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Loreto College is a large, Catholic sixth form college situated in Hulme, Manchester.
Students who attend the college come mainly from the Greater Manchester and Derbyshire areas.
At the time of the inspection, 3,591 students aged 16 to 19 were following a full-time study programme. Most students study A levels across 34 subjects.
Approximately a quarter of students study a mix of A level and vocational qualifications. A small proportion of students study a vocational programme at level 2 or 3. Thirty-seven students with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) study on the pathways to independence programme.
What is it like to be a learner w...ith this provider?
Students' behaviour is exemplary. This creates a calm and caring environment. They are respectful of their teachers and their peers.
Attendance is very high, and students attend their lessons promptly.
Students benefit from an inclusive learning environment that celebrates their individual contributions to the college. Staff provide exceptional support for students with SEND and high needs.
They provide support swiftly, which enables students on the pathways to independence programme to develop their confidence and resilience. For example, students with SEND develop their confidence and independence effectively, supporting each other to move to other lessons without prompts from staff members.
Students have a very good understanding of life in modern Britain, allied to the Loreto values of justice, truth, excellence, sincerity, joy, freedom and internationality.
Students are committed to their learning and becoming responsible citizens who are committed to making a better world.
Students make strong connections between their learning and the wider world. For example, in A-level classical civilisation, students consider the representation of same-sex relationships when exploring personal identity and relationships in classical civilisations.
Students frequently participate in innovative volunteering and extra-curricular activities. For example, students are involved in the physics ambassador and mathematics outreach programmes. This enables students to develop skills such as resilience, communication and empathy while supporting children in local primary and secondary schools to develop numeracy and science skills.
Students further develop links with the local community as they make food parcels for those most in need.
Students feel safe in college. Leaders implement a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of bullying and harassment.
Students know how to report any concerns they have. Parents of students with SEND feel their child is safe and happy. Students studying applied science articulate the importance of health and safety practice in the laboratory, identifying how these relate to the workplace and in industry.
Contribution to meeting skills needs
The college makes a reasonable contribution to meeting skills needs.
Leaders and managers work effectively with employers and stakeholders to understand the skills needs of the area. Each curriculum is planned and taught very effectively by teachers so that students develop the skills they need for the future.
For example, they work with local universities to ensure that the mathematics curriculum prepares students for their next steps. Students cover topics in mathematics, such as integration by substitution, early in the programme. As a result, students practise these skills to ensure fluency and to prepare them for pure mathematics components at degree level.
Leaders and managers do not involve employers or stakeholders sufficiently in the planning, design and implementation of most courses. They do not use external expertise well enough to develop education programmes tailored to local, regional and national skills needs. Leaders and managers do not involve employers sufficiently in the design of the curriculum for supported internships.
What does the provider do well and what does it need to do better?
Leaders and managers are highly effective. Senior leaders and governors are extremely ambitious for their students. A culture of continuous improvement suffuses the college at all levels.
Senior leaders accurately identify good practice and quickly resolve any areas requiring improvement. Leaders and managers are committed to providing a high-quality education across all groups of students. Consequently, students who study at Loreto do exceptionally well.
Leaders have developed ambitious curriculums for all students, including those with high needs and SEND. For example, in A-level mathematics, leaders have redesigned the curriculum to cover modelling. This ensures that students can create a mathematical representation of a real-world scenario to make a prediction or provide insight.
This prepares students well for progression to a wide range of university courses, such as biology and social sciences. Students with SEND achieve and exceed the targets, goals and aspirations in their education, health and care plans.
Teachers plan the curriculum in a logical order.
Teachers build skilfully on and consolidate earlier learning. For example, in A-level history, teaching of British history and the Cold War run concurrently, enabling students to make connections between themes, such as social reform, politics, and the socio-economic factors that influence historical events. The programme for students with SEND is planned carefully and incrementally to enable students to develop independence and advocacy skills, which enables them to become confident young people who can contribute to society very successfully.
Teachers use a range of highly effective strategies and assessments to check and reinforce students' learning. They question students skilfully and use frequent tests, quizzes and homework tasks to recap previous knowledge and check understanding of new topics. Teachers use this information adeptly to plan subsequent teaching and provide extra help when required.
Most teachers provide detailed and constructive feedback to students following assessment. Most students know what they have done well and what they need to do to improve. Students act on feedback and, as a result, continually improve the quality of their work.
However, a few teachers in A-level history and level 2 travel and tourism do not always provide feedback to students that is sufficiently personalised. Consequently, a few students do not always know what they need to do to improve, and they therefore repeat the same errors in their written work.
Students benefit from relevant and high-quality careers advice and guidance from their personal tutors and college careers advisors.
They attend career fairs and benefit from guest speakers and talks from college alumni. For example, students learn about careers in software engineering and architecture from guest speakers. Students with SEND benefit from a comprehensive and aspirational but realistic careers programme that is integral to their curriculum.
Students make informed decisions about their next steps.
Leaders place a very high priority on staff mental health and well-being, including workload. For example, staff can access counselling services, chaplaincy support, and the employee assistance programme, including physiotherapy, financial advice and mental health support.
Staff are compensated for attendance at events such as college open days and taster days.
Governors have a highly accurate understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the college and courses, training and qualifications that the college offers. They set clear and precise targets for leaders and managers to help students achieve their full potential and become well-rounded and productive citizens.
Governors are passionate and committed to continuously improve the quality of education.
The arrangements for safeguarding are effective.
Leaders and managers have the utmost regard for safeguarding.
They promote a culture of vigilance and support. Staff teach a personal development curriculum through tutorial sessions, religious education and student assemblies. Students learn about, for example, the involuntary celibate (incel), the threats of extremism and radicalisation, child criminal exploitation, youth violence, domestic violence and sexual harassment, sexual violence and consent.
This widens students' knowledge of keeping themselves safe and supports them to develop a set of morals based on the values and ethos of Mary Ward, the founder of Loreto College.
The designated safeguarding lead (DSL) and their 15 deputies are very well trained and experienced to carry out their roles effectively. The DSL and safeguarding team use appropriate procedures to refer, record, take action and follow up safeguarding issues, using the college's bespoke safeguarding system, 'MyLoreto'.
Staff and governors benefit from annual training on safeguarding and 'Prevent' duty. Staff know how to report safeguarding concerns. Managers carry out appropriate staff checks during the recruitment process.
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