Post-16 science and mathematics

Key Ofsted reports in science and mathematics and supporting materials for college and other providers

  • Improving Science in Colleges - 14 October 2011. In spring 2011 Ofsted conducted a survey of good practice in science in general further education and sixth form colleges in England. Inspectors visited 15 college science departments to observe teaching and learning and evaluate the quality of provision and departmental leadership and management. This report identifies the factors which helped these colleges to maintain the high standard or improve the quality of their science provision and makes recommendations for further improvement.
  • Identifying good practice: a survey of post-16 science in colleges and schools - 23 January 2008. This report represents the findings from a survey of post-16 science provision in 18 colleges and schools where provision had been judged to be good or outstanding at their previous inspection. Between October 2006 and April 2007 five schools, nine sixth form colleges, one tertiary college and three general further education colleges were visited by inspectors. Examples of good practice are given and recommendations for improvements are made. 
  • Mathematics – Understanding the score - 19 September 2008. This report is based principally on evidence from inspections of mathematics between April 2005 and December 2007 in 192 maintained schools in England. Part A focuses on the inspection findings in the context of rising standards over the last decade in national tests and examinations. Part B discusses the issues underlying the rises in results and describes the essential components of effective mathematics teaching. Illustrative examples and brief commentaries are provided. 

Examples of good practice

Improving employees’ skills in mathematics and English through online learning in the workplace: McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd - 25 May 2012. McDonald’s offers literacy and numeracy training to all its employees. The response has been very enthusiastic and employee turnover has dropped to its lowest ever level. A constant review of the programme ensures that it meets its users’ needs.

Functional skills: DV8 Training Ltd - 2 March 2012. This example demonstrates the excellent integration of functional skills with learners’ vocational subjects, and a particularly effective approach to overcoming barriers to learning and raising learners’ aspirations.

Promoting the study of science through links with schools: City and Islington College - 16 November 2011. Teachers at this college stimulate the interest of school pupils in science and other STEM-related subjects, work in schools with teachers and pupils and invite them to the college. The college also hosts a careers convention where pupils meet working scientists and engineers to learn about employment opportunities.

Outstanding curriculum innovation in science: City and Islington College - 28 October 2011. City and Islington College is one of the biggest national providers of science in further education. It has developed a broad range of cutting-edge science provision and established itself as a regional centre of excellence for science.

Making a success of human biology - 28 June 2011. This example explains the re-introduction of A-level human biology while ensuring that students are well aware of course requirements and are properly prepared for a challenging assessment regime. Providing good information about the course, a highly structured programme of study, and plenty of practice in assessment have been key components.

National Lead

Alex Falconer is the post-16 curriculum adviser for science and mathematics. Alex has been an HMI for 10 years and the post-16 adviser role for the past 3 years.  Alex taught biology for many years, both abroad and in England and was a senior manager in a sixth form college before joining Ofsted. 

External links

Annual Report 2012/13