Ofsted highlights excellent teaching

St John Rigby College students celebrate an "outstanding" Ofsted report
St John Rigby College students celebrate an "outstanding" Ofsted report

A Wigan college is among the best in the country after receiving top marks from education inspectors.

St John Rigby RC College one of just six sixth form colleges to be judged as “outstanding” by Ofsted.

It received the highest possible rating - an improvement on the “good” mark given five years ago – after a visit by a team of inspectors last month.

In their report, published last week, they wrote: “Teachers know their students well and are committed to ensuring that they reach their full potential.

“Teachers’ enthusiasm and passion for teaching and learning are infectious, motivating and challenge students to try their very best.

“Students are keen to learn both inside and outside the classroom.

“They develop excellent independent study and higher order thinking skills.

“As a result, most students make excellent progress, achieving, and often exceeding, their aspirational target grades.”

The college, on Gathurst Road in Orrell, was judged to be outstanding in all areas.

The report says the principal and his team had worked “relentlessly to ensure transformational change”.

Teaching was described as “excellent” and students’ achievements were “outstanding”, with most making “exceptional progress”.

Governors “rigorously hold leaders and managers to account” and the leaders’ evaluation of the college was “incisive”.

Students had access to “exceptional” careers guidance, and enrichment activities and work experience places were highlighted, with medical students spending eight weeks shadowing staff at a hospital, for example.

The report said: “Students, staff, leaders and managers work together harmoniously. Students display high levels of self-respect along with respect for teachers and peers.

“The college is fully inclusive and follows the mission: ‘Give me roots to grow and wings to fly’ and St John Rigby’s values.

“As a result, students of the Catholic faith, other faiths or no faith are confident and self-assured, have excellent attitudes towards their learning and make exceptional progress.

“Students take great pride in their work. Behaviour in classes and around the college is exemplary.”

The Ofsted report has been welcomed by staff at the college, which was recently in the top 10 colleges nationally for A-level progress in data from the Department for

Education.

College principal Peter McGhee said: “I am absolutely delighted and extremely proud of the judgement and of the comments made in the inspection report.

“This report is a testament to the commitment, passion and dedication shown by SJR staff and students each and every day to ensure that the highest standards are attained in all aspects of our work. “It is fantastic to see the acknowledgement that is given to the inclusive nature of the college, that staff are ambitious for their students and that this results in learners making excellent progress.

“At SJR we place no ceiling on achievement, our passion and enthusiasm for teaching and learning is described as infectious and enables young people to achieve or exceed their potential.”

Deputy principal Dominic Jones added: “The new style inspections are rigorous and drill into every detail of an organisation.

“Of the 116 sixth-form college inspections over the past four years, just six have resulted in the award of an ‘outstanding’ grade.

“We are, therefore, very proud that the high-quality education that we give our students has been recognised by Ofsted.

“There is no secret to being outstanding: just have superb staff, work really hard, be thoughtful and reflective in everything you do and pay attention to the details.”