Woking College


Name Woking College
Website http://www.woking.ac.uk
Ofsted Inspection Rating Good
Inspection Date 22 November 2010
Address Rydens Way, Woking, Surrey, GU22 9DL
Phone Number 01483761036
Type Academy
Age Range 16-19
Religious Character Does Not Apply
Gender Mixed
Number of Pupils Unknown
Local Authority Surrey

Information about the provider

1. Woking College is a small sixth form college serving the Borough of Woking and surrounding areas of Surrey. It also provides community education for learners who are speakers of languages other than English. Woking College is the only college in the borough although two sixth form colleges, two school sixth forms and two general further education colleges are located within 15 miles. Unemployment in Surrey in 2009/10 was 4.8%, compared with 7.9% nationally, although Woking includes an area of relative deprivation from which the college draws a significant proportion of students. 2. The college offers courses in 12 of the 15 subject areas, funded mostly by the Young Peoples’ Learning Agency. The largest subject areas in the college are: science and mathematics; visual and performing arts and media; languages; preparation for life and work; and, business, administration and law. The college has recently begun a diploma programme for a small number of students aged 14 to 16. 3. The proportion of students at the college from minority ethnic groups is around 28%, compared with around 9% in Woking and 16% in the borough. The largest group represented is of students of Asian Pakistani heritage. Educational attainment in the local authority in 2008/09 was above the national average with 59% of pupils gaining 5 or more A* to C grades including mathematics and English at GCSE. The college’s mission is ‘to enable students to succeed by providing high quality learning and teaching with effective support that meets students’ individual needs and interests’. Type of provision Number of enrolled learners in 2009/10 Provision for young learners: Further education (16 to 18) 911 full-time learners 23 part-time learners Provision for adult learners: Further education (19+) 26 full-time learners 380 part-time learners Summary report Grades: 1 is outstanding; 2 is good; 3 is satisfactory; 4 is inadequate Overall effectiveness of provision Grade 2 Capacity to improve Grade 2 Grade Outcomes for learners 2 Quality of provision 2 Leadership and management 2 Safeguarding Equality and diversity 2 2 Subject Areas Science and mathematics 2 Performing arts 1 Overall effectiveness 4. Woking is a good college and shows good capacity to improve further. Students achieve good outcomes overall and enjoy their learning, although in a very small minority of courses achievements are poor. The standard of students’ work is good. Most students make good progress on their courses and a high proportion progress to higher education or employment. Attendance is high and students highlight the atmosphere of mutual respect with all staff. Students feel very safe, reflecting the excellent promotion of health and safety and the college’s good arrangements for safeguarding students. 5. Teaching and learning are good. The majority of lessons offer students a wide range of activities which challenge and motivate them. Well-qualified and experienced teachers plan and teach lessons well and students make good progress. However, in a few instances, lessons are uninteresting and teachers pay insufficient attention to motivating and challenging students. Students benefit from a wide range of courses and enrichment activities in most subject areas, and the college works well with partners to provide this. However, many students do not yet have an opportunity to undertake relevant work experience. Care, guidance and support for students are outstanding. Initial advice and guidance, diagnostic assessment, and subsequent pastoral and additional learning support are of particularly high quality. 6. The college is well led and managed. Quality assurance arrangements are sound, and its self-assessment of its own strengths and weaknesses is accurate. The college is particularly good at gathering and acting on students’ views to continuously improve their experience at the college, although governors do not receive reports of the very few complaints. Equality of opportunity is well integrated into college life and many, but not all, teachers promote this and cultural diversity well in lessons. The college provides good value for money. Main findings Outcomes are good and have improved for students at all levels in 2009/10 and since the last inspection. Success rates have improved in almost all subject areas. Students’ standards of work are good. Students make good progress in lessons and develop good skills for their future economic well-being. Students make good progress compared with their starting points in most subject areas, although in a minority of courses the grades that students achieve are still lower than expected from their prior attainment. Attendance at lessons has improved and is now high. Retention rates for students have increased and are also high. Students enjoy coming to college. Working relationships between staff and students are good. The college’s promotion of an awareness of health and safety amongst students is excellent. Students feel very safe and understand the importance of adopting safe working practices and healthy lifestyles. Many students take advantage of the wide variety of opportunities in sports. Teaching and learning are good. Most lessons are well planned and provide a good variety of activities. Students gain good knowledge and skills, and enjoy their work. Standards of written work are good or better in most subject areas. In the fewer less effective lessons, teachers dominate and provide insufficient challenge to students. A minority of lessons do not develop fully the skills of the more able students. The college’s lesson observation scheme is thorough and accurate. Judgements on the quality of lessons are moderated appropriately and actions for improvement from lessons are generally tackled well. However, progress against actions arising from observations of good or better lessons is not monitored sufficiently. The college’s response to meeting the needs and interests of learners is good. It offers a broad range of GCE AS- and A-level subjects and an increasing number of vocational qualifications at intermediate and advanced levels. Good opportunities for adults, particularly to meet their literacy and numeracy needs, are offered in a variety of community locations which enhance access and participation. The college works effectively with a wide range of partners to enhance opportunity, participation, aspiration and achievement for its own students and for the wider community. However, despite good progress being made since the last inspection, insufficient links with employers mean that not all students benefit from work experience opportunities. Care, guidance and support are outstanding. Very effective advice ensures that students choose programmes which provide good progression routes. Initial assessment provides timely and incisive identification of learning support needs, which are addressed promptly and very effectively. Students value highly the excellent academic and pastoral support they receive from their teachers and tutors. Senior managers and governors promote clear values and objectives which inform the work of the college and reflect an ethos of aspiration for learners, many of whom start with below average qualifications for their courses. Promotion of equality and diversity is good. Promotion of these themes within lessons has increased, although opportunities to do this are often missed. Students feel that the college is a safe environment where everyone is treated with respect. The college ensures that students are safe and that young people and vulnerable adults are protected. The college provides good opportunities for students, parents and carers and partner organisations to contribute their views. The college listens carefully and has made a number of changes in response to the views expressed. The college assures the quality of its courses well, and this has led to improvements in students’ achievements. The college’s self-assessment process is central to its management of provision and provides a good basis for further actions. However, quality assurance processes are not yet implemented to a consistently high standard in all departments.

