St Mary’s College has received an Ofsted report that says the governors, leaders, managers and staff have created an ‘aspirational culture’ that inspires students to achieve

A glowing report and a ‘good’ ranking by Ofsted inspectors in all areas of its provision, has delighted students and staff at St Mary’s College.

The ‘good’ rankings are for the college’s effectiveness in leadership and management, it’s inspirational study programmes, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment and the outcomes for students, including student behaviour and welfare.

The Ofsted report published this month, states in a highly positive summary: “Governors, leaders, managers and staff have created an aspirational culture where staff and students work together. They provide a high-quality education which supports students to fulfil their potential.”

With regards to student outcomes the reports states: “The proportion of students who achieve their qualifications is high, particularly on Level 3 vocational and A-level courses.”

The report adds: “Students develop the knowledge and technical skills they need for further study. Consequently, the vast majority progress to further study or higher education, often to prestigious universities.”

The Ofsted inspection also noted that students at the Catholic sixth-form college have a positive attitude to learning: “They take pride in their work. They are well motivated and develop the confidence and skills they need to work independently, particularly when they progress to higher education.”

Located in Blackburn, St Mary’s College attracts a high-achieving student cohort providing 16 to 19 study, mainly through level three programmes. Of these, around half are A-level and half are vocational subjects.

“Students produce work of a good standard and meet or exceed the requirements of their programme,” says the report.

Assessing the governors and staff at the college, the Ofsted inspector notes that leaders and governors have developed an ambitious, strategic vision for the college.

“They ensure that courses meet the needs of local students.”

The report adds: “Staff and students work together with respect. Teachers effectively use questioning techniques, frequent assessment of progress and detailed feedback to ensure students make good progress. Students enjoy their learning and work hard in lessons.”

The report praises the college’s ‘sharing’ culture among staff. “Teachers who are the sole teacher in a subject benefit from links with other teachers in a partner college to develop teaching resources and to share good practice.”

Commenting on the Ofsted report, St Mary’s Principal Jenny Singleton said: “All of the staff at St Mary’s are passionate about teaching and learning and I am delighted that Ofsted has recognised the huge strides that have been made in terms of driving up standards and creating a positive, inclusive and happy learning environment.”

Vice Principal Elissa Best concluded: “This new report means that St Mary’s College is now the best standalone sixth form college in Blackburn in terms of Ofsted grading. We all feel very proud of our students and staff, we look forward to working together towards becoming an ‘outstanding’ college.”

St Mary’s College offers a wide range of courses across A Levels and BTEC courses. There are still places available on some courses for September 2019 start. For more information please contact admissions by phone 01254 586950 or via email:

St Mary’s College
Shear Brow, Blackburn BB1 8DX



Tedd Walmsley

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