Hills Road sixth-form college was given top marks by the Office for Standards in Education in all its teaching subjects and for its overall leadership and management.
Key strengths included outstanding examination results, high standards of teaching and learning and its wide choice of A and AS-levels.
Colin Greenhalgh, college principal, said: "I am delighted for students, staff, governors and parents that OFSTED has recognised their achievements and commitment by producing such an excellent report.
"We feel proud that we have expanded opportunities by opening up more places and still maintained good results."
The report found that "strong leadership by the principal, the college strategy team and the corporation has enabled the college to grow and to maintain exceptionally high standards". Inspectors praised Hill Road's management of the adult and continuing education courses but found the college, which concentrates on A-levels, "has not been successful in increasing the take-up of vocational qualifications".
The 1,550-pupil college, which is consistently high in the league tables, selects its students in terms of GCSE grades - pupils can only take an A or AS-level if they have a grade B in the subject.
To study for an advanced vocational certificates of education, pupils need to have a range of C grades at GCSE.
In 2001, 54 of the college's students were accepted at Oxford and Cambridge Universities.