Young people at Bolton's only standalone sixth form college are 'ambitious and have clear aspirations for their future', an inspection found.

The Sixth Form Bolton was visited by Ofsted inspectors who said achievement rates were higher than the national average.

All areas of The Sixth Form Bolton college were marked as  ‘good’, including in education, leadership and management, and provision for learners with high needs.

Inspectors said that students were “positive about their learning and what college life offers them”.

The report continued: “They are ambitious and have clear aspirations for their future.

The Bolton News: The Sixth Form Bolton Learner Voice GroupThe Sixth Form Bolton Learner Voice Group (Image: The Sixth Form Bolton)

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“They understand the importance of their studies in helping them to progress to the next stage of their lives.

"Most students enjoy their courses and learn to expect challenge as an integral part of learning.

“Teachers create learning environments where errors and misconceptions are openly discussed.”

The report revealed that most students at the college who complete their courses go on to further education at university, and many of them are proud to be the first in their families.

Another aspect highlighted was the guidance and support received for mental health, and how safe and supported they fell.

The report said: “They particularly value the guidance they receive about maintaining their positive mental health.

“They access support from student ‘be kind’ ambassadors, mental health first aiders and trained counsellors, and can gain immediate support via a well-being hub that students have fondly named ‘The Cocoon’.

“This helps students to make progress towards their goals.”

Although the report found that “most teachers plan and sequence their curriculums well”, inspectors found that teachers did not consider the sequencing of the curriculums “carefully enough” on a “small minority of A-level courses”.

At this college students achieve well on most courses and their results are above national rate.

The report added: “Those students who need to resit examinations in GCSE English and mathematics make sustained progress in improving their skills and increasing their grades.

“However, leaders are aware that not enough students gain high grades in A-level courses or make the progress of which they are capable.

“Most students attend their lessons regularly; however, attendance is too low on a few courses.”

Stuart Merrills, principal at The Sixth Form Bolton said: “I would like to thank the staff and students at The Sixth Form Bolton for all their hard work and efforts and the constructive impressions they made on our external guests.

“The students in particular represented their college with pride and enthusiasm and staff effectively demonstrated the wide range of strategies employed to help develop our students’ academic and wider personal and employability skills that enable students to progress.

“It is important though, to realise that Ofsted observe a snapshot of college life over a relatively short time period, but it is the sustained effort, quality, attitudes and ambitions of everyone in the organisation that lead to our year on year sustained positive outcomes.”

Sandra McManus, deputy principal – curriculum, at The Sixth Form Bolton added: “Our Ofsted report showcases the incredible nature of The Sixth Form which has the individual at the heart of all that it delivers.

“This means that individual ambitions and ways of learning are supported and that all students unlock their personal potential and are fully prepared for their next steps.

“We are very proud of our learners and how they embrace everything that is on offer, in order that they join the workforce post-18 or post-degree with a raft of academic and highly developed employability skills.”

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