Furness College


Name Furness College
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 12 March 2019
Address Channelside, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, LA14 2PJ
Phone Number 01229825017
Type General Further Education and Tertiary
Age Range 16-99
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Local Authority Cumbria

Information about the provider

Furness College merged with Barrow Sixth Form College in 2016. The merged college is a small general further education college situated across three main campuses in Barrow-in-Furness. The college offers provision from entry level to level 4 in academic and vocational training and apprenticeships. The college serves an area of considerable deprivation where unemployment rates are slightly higher than the average for England. The college is situated in one of the three most deprived wards in Barrow, where a quarter of adults are unemployed. Educational attainment is low, with a quarter of the working-age population having no qualifications.

Summary of key findings

This is a good provider Leaders and managers have managed the merger of the predecessor vocational college and sixth-form college effectively to minimise the impact on learners’ progress. Leaders and managers use their links with local employers and key stakeholders productively to develop the curriculum so that it meets local and regional needs and priorities. Teachers and tutors use their professional and industrial experience successfully to help learners and apprentices to develop high-level technical skills. As a result, learners gain relevant future employment or go on to further study. Learners and apprentices benefit significantly from effective support in lessons that helps them to make at least the progress expected of them and to achieve their learning goals. Adult learners develop confidence and self-worth. Many overcome significant personal issues and move into employment or further study. Learners’ and apprentices’ behaviour is good. They are supportive to their peers and display positive attitudes to their learning. The large majority of study programme learners complete their courses successfully and achieve their qualifications. Learners and apprentices benefit from high-quality impartial careers advice and guidance that enable them to move on to further learning or employment that matches their aspirations. Learners benefit from a well-developed and wide-ranging programme of additional activities that helps them to develop their personal, social and employability skills successfully. Leaders and managers do not place sufficient focus on the progress that learners make throughout the year to ensure that they achieve the high grades of which they are capable. Teachers and tutors do not challenge the most able learners and apprentices sufficiently to ensure that they achieve their full potential. Learners and apprentices do not receive sufficient support or guidance to develop their English skills in vocational subjects. Tutors do not use information about apprentices’ starting points well enough to identify the specific skills and behaviours that apprentices need to develop. Leaders, managers and teachers do not have high enough expectations of what learners with high needs can achieve. As a result, they do not reach their full potential or gain greater independence.