The Northern School of Art

Name The Northern School of Art
Ofsted Inspection Rating Outstanding
Inspection Date 02 June 2009
Address Green Lane, Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, TS5 7RJ
Phone Number 01642288000
Type General Further Education and Tertiary
Age Range 16-99
Religious Character Does not apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Local Authority Middlesbrough
Catchment Area Information Available No
Last Distance Offered Information Available No

Description of the provider

1. Cleveland College of Art and Design is the only provider of specialist art and design provision in the North East of England and is one of only four such colleges nationally. The college offers both further education (FE) and higher education (HE). FE provision is delivered at two of the three college sites; Green Lane and Burlam Road in Middlesbrough. The majority of HE provision is based at the other site in Hartlepool. 2. Most students enrolled at the college come from the five local authorities in the Tees Valley; Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington and Redcar and Cleveland. Middlesbrough is the ninth most deprived community out of 354 districts in England. Hartlepool is 23rd, Redcar and Cleveland 50th, Darlington 95th and Stockton-on-Tees 98th. Unemployment in the area is higher than the national average. In 2008, the proportion of pupils achieving five or more GCSE A* to C grades, including English and mathematics, was lower than the national average in four of the five local authorities in the Tees Valley. 3. The college provides specialist art and design courses from level 1 to undergraduate degree. The majority of FE programmes are at level 3. Skills for Life courses are provided for students enrolled on full-time courses. The college is taking the lead in introducing the Creative and Media Diploma being offered from September 2009. 4. In 2007/08, the college enrolled 838 full-time FE students of whom 746 were aged 16 to 18 and 92 aged over 19. More students are female than male. The proportion of FE students from minority ethnic groups at 2.7% is around that of the local area. 5. The college’s mission is ‘to provide specialist further and higher education programmes in art and design and related areas as a centre for creative excellence’.

Main findings

Achievement and standards Outstanding: Grade 1 10. Inspectors agree with the college’s self-assessment that achievement and standards are outstanding. Success rates are very high on the majority of courses. For students aged 16 to 18 success rates have been well above the national average for the last three years. For the small number of adult students, who follow mostly level 3 courses, success rates are also high. Pass rates have been very high since the last inspection. For the last three years all completing students on the introductory, first and national diploma courses, the majority of the college’s provision, have achieved their qualifications. Retention has remained constant over the last three years at rates that are above the national average. Successful strategies to improve retention have been implemented over the last two years and in the current year, rates have improved at all levels to well above the national average. However, there is some variation between courses and on a small minority the rate is lower than the college’s high average. Attendance has improved and is good. 11. Students make exceptional progress at the college. Around half of the college’s students come from disadvantaged backgrounds with low levels of prior educational achievement. Their value-added is excellent. On vocational qualifications a significant proportion of students achieve high grades. Many also achieve additional General Certificate of Education (GCE) AS and A-level qualifications. Successful strategies have been implemented to improve students’ literacy and numeracy. Key skills success rates are high. Progression to HE is very high. 12. The standard of work produced by the majority of students is very high. They develop relevant industrial skills in fashion, graphics and photography and high level practical skills in three-dimensional design. Students present their work professionally. Many are successful in local and national competitions which develop well their employability skills and raise their aspirations and self-esteem. Their personal development is excellent. Students speak very positively about their achievements and enjoy their time at college. They acquire safe working practices and make a very good contribution to the wider community. Quality of provision Outstanding: Grade 1 13. The quality of provision is outstanding which agrees with the college’s self-assessment. Teaching and learning are outstanding. The vast majority of teachers are practising artists and they use this experience very effectively to bring lessons alive, inspire students and to prepare them well for a future career in the creative industries. Information and communication technology (ICT) is used very well to support learning. The college’s lesson observation system is very robust and judgements made about teaching are accurate. The outcomes of observations are used well to highlight and share best practise and to inform staff development.