Top marks for One sixth form, formerly Suffolk One, in glowing Ofsted report

One students celebrate an outstanding Ofsted result.

One students celebrate an outstanding Ofsted result.

‘Outstanding’ – that’s Ofsted’s top verdict on the largest sixth form in Suffolk, One.

One students celebrate an outstanding Ofsted result.

One students celebrate an outstanding Ofsted result.

The Ipswich college, formerly Suffolk One, was praised for helping students to make “exceptional progress” and achieve “outstanding” results following a major inspection by the education watchdog.

Teachers’ “infectious enthusiasm” is helping generate a high level of commitment from pupils, the report found.

Principal Alan Whittaker said he was “thrilled” to have been given the highest possible grade.

“I would like to thank and congratulate students, their parents, staff, governors and our partners in the business and the local communities in helping us to secure such a fantastic outcome.

“It is a privilege to work with such a professional team who are committed to helping our students achieve the best possible results and the amount of positive comments in the report acknowledges this.”

Inspectors visited almost 50 lessons and judged the quality of teaching to be “outstanding”, with the sixth form paying “close attention” to the needs and aspirations of vulnerable students.

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Last year 76% of its A-level students got A*–C grades. And inspectors found standards rising since the last Ofsted inspection which gave the sixth form a ‘good’ rating in 2012.

James Cartlidge, MP for South Suffolk, the constituency the sixth form is based in, said it was fantastic news.

“I am absolutely delighted to hear this fantastic news for One – to go from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ is an incredible achievement and it shows that we are making progress in education in Suffolk,” he said. “I salute all the staff and pupils for their success.”

The Venerable Ian Morgan, chairman of governors at One, said he was “absolutely delighted” by the report.

“It has always been our clear focus that the outcomes for students should be absolutely at the top of our priorities – it is particularly pleasing that the Ofsted inspectors note this not just in the examination results but in the all-round experience students have at One which seeks to both be fully inclusive and caring for each individual student,” he said.

“Clearly this does not happen by accident and it is clear that all staff in whatever role they fulfil go far further than simple professionalism requires.”

The relationships between students and staff are “remarkably harmonious”, with behaviour during lunchtime judged as “exemplary”, the inspectors said.

And sixth form leaders were commended for their “relentless” drive to secure high achievement for all students.

Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich, said: “I am delighted for the pupils, for the staff and especially for the principal Alan Whittaker who deserves considerable credit for his leadership of the school in what has been challenging circumstances.”

In March, it was revealed the sixth form, which has 1,750 students, was forming a partnership with West Suffolk College. The Bury St Edmunds college is creating with One, Suffolk Academy Trust – the sponsor which will run the sixth form from September when it becomes an academy.

That news followed an announcement that around 30 members of staff could lose their jobs at the sixth form in a bid to save £2million after it ran a budget deficit for four years.

The sixth form’s catchment area includes parts of Ipswich, much of south, central and east Suffolk as well as parts of north Essex.