Main findings

Outcomes are good and have improved for students at all levels in 2009/10 and since the last inspection. Success rates have improved in almost all subject areas. Students’ standards of work are good. Students make good progress in lessons and develop good skills for their future economic well-being. Students make good progress compared with their starting points in most subject areas, although in a minority of courses the grades that students achieve are still lower than expected from their prior attainment. Attendance at lessons has improved and is now high. Retention rates for students have increased and are also high. Students enjoy coming to college. Working relationships between staff and students are good. The college’s promotion of an awareness of health and safety amongst students is excellent. Students feel very safe and understand the importance of adopting safe working practices and healthy lifestyles. Many students take advantage of the wide variety of opportunities in sports. Teaching and learning are good. Most lessons are well planned and provide a good variety of activities. Students gain good knowledge and skills, and enjoy their work. Standards of written work are good or better in most subject areas. In the fewer less effective lessons, teachers dominate and provide insufficient challenge to students. A minority of lessons do not develop fully the skills of the more able students. The college’s lesson observation scheme is thorough and accurate. Judgements on the quality of lessons are moderated appropriately and actions for improvement from lessons are generally tackled well. However, progress against actions arising from observations of good or better lessons is not monitored sufficiently. The college’s response to meeting the needs and interests of learners is good. It offers a broad range of GCE AS- and A-level subjects and an increasing number of vocational qualifications at intermediate and advanced levels. Good opportunities for adults, particularly to meet their literacy and numeracy needs, are offered in a variety of community locations which enhance access and participation. The college works effectively with a wide range of partners to enhance opportunity, participation, aspiration and achievement for its own students and for the wider community. However, despite good progress being made since the last inspection, insufficient links with employers mean that not all students benefit from work experience opportunities. Care, guidance and support are outstanding. Very effective advice ensures that students choose programmes which provide good progression routes. Initial assessment provides timely and incisive identification of learning support needs, which are addressed promptly and very effectively. Students value highly the excellent academic and pastoral support they receive from their teachers and tutors. Senior managers and governors promote clear values and objectives which inform the work of the college and reflect an ethos of aspiration for learners, many of whom start with below average qualifications for their courses. Promotion of equality and diversity is good. Promotion of these themes within lessons has increased, although opportunities to do this are often missed. Students feel that the college is a safe environment where everyone is treated with respect. The college ensures that students are safe and that young people and vulnerable adults are protected. The college provides good opportunities for students, parents and carers and partner organisations to contribute their views. The college listens carefully and has made a number of changes in response to the views expressed. The college assures the quality of its courses well, and this has led to improvements in students’ achievements. The college’s self-assessment process is central to its management of provision and provides a good basis for further actions. However, quality assurance processes are not yet implemented to a consistently high standard in all departments.