College’s ‘positive learning environment’ is praised

INSPECTORS have praised the “positive learning environment” and inclusiveness of St Brendan’s Sixth Form College.

A team of eight inspectors from the education regulator visited the college over four days in March.

Their report, published at the end of May, found the Catholic college in Brislington, which takes students of all faiths and none from across the city,  to be good in all areas: quality of education; behaviour and attitudes; personal development; leadership and management; education programmes and provision for students with high needs.

The inspectors said: “Students enjoy their lessons because teachers have created a positive learning environment.

“Teachers value students’ contributions to class discussions and encourage full participation in learning activities. As a result, students become more confident and proud of their learning over time.

“Teachers set high expectations for completion of work and for meeting deadlines. When students fall behind, they are supported appropriately to improve their attitudes towards learning.”

Ofsted said most students experienced “high-quality lessons”, produced work of a consistently good quality and learned from curriculums that enabled them to “move on to their chosen destinations”.

The inspectors said: “Students enjoy the non-judgemental, inclusive atmosphere at the college, where they feel that they can be themselves and are respected as individuals.

“Students from a wide diversity of backgrounds, including those of various faiths, those with special educational needs or disabilities and students from the LGBTQ+ community, feel welcomed and valued at the college.”

However the report said the college needed to improve opportunities for work experience and teaching students how to use the skills they learn in the workplace, involve more employers in developing the curriculum, and improve students’ understanding of the dangers of radicalisation and extremism locally.

St Brendan’s has around 1,800 students aged from 16 to 18 studying A-levels or equivalent vocational qualifications. 

Principal Marian Curran said: “We are delighted that Ofsted have highlighted the strong learning culture that exists at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College.

“We are a highly inclusive college, where individuality and the education of the whole person is nurtured. 

“I am pleased that the inspectors have not only recognised our academic standards, but also the high level of support that our students receive and our culture of safeguarding.

“A huge thank you to all our staff who relentlessly support students academically and pastorally to be the best that they can be.  A huge thank you to our students who are a credit to our college community, and finally to our parents and carers for their support.

” This Ofsted report is testament to the hard work of our staff and the resilience of our students”.