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The Corporation

Posted: 21/03/17

College retains ‘good’ Ofsted status

West Nottinghamshire College has retained its ‘good’ rating by Ofsted – with inspectors highlighting its role in the area’s cultural and economic regeneration, and high standard of its vocational training facilities, which help students develop the skills for employment.

  • The college has retained its 'good' rating by Ofsted
  • Dame Asha Khemka said the report "confirms our position as one of the top-performing colleges in the East Midlands."

Inspectors praised the effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; students’ personal development, behaviour and welfare; outcomes for learners; adult learning programmes; apprenticeships; and provision for learners with high needs – rating each area as ‘good.’

Key findings within the report published today (Tuesday 21 March 2017) following the inspection that took place from 7-10 February, include:

  • Senior leaders have put the college at the heart of the local community, enabling it to raise aspirations and support the area’s cultural and economic regeneration;
  • Managers have invested in excellent specialist resources, which help learners develop skills that are well-matched to the needs of regional and national employers;
  • The large majority of younger learners, adults and apprentices successfully complete their qualifications, with the proportion of apprentices who do so within agreed time limits being above the rate for other providers;
  • Apprentices develop a good range of vocational skills, which allows them to contribute well to their workplaces;
  • Adult learners and apprentices benefit from good-quality teaching, which helps them to make good progress;
  • Learners with high needs progress and achieve in their studies at least as well as other learners;
  • The large majority of learners aged 16 to 19 participate in useful work experience and enrichment activities;
  • A strong tutorial programme provides learners with very effective personal support, which helps them overcome barriers to learning;
  • However, too few learners on classroom-based programmes achieve their qualifications in English or maths, or improve their skills sufficiently in these subjects.

The report states: “The large majority of apprentices and adult learners enjoy their studies and make at least the progress expected from their starting points, with many making strong progress. Younger learners who take A-levels also make good progress. Apprentices develop a good range of vocational skills that allow them to contribute well to their workplaces.”

Inspectors found most learners and apprentices, including those with high needs, “progress to positive destinations in education and employment.”

Safeguarding arrangements are “effective”, with designated safeguarding officers being “suitably-qualified” and staff receiving regular training. Inspectors reported that “learners and apprentices feel safe and are safe.”

They also noted the “extensive range of enrichment activities in which many younger learners participate” including sporting pursuits, entrepreneurial programmes and the extended project qualification aimed at helping high-achieving students obtain places at selective universities. Learners with high needs also participate well in these activities, according to inspectors.

Younger learners’ progression into further education, employment and apprenticeship programmes is “in line with or above national rates” and “a significant number of learners gain employment with their work-placement organisation because of their work experience.”

Adult learners “develop good personal and vocational skills that equip them well for employment”, as well as “good practical skills, particularly in construction, engineering and hairdressing.” Adults also “make good progress in improving their English and mathematical skills.”

Meanwhile, apprentices “develop a good understanding of professional standards and, as a result, develop vocational skills to a high standard” – with the proportion who complete their training on time “above the national rate at level 2 and level 3.”

Highlighting the impact that the college’s £50 million redevelopment and investment in state-of-the-art training facilities had had on teaching and learning, inspectors said: “These improvements support the development of learners’ vocational and work-related technical skills well.”

Senior leaders and governors are “highly-ambitious for the role the college plays in its local area,” and “participate actively in the community through work with a range of organisations, including the local enterprise partnership.” Furthermore, leaders and managers actively support businesses through a “well-designed curriculum that provides learners with the right skills for local employment.”

Although study programmes for 16 to 19 year-olds were deemed to require improvement, in particular progress in English and maths, inspectors acknowledged that managers had implemented actions to improve teaching and learning in these subjects. While “early indications suggest that current learners are making better progress,” they said it was too soon to judge the full impact of these measures.

Dame Asha Khemka, principal and chief executive, said: “The report confirms our position as one of the top-performing colleges in the East Midlands. I’m pleased inspectors recognised our many strengths and the progress our students make – all of which provides a fantastic platform on which we can further build upon.

“It’s particularly pleasing they noted the contribution the college makes to the local community and the way we support employers through a high-quality apprenticeship programme.

“We recognise there are areas for improvement and had already put arrangements in place to address these, for which we are now seeing clear signs of progress.

“Through the continued efforts of our loyal and committed staff team and highly-experienced board of governors, I am confident we can now reach even greater heights. This is a good day for the college.”

Chair of governors, Nevil Croston, said: “Retaining our ‘good’ status reflects the high ambitions that staff have for their students and the exceptional work that they dedicate to them each and every day, which was recognised by the inspection team. It also reflects the commitment of the students themselves, which they clearly demonstrated during the inspection process.”

The college was rated ‘good’ at its previous inspection in 2012.

The full report is available here and on Ofsted’s website at https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/130777