15 January 2015

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has confirmed the quality and standards of provision at Ashton Sixth Form College following its review in October 2014.

A team of QAA reviewers visited Ashton Sixth Form College and judged that its academic standards, the quality and enhancement of its student learning opportunities, and the quality of information about its learning opportunities all meet UK expectations.

The review identified a number of examples of good practice, which include:

  • Academic staff are highly qualified and are actively encouraged and supported to pursue continuing professional development activities
  • Students are given comprehensive and high quality support from initial enquiry through to graduation.

The review also highlighted that:

  • The college has effective teaching and learning practice, students are very happy about the teaching and learning available at the college.
  • The college is effectively enhancing the learning opportunities for its higher education students.
  • The college has an effective structure in place to support and promote employability for students.
  • The college has good initial checks to ensure students are on the right programme and that they are appropriately supported by academic and support staff.
  • The college has a proactive and supportive Additional Learning Support (ALS) department.
  • The college effectively listens to students and responds quickly and efficiently.
  • Students were positive about the information provided by the college and know where to find information they need.
  • The college is effectively managing its responsibilities for monitoring and reviewing the programmes delivered on behalf of its awarding bodies.
  • The team heard about improvements to the learning resource centre (LRC), most notably more books and journals available online and longer opening hours for part-time students.

The review made two recommendations for improvements, which were:

  • To develop the committee responsible for higher education to include regular monitoring of the enhancement strategy
  • To monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of higher education student ambassadors (student representatives).

Dr Janet Nevin, Principal said "This is an excellent result for the College.  We are very pleased to be able to offer high quality HE Provision in Tameside and we are delighted that our students testify to the very positive experience they have at Ashton Sixth Form College."

Jo Fletcher-Saxon,  Assistant Principal for Higher Education and Skills said “We are delighted to be acknowledged for the high quality support we offer students who study higher education qualifications with us and for the fact that we have highly qualified staff who themselves are engaged in higher education scholarly activity. It is positive acknowledgment of the thriving higher education community at the college.”

A successful review means that Ashton Sixth Form College can display the QAA Quality Mark, indicating to UK and international students that the College meets national requirements for standards and quality.

The review team included Professor Paul Brunt (University of Plymouth), Rosemary Evans (Birmingham City University) and Emma Palmer (a student at Hull College).