The most recent Ofsted Inspection of The Oakes College Cambridge at Netherhall, took place in October 2018. The College was judged as Good in all areas. The key findings of the report are as follows:
- Leadership of the sixth form is effective and leaders share the same high aspirations for students as seen elsewhere in the school.
- In recent years, published outcomes information shows that students make progress in the sixth form in line with national averages, in both academic and vocational courses. This includes students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Leaders recognise the programme’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Teaching is typically strong in the sixth form. Teachers know what students are capable of achieving and plan suitably demanding learning activities that develop students’ knowledge, understanding and skills well. One sixth former said that teachers are good at judging when to take a step back if needed, so that students can explore independently.
- Inspectors saw a number of lessons, such as in sociology, English and history, where probing questioning, careful planning, well-managed discussions and high expectations enabled students to make rapid gains in their learning. Students respond well to mutually respectful relationships.
- Students like the small class sizes, as teachers are able to tailor content closely to their needs. They also appreciate the one-to-one conversations they have with their tutors, as they feel supported to get the work–life balance right.
- The pastoral support, care and advice on offer is rated highly by students. The newly introduced health programme with the focus on mindfulness is particularly appreciated.
- Leaders ensure that the curriculum offered in the sixth form includes an appropriate mix of academic and vocational courses that meet the students’ needs well. Particularly striking is also the range of opportunities to enrich students’ experiences. For example, one student spoke of how she had benefited from learning Makaton sign language. This helped to inform her choice of university to learn speech and language therapy.
- The proportion of students who proceed to education, employment or training after learning is above average. This is testament to the success of all the sixth-form staff’s and students’ hard work. It also reflects the above-average success rate for students who retake GCSEs in English or mathematics. Almost all students secure their first choice university after leaving the sixth form.
The full report can be found on the Ofsted website.