Ofsted Report: We are on the Right Track for Future Success

1st April 2017

Our Ofsted report speaks highly of the action we are taking to raise standards of teaching, learning and assessment, and to improve in-class progress monitoring. In addition the report speaks very favourably of the behaviour, and confidence levels, of our students as well as the significant number of students who, assisted by the strong careers service advice and support, progress onto higher education, apprenticeships and full-time employment.

Despite these strengths, and exceptionally strong scores from our most recent student Learner Voice survey, the inspectors felt that the rate of progress made in some areas was too slow. Therefore, the college is being awarded an overall grading of ‘Requires Improvement’. Moving forward, we will deliver a step-change in teaching, learning and assessment throughout the college and have already started this process by:

  • establishing a team of teaching and learning coaches to encourage innovative practice and to support new teachers
  • restructuring the curriculum management teams
  • working closely with colleagues in other institutions to share good and outstanding practice
  • placing greater focus on the progress that students make in-class and ensuring greater consistency of feedback to students
  • setting more challenging tasks for the most able
  • putting measures in place to increase attendance

Our Principal, Alice, says, “Of course we are disappointed by the final grading, but we are also very encouraged by the positive comments from the inspectors, who are clear that the college is moving in the right direction.  Inspectors confirm that by accelerating our existing approach, we will remain on track to achieving our desired outcomes and greater consistency of teaching across the college. This is a temporary setback and I can assure you that we will continue to deliver on our mission, and provide excellent opportunities for our current and future students.

We will not be discouraged by the final grading. As acknowledged by the inspectors, we are making good progress and we have a number of measures in place that will position us well for a grading of ‘Good’ or better in the future.”

Highlights from the report include:

“Students value the help that teachers give them, and the additional sessions and initiatives that support them out of class. Students who miss lessons or fall behind target attend compulsory workshops to help them catch up with work and the most able students attend higher-level sessions to challenge them more. In addition, students can access sessions to improve their study skills and to help them manage stress in examinations.”

“College staff provide very high levels of care and support for students. As a result, students who would have left college early are able to complete their studies and achieve their qualifications.”

“Governors are committed to the success of the college. They know the college well and fully understand the current challenges facing the college, and are well informed about the improvement actions being taken.”

“Students with high needs take part in regular opportunities to develop their independence, to improve their communication skills and to participate fully in wider activities within the college.”

“As a result of a wide range of improvement actions (such as teacher ‘bite-size training’, best practice sharing and intensive support activities at course and subject level) more students are staying on their courses and becoming higher achievers.”

“Current level 3 students on academic study programmes are making better progress than those at a similar point last year.”

“The provision for 14-16 year olds is good. They are well catered for during their time at college and move swiftly to higher levels of English and mathematics once they have gained their initial qualifications.”

“In vocational subjects, teachers develop students’ English skills well, giving them the subject-specific vocabulary required for assessments.”

“Students participate in a wide-ranging programme of enrichment, which supports them with their academic studies and helps to retain them at college.”

“A wide range of college events, visits and trips are organised, which help students to widen their understanding of the world of work and to decide on their next steps after college.”

Click here to read the report in full.