Hull pass rates too low, says OFSTED

28th September 2001 at 01:00
Inspectors put pressure on Kingston upon Hull over A-level results but praise other authorities, reports Sue Learner

INSPECTORS want Kingston upon Hull to take urgent action over low pass rates at A-level and poor completion rates of college courses.

The Office for Standards in Education found that the proportion of pupils remaining in education beyond 16 in Kingston upon Hull is significantly below the national average, despite increased educational opportunities.

All A-level pass rates recorded by colleges inspected are below national rates although, in some subjects, students made good progress when their A-level results were considered alongside their earlier GCSE grades.

Achievements among work-based training providers vary widely and are often quite unsatisfactory.

The report on post-16 education and training found the majority of teaching was satisfactory and often good but not always challenging enough. Colleges offered a broad range of learning programmes and good quality careers advice.

The new Learning and Skills Council Humberside, which was set up in April this year, will have a key role in drawing up an action plan for the city.

OFSTED wants the plan for Hull to include a coherent strategy for 14-19 education and training and a reversal of the declining retention rates in colleges.

Mike Tomlinson, chief inspector of schools, said:"While this inspection report shows the areas in which Hull is doing well in post-16 education and training, it also reveals some serious weaknesses that need obvious improvement.

"Through their action plan, I hope the weaknesses will be fully and vigorously addressed so that standards improve."

In Wandsworth, inspectors found that last year, 70 per cent of 16-year-olds remained in full-time education, mirroring national figures. But only 4 per cent took part in work-based training, compared with 9 per cent nationally.

They also found most teaching in the schools and sixth-form college was good and more than one in three lessons in sixth forms was rated "outstanding".

Some of the best teaching came from young and newly-qualified teachers.

Completion rates of courses were mostly satisfactory in school sixth forms but low in colleges. Good provision was made for special needs students.

But teaching of key skills was a weakness in all sectors, and 16-19 education and training in Wandsworth lacked strategic direction and cohesive planning. OFSTED wants attention paid to significant gaps in work-based training across the borough.

It is also calling for a cohesive, co-ordinated strategy for post-16 education and training in Wandsworth.

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