Inspection Summary

OFSTED Inspection October 2007

The college was subject to an OFSTED inspection in the second
week of October 2007. OFSTED grades colleges using four grades
aligned with the following descriptions:

Grade 1 - Outstanding
Grade 2 - Good
Grade 3 - Satisfactory
Grade 4 - Inadequate

The grades awarded to St. Charles College were as follows:

Effectiveness of provision Outstanding : Grade 1
Quality of provision Outstanding : Grade 1
Leadership and management Outstanding : Grade 1
Achievement and standards Good : Grade 2
Capacity to improve Outstanding : Grade 1
Equality of Opportunity Outstanding : Grade 1

OFSTED summarised our key strengths as follows:


  •  higher grades on Level 3 courses than would be expected given students’ prior attainment
  •  high pass and retention rates on most courses
  •  good teaching that very effectively takes into account students’ diverse backgrounds
  •  a good range of academic and vocational provision
  •  an exceptionally inclusive environment that successfully encourages students to have high aspirations
  •  a vibrant Catholic ethos, with a tangible sense of community
  •  excellent pastoral support
  •  outstanding leadership, management and governance
  •  rigorous quality assurance to maintain high standards within a challenging context.

Effectiveness of provision

“Overall effectiveness is outstanding, St Charles is a truly inclusive college and students achieve well regardless of their starting point or background. With its distinct Catholic ethos, the college supports students in their moral and spiritual development as well as academic achievement”

“Progression from levels 1 and 2 on to advanced courses, and then from level 3 to higher education, is high”

Achievement and standards

“Achievement and standards are good.  Students on level 3 courses make very good progress and attain grades that are above those predicted. For the last three years, success rates at this level have remained above the national average, when compared to similar types of sixth form colleges.”

“Attendance and retention are both good.  Students take pride in their work and in lessons they make effective and fluent contributions. In keeping with the Catholic ethos, students are polite and well-behaved. The religious education programme successfully contributes to students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, providing them with opportunities to explore issues relating to their faith.”

Quality of provision

“The quality of teaching and learning is good.”

“Teachers’ encourage high aspiriations and students are strongly motivated to achieve.
Lessons are well structured with a clear emphasis on ensuring that all students make progress.”

“Assessment is thorough. In lessons, teachers check understanding regularly. Students’ work is
marked promptly and their progress is carefully monitored.”

“The diverse curriculum supports the college’s commitment to inclusion, very effectively meets
the needs and interests of students and provides choice and progression opportunities.”

“Enrichment opportunities for learners are outstanding and take-up is very good.”

“In addition to sports, music and art, the college has developed a broad range of activities that
respond to local circumstances and enhance students’ sense of responsibility and commitment
to the wider community. These include work withcharities and disadvantaged groups.”

“Students are extremely well cared for and supported. This aspect of the college’s work is
critical in enabling many students to remain at the college, achieve their qualifications, gain
confidence and progress on to further study."

“Whatever their background or religion, students feel safe and very much part of a close
and supportive community.”

Leadership and Management

“Leadership and management are outstanding. The Principal sets a clear
direction and, with the support of staff and governors, is highly effective in helping all
students to achieve as well as they can. The senior leadership team ensures the
college retains its strong Catholic identity.”

“Equality of opportunity is embedded into the culture of the college and respect and
tolerance are integral to the ethos.”

“Resources for learning are good. All teachers have teaching qualifications and, for those
teaching vocational subjects, relevant commercial experience. Staff benefit from good
professional development. Classrooms are well-equipped with specialist resources.”

Areas for improvement

  •  weak aspects of the mathematics provision
  •  the low proportion of high pass rates at GCSE
  •  the limited access to some parts of the accommodation for those with restricted mobility

Response to areas for improvement

  • Results in Mathematics A level in 2007 were at national averages, but we do have  new resources and staffing to secure further improvement at AS and GCSE level this year.
  • GCSE pass rates were at 49% A-C last year, and are taken by students who have previously achieved at D grade or below. We have improvement plans in place for three subject areas to address under-performance.
  • The College’s accommodation strategy includes the construction of a new gym and IT suitewhich will improve access in that area, and installation of lifts elsewhere.

Inspection History

St Charles College has a proven record of achieving strong inspection reports since its establishment in 1990. It was first assessed by the FEFC inspection team in 1994 and again in 1998. The strength of both these reports resulted in the College being identified as one of the first four beacon sixth form colleges in the country in 1999.

Beacon status was renewed in February 2004 following another outstanding inspection report conducted by OFSTED in 2002. Beacon colleges carry responsibility for spreading good practice and in the last few years the College has contributed to the creation of training resources for teachers in other schools and colleges, as well as publishing material on good educational practice and holding conferences for colleagues in other London schools.

The most recent full inspection of the College took place in October 2007 when we were designated as “outstanding” by OFSTED, and the following grades were awarded:

Overall effectiveness:                 Outstanding: grade 1
Quality of provision:                   Outstanding: grade 1
Leadership and management:    Outstanding: grade 1
Achievement and standards:      Good:   grade 2
Capacity to improve:                 Outstanding: grade 1
Equality of opportunity:             Outstanding: grade 1

A summary of this most recent inspection report can be accessed from this page: the full report can be read at, in the Colleges section. 

The College has also been successfully assessed six times against the Investors In People standards, most recently in 2014. This is a government award given to organisations that can show a clear and active commitment to the continual training and development of their staff. In this way our student can continue to benefit from the expertise and energy of all who work at the College.