• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

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College has created culture of high expectations, says Ofsted

Natalie Davison, Principal and Chief Executive of Bishop Auckland CollegeStudents at Bishop Auckland College enjoy a “culture of high expectations” which sets them up for future success. 

That is the glowing verdict of Ofsted inspectors, who found students ‘enjoy their time at college’ while leaders demonstrate a clear ambition that the college will provide ‘outstanding provision for all learners’.

Lead inspector Malcolm Fraser said students recognise the knowledge and skills they are gaining will help them to be successful in their future lives.

High quality education and training boasting outstanding features includes apprenticeships for learners aged 16 to 18, programmes for unemployed adults to help them secure work and provision in the community to re-engage adults in education.

The college maintains very effective links with employers, the Ofsted team found. The number of apprenticeships has also increased for learners of all ages since the last inspection in 2011 – the  majority with SMEs who welcome the college’s assistance in meeting their own skills development needs.

The report said: “These links are strong and used well to plan a curriculum that provides learners with good progression opportunities into work.”

It added: “The college’s marketing strategy promotes apprenticeships well. Since the previous inspection, the number of apprentices has increased markedly. The very large majority of apprentices aged 16 to 18 achieve their qualifications in the planned timescale and almost all remain in jobs with their employer, often gaining promotion.”

Inspectors also found that all learners had a clear long-term target to progress to further or higher education, an apprenticeship or employment, and knew that if they had concerns they would be listened to and action taken.

The overall verdict of the report, which followed a two day short inspection on April 19 and 20, was that the college remains a ‘good’ provider. To further improve, inspectors recommended that the college stretched students even further in some activities, including English and maths, to ensure they meet their full potential.

The report follows a Quality Assurance Agency Review of the college’s Higher Education provision in March which found it met all four standards, and an ‘outstanding’ verdict on the college nursery at its last Ofsted inspection. South West Durham Training in Newton Aycliffe, which is part of the Bishop Auckland College Group, also has an ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted.

Principal and Chief Executive Natalie Davison said: “The staff, governors and leadership team are very encouraged by this extremely positive Ofsted inspection, which confirms we are within touching distance  of joining the very small number of colleges nationwide judged to be outstanding providers.

“We are pleased to see the high quality of provision, growing links with employers, clear ambition of staff to be successful and – most important of all – the positive outcomes for learners, have all been recognised. We will be relentless in our pursuit of excellence for all learners, continuously improving our delivery of high quality learning programmes which meet the needs of local people and employers.”

The full report can be viewed on the Ofsted website at:  http://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/130657

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