A UNIQUE academy offering young people a new learning route into further education and employment with training has been credited for making significant progress by Ofsted inspectors.
Leeds City College’s 14+ Apprenticeship Academy provides an alternative to the traditional school years 10 and 11 for those aged 14+, delivering a pre-apprenticeship offer linked to real employment opportunities with the emphasis on preparing young people for the world of work and/or an apprenticeship.
The Academy, based at the College’s Park Lane Campus, aims to help young people develop their skills to enable them to make a significant contribution to the growing economy in the region. Those attending study core GCSEs alongside vocational qualifications in key areas identified for future growth and employment opportunities.
The Ofsted monitoring visit, carried out in April solely on the College’s new 14-16 full-time provision offered at the academy, reviewed progress made to date since its opening in September 2013.
Inspectors reviewed the provision in regards to five specific themes, with progress noted in all key areas; providing learners with sufficient care, guidance and support, clear admissions and exclusion policies, the provision of sufficient, appropriately qualified staff to lead, teach and support learners, ensuring a sufficiently broad curriculum, covering all statutory subjects, and quality assuring and evaluating all aspects of the provision for continuous improvement.
The inspection report highlights that student support systems are strong and effective, with college staff highly committed to ensuring students have the opportunities to make the best progress they can. It notes that through the College’s effective links with parents, students have more positive attitudes to learning, acknowledging the value of academic and vocationally related skills, and with strong careers guidance, are developing clear progression routes.
A clear and comprehensive admissions policy supports the academy’s vision to aid students’ progression into apprenticeships and other work-based programmes. Access to staff, events and information ensures students and parents gain an understanding of the college, the provision and the opportunities provided by the academy during and post study.
The College is credited with establishing clear and focussed behaviour and discipline policies and procedures, with a well-defined bullying and anti-social behaviour policy. The inspectors also endorsed safeguarding procedures, with students’ able to benefit from the wide range of college support services. The report also noted the diverse enrichment programme on offer to students, from business and enterprise challenges to art lessons, outdoor pursuits and external visits to places of interest linked to courses.
Inspectors noted that “students speak very positively about their work and the progress they are making in vocational areas” and that they (“students) recognise that the College provides a supportive, inclusive and safe environment and this is evidenced through improving attendance levels.”
Leeds City College Principal Peter Roberts said: “The 14+ Apprenticeship Academy is close to completing its first full year of operation and this report celebrates the achievements we have made in that short time, and the hard work, attitude and commitment of the staff and students involved.”