, managers and governors monitor students’ progress closely and take prompt action to address any concerns about the quality of provision. Individual tutorials are used effectively to ensure students remain on target to complete their studies.

However, Ms Wrighton said the college was not resting on its laurels and was determined to continue on its journey toward becoming outstanding.

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She said: “This is a reflection of all the hard work that staff and students put into making this a great college to be a part of, every day.

“This report has confirmed that as a result of the very strong teaching, learning and support, students who choose this small sixth form college in Southamp-ton are getting high success rates and high grades – just as good, and in many cases better than, any other sixth form provider you might choose.”

“Across Southampton there is a genuinely positive feeling surrounding education. I truly believe that there is no educational reason why anyone should be going outside of Southampton. Three of its colleges have a good ranking and across all stages of education things are on the up.”

Inspectors said that in order to become outstanding the college on Hill Lane must improve the number of students taking part in work-related activities and teachers must all set challenging objectives for more able students.

But students agree Richard Taunton Sixth Form is a successful place to be.

Lawrence Wareham, 16, said: “I chose to come here because it was a smaller campus and as a result I feel I am better looked after here by getting the best out of me.

“There are also plenty of opportunities outside of the courses.”

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