The School Inspection Services report on Emerson College

Last month the School Inspection Service (SIS) carried out its annual inspection of the College. We have received their report and are now delighted to share its content with you.

The School Inspection Service is an independent body established to carry out school inspections under Section 109 of the Education and Skills Act 2008.

The aims and function of SIS are to provide high-quality inspection of specific groups of independent schools, on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE), and to prepare reports and be responsible for the publication of those reports. In this sense, SIS fulfils the same function that Ofsted performs elsewhere.

We have extracted some sections from the report to include here. The full report can be found by searching ‘Emerson College’ on the SIS website.

Summary evaluation of the college

“The college meets its aims well in relation to the School Inspection Service College Standards and all the requirements relevant to UKVI.  The college has a well-planned curriculum, which is delivered effectively through high-quality teaching and assessment, so meeting the learning needs of the students well.  The personal welfare of the students is a high priority and the college provides effective pastoral care, including close attention to all the students’ needs.  Procedures to support the recruitment of suitable staff to teach on the course are well organised to ensure that all requirements are met fully and the staff are experienced, knowledgeable in relation to their specialist skills and in the anthroposophical tradition, as well as being fully committed to their teaching.  The facilities and resources to support teaching and learning are of a high quality.  Students are very positive about their learning and achievement, as well as the personal support and guidance provided by tutors and other staff.  The college is well managed and financially secure, with an ambitious development plan.”

Standards for teaching, learning and assessment

“The teaching is well planned and delivered effectively by tutors who are well qualified and highly skilled in the areas that they teach, often combining part-time teaching with working as professional artists and sculptors.  Many are ex-students and so are steeped in the philosophy underpinning the courses, whilst the course leader is a leading figure in the area of anthroposophy, visual arts and culture and has been in the college for over 30 years.

The tutors enthuse their students, who are very keen to learn and make good to excellent progress in developing their knowledge, understanding and skills.  Tutors provide students with clear and interesting explanations of ideas and processes and encourage thoughtful reflection and debate through perceptive questioning.  Similarly, through precise guidance and skilful modelling of good practice, they help students to develop specific skills, such as carving in wood and modelling clay, and to become increasingly able to critically evaluate their own work.”

Standards for cultural and moral development of students

“Students come to the course knowing about the underpinning anthroposophical philosophy of the course and are often already strongly committed to it.  This philosophical tradition, which is embedded in all aspects of the course, abhors violence and any form of terrorism, whilst celebrating different cultural traditions.  In their induction programme, students are introduced to particular aspects of English law and have easy access to tutors and other staff if they have any concerns.  The students are quiet, well-behaved and law-abiding, whilst thoroughly enjoying living in the harmonious multicultural community of the college campus.”

Standards for financial sustainability, management and governance

“A qualified accountant has carried out an assessment of the financial information about the college, which is available on the Charity Commission website.  The college’s financial performance has improved significantly over the last few years and it is now financially viable.  Future plans are well-organised and designed to consolidate financial sustainability. Based on the information provided by the college, students are not at risk of being unable to complete their course as a result of the school’s financial failure.

The college has ensured that there are sufficient resources to support teaching very well.  This reflects the effective way in which the trustees, senior and middle management work together in order to maintain the college’s ethos and strengths, whilst developing new initiatives to address weaknesses.”

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