ST MARY'S RC College, Blackburn has been praised by Ofsted, who said it is "good with outstanding features".

Inspectors found that the college's 1,500-plus learners enjoyed attending, showed exemplary behaviour and had built positive relation-ships with teachers.

The report highlighted the college's Catholic ethos which "promotes the significance of each individual and the importance of service to others", and gives praises the outstanding promotion of equal opportunities, and social inclusion.

Inspectors said the college was committed to community cohesion and took active steps to promote it.

It said: "Provision for adult learners, particularly those from Asian heritage groups, is highly regarded in the community."

The care, guidance and support pupils receive is also deemed outstanding.

Students' enthusiasm and improved teaching means achievement and standards are good, although the college is working towards getting more consistency in results.

Many learners achieved grades at A-level that were higher than predicted from their GCSE grades, the report said, and performance in certain subjects including English and performing arts, was outstanding.

Inspectors praise the robust procedures for monitoring student progress and say good progress had been made in issues raised at the last inspection in 2006.

Since his appointment in 2005, principal Kevin McMahon "has made several improvements and is very clear about the need to raise achievement and standards in all areas", and had overseen building work including "excellent" new facilities for performing arts and science.

Mr McMahon said: "It is pleasing that the inspection team recognised the quality of so much that goes on in St Mary's. The further improve-ment in success rates at a time of growth in student numbers and significant campus development is a testament to the hard work and professionalism of the staff and commitment of parents and learners."