Richard Taunton Sixth Form College
We are a highly successful college situated in the heart of Southampton. We offer full-time education for 16-19 year olds in a college community of around 1,300 students, as well as running part-time adult education courses during evenings and weekends.
Our mission is to raise the aspirations and achievements of students of all abilities, through providing an outstanding sixth form education experience. Our staff are united by a desire to make a difference to every student, and we celebrate inclusion, equality and diversity. We welcome and support all members of our community, irrespective of their country of origin.
In our 2013 Ofsted report, inspectors recognised the high quality learning experience we provide and the high standards our students achieve. We pride ourselves on providing strong teaching and learning, as well as outstanding student support.
Richard Taunton’s is a vibrant Sixth Form College in the West of Southampton. Our core business is to provide full time education to 16-19 year olds (currently around 1300) but we also offer part-time adult education courses and provide facilities for a wide range of other community-based activities (including the Open University) in the evenings and at weekends. The College is firmly rooted in its community and it is our vision to be the sixth form of choice for all our community, an outstanding, high achieving college which inspires and challenges young people to be the best that they can be.
We are working in close partnership with primary and secondary schools and colleges, with our local universities and with the local authority in Southampton, to raise standards and increase post-16 participation and progression. Our collective efforts have increased progression into full time education post-16 from 66% in 2003 to 94% in 2013. We work with our partners to make Southampton’s schools and colleges irresistible to the families who live in Southampton and in the surrounding area. We also champion positive progression beyond college to Higher Education or into robust employment-related training schemes. We are proud that in the last 5 years, in a city where average participation in HE is 31%, we have increased HE participation from 45% to 65% of students at this college who are qualified to progress.
The College takes partnership and collaboration very seriously. We are members of the national Association of Colleges and the Sixth Form Colleges’ Association. More locally, we are part of the Wessex Group of Sixth Form Colleges, and work closely with the 9 other colleges in Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth to provide the best development opportunities for staff and to enhance the experience and success of our students. We are also active members of the Solent Colleges’ Innovation Partnership which links the six Sixth Form Colleges which sit in urban communities across the coastal area of the Solent.
Making a Difference
Richard Taunton’s staff and governors are united by a desire to make a difference to young people’s life chances. There is a strong focus on providing high quality teaching, learning and assessment complemented by outstanding individual support. We set out to meet the needs of a wide range of students so we have a full range of academic and vocational courses at Levels 1 to 3.
Ofsted - October 2013
Our most recent full Ofsted inspection (report published October 2013) awarded Good grades across the board, endorsing the progress being made at the college and our common commitment to promoting the very highest standards – setting high expectations for all our students and supporting them very effectively. Above all, it was the high quality of teaching, learning and assessment which impressed the experienced team who carried out the inspection.
The following extracts from the full report highlight our key strengths:
• Success rates for students on A-Level and advanced level vocational courses are high. A high proportion of A-Level students achieve a high grade.
• Teachers, managers and governors monitor students’ progress closely. Individual tutorials are used effectively to ensure students remain on target to complete their studies.
• Students’ behaviour is exemplary and students treat each other and staff with a high degree of respect.
• Students develop independent learning skills well through the careful attention teachers and support staff pay to improving study skills through lessons and additional support and study sessions.
• Students develop their confidence well; they enjoy the challenging activities that teachers provide and respond well to the detailed feedback teachers give them.
• A high proportion of students on advanced level courses progress to higher education.
The Sixth Form Academy
The College has developed some innovative curriculum initiatives over the past few years, especially in its provision for Gifted and Talented Students. In September 2005 we opened our Sixth Form Academy, targeting high achieving young people and offering them a wide-ranging curriculum. Nearly 10 years on, this provision is thriving, and producing excellent results and strong progression to Russell Group universities. Our Academy students take part in our Academy Challenge Enrichment programme (ACE), which is designed to build confidence and analytical skills, and strengthen their applications to the most selective universities.
