It may be 11 years since Ofsted last showed up at Cambridge’s Hills Road Sixth Form College to carry out a full inspection, but principal Jo Trump is not anxiously waiting for the phone to ring.
“We’re confident about the quality education we continue to provide for our students, despite the huge financial challenges all sixth-form colleges are facing,” she says.
“If Ofsted would like to come and see what we’ve been doing, as they did in 2016 as part of their project looking at the implementation of 16-19 study programmes, we’d be happy to share our progress with them, but, equally, we are not weekly expecting a phone call.”
But just because the college has been rated “outstanding” doesn’t mean the pressure is off, Trump adds.
“We have never thought we were perfect or that the job is finished. To help us, we belong to two different sixth-form college peer-review groups who provide support and challenge for one another, benchmarking results and practice and scrutinising one another’s progress in a reciprocal and constructive way.
“There’s so much that we’re interested in getting better at that it’s hard to find the time to fit complacency in.”