Runshaw College loses 'outstanding' Ofsted rating as concerns are raised over quality of learning

A top further education college in Leyland has lost its ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted rating for the first time in 14 years.

By Aimee Seddon
Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th June 2022, 9:20 am

Runshaw College has been given an overall effectiveness rating of ‘good’ in its latest Ofsted reported released today, a downgrading from their last full inspection in 2008.

Teaching both A-level and vocational courses, at the time of the inspection, there were 4,625 students on education programmes for young people and 385 students on adult learning programmes.

Reinspected between March 7-10 this year, the college was rated ‘good’ in quality of education, leadership and management, education programmes for young people and apprenticeships, and ‘outstanding’ in behaviour and attitudes, personal development, adult learning programmes and provision for learners with high needs.

Runshaw College in Leyland has been rated 'good' in its latest Ofsted Inspection, despite being 'outstanding' for over a decade.

Whilst the inspectors noted that staff’s high expectations of learning, and focus on self-responsibility, allowed most students to quickly develop their independent learning skills, this was also where concern from inspectors came in.

The report said: "Students who struggle to understand new information and concepts on their own find this approach challenging. They are unable to make the progress expected of them. A minority of teachers do not consistently or rigorously check students' understanding of the key information that they have read independently. As a result, teachers do not always identify and rectify any misconceptions that students have unintentionally developed.

“The amount of time that trainers dedicate to apprentices to develop their knowledge, skills and behaviours is sometimes limited. Apprentices too often complete study, research and assignment work independently. As a result, hospitality apprentices do not routinely develop the advanced skills they need to achieve high grades. College managers have rightly identified the need for further improvements.”

Similary, inspectors said that in a minority of instances, teachers do not routinely check students' work meaning they do not always know what is required of them in future assessments.

In addition, the processes for monitoring apprentices' progress, and the implementation of catch-up activities, are less well developed as they are for A-Level students.

However as a whole the school was praised, particularly for its “well-thought-out and ambitious curriculum”, which is planned logically to ensure that learners know more and remember more over time.

Inspectors added: “Students and apprentices benefit from an extensive enrichment curriculum, that helps them to develop their wider knowledge and skills. A large minority of activities are subject or career-based...these activities challenge students to achieve the higher-level knowledge and skills that they need for entrance to prestigious universities”.

Students on vocational courses also “benefit from highly relevant work experience” and “the support, guidance and expertise of their workplace mentors”.

Meanwhile teachers are “highly qualified”, arrangements for safeguarding are effective, and governors have a “clear vision for the college”, monitoring underperforming courses and apprenticeships well, and supporting leaders to make improvements.

Students also “demonstrate exemplary behaviour and attitudes”, produce work of a high standard, and receive high quality career guidance.

The report added: “Leaders promote an inclusive learning environment, where students and apprentices thrive. They are extremely proud of being part of Runshaw College and what they achieve there. Students and apprentices have high aspirations for their futures. They have a mature approach to their studies and take pride in their work.”

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A Runshaw College spokesperson said: “At Runshaw College, we are delighted that Ofsted recently recognised our students’ outstanding Personal Development, Behaviour and Attitudes. We are always looking for ways to improve our students’ experience further, so we welcome the feedback that Ofsted provided. Our students are ambitious and progress to many very prestigious destinations; so we are extremely proud to be recognised by the Department for Education as in the top 2 colleges nationally for positive destinations. Our students’ many other exceptional achievements are detailed on our website here.”