Talented musicians join our School of Music, which is outstanding, with options ranging from A Level to BTEC Popular Music. We also offer Level 2 Music programmes. Finally, in close partnership with top class coaches in their fields, our Sports Academy and Elite Athlete Programme has brought national level success for individuals and teams.
Leadership & Management
The College is led by a very energetic Senior Management Team who collectively bring to their work a wealth of experience in the FE and Sixth Form College sectors, and in partnership working with schools: Principal Alice Wrighton (appointed to the College in September 2008), Deputy Principal Liz Lee (responsible for Quality and Curriculum) and Assistant Principal Donna-Marie Janson (responsible for Teaching, Learning and Assessment). Since September 2013, curriculum, learning and support for students has been organised in to 6 Learning Areas. Teachers are managed by Learning Area Managers in relation to their teaching and their tutorial roles.
Tutorial, Support for Students and 'Prep'
Almost all teaching staff act as a personal tutor to groups of about 20 students who they also teach. As a personal tutor, the teacher’s prime role is to be a learning mentor, monitoring progress, intervening proactively to support improvement, helping individuals to develop positive study habits and achieve the right balance between paid employment and college work. Tutors are required to meet with their tutees not only as a group, but on a 1:1 basis as well. Tutors are tasked with tracking individual progress, identifying problems at an early stage and acting upon this information as appropriate. This may mean offering advice on a higher education application or career path, liaising with other subject staff or organising additional subject support. We have, in the last 3 years, developed an innovative approach whereby the focus of tutorial work is developed in a weekly 45 minute session called ‘Prep’. In this session, as well as carrying out 1 to 1 conversations about progress, the tutor works with the group to develop a culture of independent study and mutual support. Parents are encouraged to be involved in the progress of their children and regular consultation events are held.
Student Voice & Extra Curricular Activities
The College also takes learner involvement and learner voice very seriously and actively seeks to engage students in the consultation and decision-making processes in the College. There is a Student Union with an elected committee, whose main officers have regular meetings with College managers and also serve as Student Governors. Students organised their own social activities and are actively involved in promoting the College. There is also a high level of commitment from staff to providing extra-curricular opportunities for our students.
A great place to work and a great place to learn
If you are an individual with a passion for education, a commitment to lifelong learning and a desire to make a difference to young people of all abilities and backgrounds, you will thrive here. We are highly committed to the development of our staff, providing annual opportunities to access management training programmes run by the Wessex Group and an extensive range of curriculum specific networks and exam board training. We also play a very active part in the local school and college network in Southampton which links our staff with colleagues in our local institutions and provides opportunity to get involved in outreach work with schools to support successful transition to college.
Our plans for the future
The College has exciting plans which are already underway to establish a Sixth Form College Multi-Academy Trust from September 2017. This development, working in partnership with St Vincent College, Gosport, will further strengthen our position as a community focused college in Southampton and will enhance our capacity to innovate and share best practice across the colleges. It will also provide more opportunity for staff development and progression, and will enable us to be even more 'schools-facing', building on the excellent relationships we already have with our local school partners across all key stages.
Richard Taunton’s is a community united by our desire to make a positive difference to each and every one of our students. We focus on providing strong teaching and learning, complimented by outstanding student support.We are a successful college and we continue to build on the strengths that were celebrated in our 2013 Ofsted report. Inspectors recognised the high quality teaching and learning experience we provide, and the high standards our students achieve.
We have a dedicated provision for gifted and talented students in our Sixth Form Academy. We also provide specialist support for talented musicians in our School of Music, and for high-performing sportspeople through our Talented Athlete Scheme.
RTSFC is a great place to learn and develop: our students will tell you that. Come and check us out by attending one of our Open Evenings – you’ll get the chance to look around the college, speak to our students and staff and find out why we’re a great place to learn.
Richard Taunton Sixth Form College