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Greenhead College is a large sixth-form college in Huddersfield.
It provides A-level courses and a few vocational programmes for young people in the Kirklees area and surrounding cities and towns in West Yorkshire and beyond. The college provides A levels in most subjects, with a high proportion of students studying science subjects and mathematics. At the time of the inspection, there were 2,767 students on education programmes for young people, of whom 10 were students with high needs.
What is it like to be a learner with this provider?
Staff across the college set very high expectations for what they expect of students in terms of their attitudes to learn...ing and their behaviour. Students respond to these exceptionally well, and their behaviour is exemplary. They are highly respectful of each other and staff.
Attendance is consistently high, and students arrive to lessons promptly, focused and ready to learn.
Students are encouraged to do their best and are treated as mature adults. They appreciate and value the adult environment that enables them to develop as confident and well-rounded individuals.
Students appreciate the holistic approach of the college that values their personal development as much as their academic achievement.
Students benefit from an extremely well-developed enrichment programme. All staff, including the principal and deputy principal, run enrichment sessions and share their hobbies and interests with the students, who participate fully and enthusiastically in the sessions.
Activities relate to a wide range of topics and interests, including sports, music, debating, robotic engineering, creative textiles, knitting, animal care and beekeeping.
Students feel safe at college. They are aware of the risks that they may encounter locally and how these relate to their lives.
They talk confidently about issues such as county lines, sexual and criminal exploitation, knife crime, and drug and alcohol abuse. Students fully understand how to keep themselves safe.
What does the provider do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders and managers have a very clear and effective strategy to provide A-level programmes in a safe and nurturing environment that helps almost all students to progress into higher education or higher-level apprenticeships.
They have designed a highly ambitious curriculum across all the courses that they offer. Staff place a high importance on the development of the whole person so that students are very well prepared for their next steps. Leaders and managers work very closely with other colleges in the area to avoid duplication of pathways.
Curriculum leaders and teachers plan the curriculum within subjects very effectively. They carefully consider the knowledge and skills that students will need to gain to be successful in each subject. Teachers take care not to overload students.
They enable them to master knowledge, technical language and terminology, techniques and procedures before moving on to more complex work. In A-level history, teachers plan activities carefully so that students first learn the basic principles of historical study, such as accessing and organising historical facts. Then they support students to use this knowledge to develop skills in comparing and critiquing different sources and presenting opinions about them.
Staff provide very effective support for the small number of students with high needs and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Teachers are familiar with students' support plans and follow them carefully, which ensures that students participate fully in the planned curriculum. Students with high needs make expected or better progress and successfully progress to higher education or higher-level apprenticeships in line with their peers.
Subject specialist teachers expertly use a wide range of successful teaching strategies in their lessons. They use clear descriptions and break subjects into small steps so that students are secure in their understanding before moving on to more complex concepts. As a result, students make very good progress in acquiring, consolidating and applying the knowledge and skills that they need to achieve their curricular goals.
In A-level mathematics, students approaching the end of their first year confidently use a range of previously learned mathematical techniques, formulas and approaches to resolve velocity, time and displacement problems.
Teachers plan and use assessment very effectively. They use a range of methods to evaluate students' progress accurately, including highly effective questioning techniques, weekly quizzes, assignments and mock examinations.
In A-level chemistry, if students initially answer questions incorrectly, teachers reformulate their questions, providing appropriate guidance that leads to students reaching the correct answer. Teachers also provide students with videos that demonstrate approaches to enable them to arrive at correct responses to problems posed.
Teachers provide very helpful feedback to help improve students' work.
They work closely with students, both in groups and individually, to ensure that students have acted on the feedback that they have received and have improved their work. For example, in A-level English language, when teachers identify the need to include more detail about theoretical perspectives in examination question responses, students write additional relevant paragraphs for teachers to review and discuss.
Through a range of carefully coordinated activities and support arrangements, staff work highly effectively together to build students' confidence and resilience and help them to stay physically and mentally healthy.
Students appreciate being able to participate in mindfulness programmes in which support staff apply techniques in supporting positive mental health effectively. This has helped to improve students' mental health and reduce the need to refer students to external support services.
Leaders and managers work closely with employers to provide students with opportunities to develop their understanding of the workplace.
Students benefit from high-quality work experience, employer visits and projects organised by employers. Employers value the way that students are prepared at college for their work experience and students' very positive and mature attitudes when in the workplace or when completing projects.
Leaders and managers have very close and effective links with external stakeholders, including schools, the local university, members of parliament, and the local council.
Through these links, leaders set up highly effective transition arrangements from schools to the college, as well as opportunities for students to gain an understanding of university life and to experience the world of work. For example, students visit the Houses of Parliament to meet with local members of parliament and to gain experience in politics and governance.
Staff prepare students well for life after Greenhead College.
They skilfully raise students' awareness of the many opportunities available to them through a structured and comprehensive careers programme. In their tutorials, students learn about university life, student finance and clearance procedures. Students who are not sure what they want to do after college life receive very effective support from staff to consider their options.
Students from a wide range of backgrounds receive helpful and tailored support to realise their full potential through the 'Believe and Achieve' programme. This programme provides students and their parents and carers with information and support to help them realise that university is a realistic option, including securing a place at the most prestigious universities when students have the talent and capability.
Leaders and managers support staff very well with their workloads and well-being.
They provide staff with time to complete actions in their performance plans and do not overload staff with tasks at busy times in the academic year. Managers discuss staff's well-being as part of the performance management process and put in place support where needed. Staff enjoy working at the college and value highly being part of the college community.
Leaders and managers provide highly effective training that helps teachers to improve their teaching skills. Following students' return to college after the COVID-19 restrictions, leaders and managers identified that students could not recall their earlier learning as well as they needed to. They introduced staff training that included methods of retrieval based on recent research that teachers now use in their teaching.
As a result, students' long-term memory and retrieval of specific knowledge have improved.
Governance is very strong. Governors are highly experienced and come from a wide range of disciplines, including universities, the civil service, human resources and senior education positions.
They have a deep knowledge of the college and how it functions, and they work closely with staff and students. Governors hold senior leaders to account successfully in making improvements and maintaining the high standards set at the college.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders and managers have very well-established policies and procedures that they use effectively to keep students safe. They follow their procedures closely and comprehensively to ensure any safeguarding concerns are dealt with effectively.The designated safeguarding lead and all deputies are appropriately trained and experienced in their roles.
They receive frequent safeguarding updates from Kirklees Council, West Yorkshire Police and the regional 'Prevent' coordinator. They use these updates effectively to keep staff updated on local risks, including female genital mutilation, child sexual exploitation, county lines and radicalisation.
Leaders and managers ensure that staff are suitable to work with young people.
Staff benefit from frequent safeguarding training provided by the local authority and 'Prevent' duty training provided by the designated safeguarding lead, who is appropriately trained.
Students have a very well-developed understanding of the risks of sexual harm, peer-on-peer abuse and consensual relationships. Staff work sensitively with students to identify any challenges that they face in their lives.
They use this understanding to inform the training that they provide. Students know what is and is not acceptable. They are confident that if any instances of sexual harassment are highlighted, they will be dealt with quickly by college staff.
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