Inspection report: Budmouth College, 19–20 September 2013
Inspection judgements The achievement of pupils
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Students in this college typically attain highly at GCSE level and in post-16 qualifications. Attainment is particularly high in science and in English, with most students making good or outstanding progress in other areas of the curriculum.
Unforeseeable staffing turbulence in 2012 caused a drop in attainment and progress levels in mathematics. Improvements in leadership and teaching of this department have now restored very high standards in teaching, and attainment rose in 2013. Students not attaining target grades in 2012 were encouraged to retake their mathematics GCSE in Year 12 and consequently there was a 100% success rate.
Levels of attainment and rates of progress increase rapidly as students move from Year 7 through to post-16 education, reflecting the very effective development of learning skills and attitudes to learning within the college. Achievement of sixth-form students has improved considerably since the last inspection, with a high success rate in 2013.
Budmouth College is very inclusive. Disabled students and those with special educational needs make similar progress to their peers. Those attached to the Asperger syndrome resource base make outstanding progress in learning and social development. Their progress is secured through the exceptionally calm and mature learning environment and precise identification of needs and support necessary.
The college has been very successful in closing the gaps in attainment between those known to be eligible for the pupil premium and other students. In 2012, this gap was just under one GCSE grade but narrowed in 2013. Government funding for this and for Year 7 catch-up is being used well to support students’ learning.
Students attain high levels of literacy skills, which are promoted and taught very well throughout the curriculum but especially in English lessons. Outstanding teaching to promote powerful descriptive writing and help students to understand and use symbolism, for example, secures impressive learning in this subject.
Students who attend the local further education college make very good progress. They are motivated and provision is well matched.
The local pupil referral unit has been successful in providing good-quality education to help students to return to full-time college education as soon as they can, where possible.
Early entry in some subjects, facilitated by a three-year Key Stage 4, has allowed many students to tackle more challenging courses in Year 11 and has not adversely affected levels of attainment in key subjects.
The quality of teaching
There has been a significant improvement in the quality of teaching since the last inspection. The college has systematically and consistently raised the expectations and the performance of teachers; the Teaching for Effective Learning provision is particularly effective.
Teachers are skilled in orchestrating lessons using prior achievement information to enable all students to make at least good and very often outstanding progress. Relationships between staff and students are notably respectful and positive.
To ensure that all students can learn, teachers use their strong subject knowledge to ensure that activities stimulate interest, using real-life examples where appropriate, while maintaining a calm, purposeful atmosphere. Science lessons in particular offer challenging and engaging experiences.
Assessment is typically very effective. Questioning provokes thought and development of ideas. Feedback both orally and written is focused on how to improve and students respond to this
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