The last report classified the college as “Outstanding” but the latest report has placed the college in the “Requires Improvement” category.
The findings of the report may well go hand-in-hand with the recent education commission which uncovered that only 1% of all Thurrock students gain three A levels at AAB (the standard required to enter the top 25 universities in GB). The national average is 8%.
Among the criticisms are:
1. The proportion of students who achieve their qualification is around the national rate but too much variation exists between different subjects and different groups of students. On AS-level and advanced vocational courses, not enough students pass their courses.
2. While students make good progress on many vocational courses, those studying academic courses do not make enough progress and too few are achieving high grades.
3. Standards of teaching, learning and assessment vary too much and not enough is consistently good or better.
4. College processes to improve the quality of teaching and learning through the performance management of teachers are insufficiently robust and as a result, have been ineffective.
5. Not all students are developing their use of English and mathematics, as well as they could do.
6. Leaders and managers have not maintained the college’s previously outstanding standards and actions taken to improve have met with mixed success. While the pace of change has increased notably over the past year, and positive signs of improvement are emerging, it is too early to assess the impact of many initiatives.
7. The governing body has not questioned senior leaders sufficiently about the reasons for the overall decline in the college’s educational performance in the past few years.
The report makes the following “positive” observations
1. A high and improving proportion of students on A-level and intermediate level programmes achieve their qualifications.
2. Students gain a good range of personal and social skills that prepare them well for future employment or their next steps in education.
3. Students enjoy college and their behaviour throughout all areas of the college is very good.
YT will be giving Palmer’s College a right of reply in due course.