Having been deemed 'inadequate' in 2022, a St Albans college has regained its previous 'good' Ofsted rating.

Following inspections on March 5 and 7, a report has now been published for the institution, which has sites on London Road and Victoria Street.

View the full report below.

Full Ofsted Report:

What is it like to attend this school? 

Pupils are very happy to attend this school. Many describe the hugely beneficial impact the school has for their achievement and well-being. Pupils really enjoy the excellent relationships they have with their teachers and their peers. They like the fact that the very small class sizes allow them to receive a high level of individual support.

Pupils can study different combinations of subjects over different time periods. For example, if appropriate, they can complete an A-Level qualification in one year. Pupils like that there are lots of subjects that they can choose to study. This bespoke approach benefits the pupils. Pupils’ education is very tailored to their needs.

The culture of the school is one of kindness and understanding. Pupils consistently behave well. They listen respectfully to each other’s views. They engage with alternative viewpoints and are interested in what others have to say. Pupils benefit from the fact that their teachers give them the knowledge and skills to engage in interesting and relevant discussions. This helps to ensure that they are well prepared for their next stage of education or training. 

What does the school do well and what does it need to do better? 

The curriculum is coherent and ambitious. Since the previous inspection, the school has made improvements to their curriculum planning. In the main, plans are clear and well structured. Although there is inconsistency in the level of detail in some subject plans, teachers have a good understanding of what to teach and when.  

Teachers consistently demonstrate high levels of subject knowledge. They have a good understanding of the requirements of the examination boards. They know how to plan lessons with appropriate resources to best support pupils to achieve well. This includes the high number of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND). In the main, teachers use appropriate strategies to support pupils with SEND to do well. They check how well pupils are doing via formal tests, live marking and skilful questioning. Teachers effectively adapt their teaching if there are gaps in pupils’ understanding, or to further deepen pupils’ knowledge. This supports the majority of pupils to do well.

The school has recently introduced subject leaders to support senior leaders in developing consistency in the teaching of the curriculum. In many areas this is effective. However, the school has not given staff sufficient training to fulfil their new role effectively. This means that some of the best practice is not shared across the school.  

Herts Advertiser: St Albans Independent College, on Victoria Street.St Albans Independent College, on Victoria Street. (Image: Google Maps)

Pupils are attentive in lessons. They appreciate the calmness and friendliness of the school. They get along well and support each other to achieve. Pupils want to learn. There is no disruption to lessons. Teachers skilfully help pupils when they struggle to maintain good levels of attention. They adapt their lesson activities to help pupils regain their concentration. This means that pupils maintain good levels of focus on their learning.  

Many pupils attend school regularly. However, the school has not fully acted on recommendations from the previous inspection regarding improving pupils’ attendance. Although they are accurately logging if pupils are absent, the school’s systems are not sufficiently robust in order to support some of the more vulnerable pupils to attend well. Subsequently, some pupils do not attend school as frequently as they should. 

The school ensures that there is a range of opportunities for pupils to explore their wider interests. They take part in clubs, such as crochet. Pupils engage in raising money for local and national charities. They receive appropriate, independent careers advice. Pupils speak confidently about different opportunities open to them, such as gap years, university and apprenticeships. They also learn important information about taxes and how to budget. Pupils learn about different beliefs and values. They demonstrate a high level of respect for each other’s views. 


The headteacher is also the proprietor. Since the previous inspection, leaders have a clearer understanding of what the independent school standards are and how to meet them. The school is compliant with schedule 10 of the Equality Act 2010. Leaders engage with external support. This brings important opportunities for scrutiny and challenge to their work.  

Parents and pupils are highly complimentary about the school. Many pupils have struggled in other educational settings and now achieve well. They value the nurturing environment and how inclusive the school is. Many pupils report how well staff respond to them as individuals. One parent echoed the words of many when they described the school as ‘turning their child’s life around’.


The arrangements for safeguarding are effective. 

What does the school need to do to improve?

(Information for the school and proprietor)

  • The school’s systems for monitoring and improving pupils’ attendance need to be further refined. Leaders must raise their expectations of what all pupils’ attendance should be, particularly vulnerable pupils. If pupils’ attendance falls below these high expectations, the school must ensure that they act swiftly to support all pupils to attend well.  

  • In some areas, leaders are not sufficiently knowledgeable in order to identify where improvements are needed. Some leaders have not been supported well enough to know how to monitor their areas and intervene if standards are not high enough. Although this has not impacted the quality of education that pupils receive, the school needs to establish a robust system for staff training to allow all leaders to fulfil their role well.