12 November 2018
What does the Ofsted report mean to students, and how does it affect day to day learning at the College?
The absolute priority, from the perspective of staff, management and the College board, is maintaining the highest possible standards of teaching and care for our students.
We want all learners to enjoy their experience with us, at whichever campus, and to continually feel that they are being supported and educated in a way which gives them the greatest opportunities in the professional world.
What are the key findings of the report – positive and negative?
The inspection gave an overall rating of ‘inadequate’ for the College.
This highlights ongoing need for improvement, and follows a period in which the management and staff have been hard working to stabilise in the wake of substantial change.
The report did highlight particular areas for praise.
Both our APPRENTICESHIPS and our HIGH NEEDS areas were labelled as ‘good’ in the assessment.
Governors, leaders and managers were referred to as having good links with regional employers, and for having designed a bespoke curriculum which meets the labour market and skills gaps.
We are also heartily encouraged that the Ofsted inspectors noted the inclusion of performance management by the college leaders, in order to improve the quality of teaching and to enhance progress monitoring.
Were you aware this inspection was happening and why did it take place now?
As is routine in the case of these inspections, very little notice is given.
We were aware a few days prior to the visit, which took place in early October.
It was not wholly unexpected that we received one within a year of our last ‘inadequate’ report findings, however, we do feel it has come rather too soon to demonstrate the impact that we have made.
How does this impact on the College day-to-day between now and the next inspection?
Whilst we are disappointed in what the report says, we know, with great confidence, what a huge amount of commitment and enthusiasm there is within the staff and stakeholder body to ensure our vision remains on track.
To that end, day to day activity at the College continues in a positive and determined way, and our quality improvement plan will continue.
What does this mean for the strategy which has been in the early implementation phase since last year’s inspection?
This strategy continues to be as valid and as much a priority as ever.
We have great ambitions for the college and are receiving huge support from across the two counties within which we have campuses.
Do senior stakeholders feel the report is fair and should parents or students feel concerned?
We are of course disappointed at the overall labelling of inadequate, because we feel it is not wholly a reflection of the work which has been taking place over the last 12 months.
At the same time, we appreciate that with all the change and refocus which has been happening in recent times, there was only so much which could be effectively in evidence for the inspection.
Parents and students have no reason to feel concerned or anxious in any way about the future of the college.
Indeed, we have the most determined and business-minded management team and board, in addition to huge support from the very highest level of influence across the region and the land-based sector.
With all this in mind, we feel that those who have placed their study and career paths in our hands can do so with certain confidence that they are part of a college which has a terrific future.
How does this inspection result impact on the desire to secure the future of land based expertise in Norfolk and Suffolk? Does this stall the intentions and ambitions?
We have made no secret of our focus around the creation of a leading land-based college, here in the East of England.
This is absolutely still a priority, and the enthusiasm and hunger for that goal is in no way retrained or reduced.
Indeed, our commitment to this path is as strong as it could be, supported by professional bodies and leading agricultural businesses and influencers from across the UK.
We are unwavering in our desire to ensure that people in this region know that they can develop their land-based skills, education and careers right here on their doorstep.
Some comments directly from the report:
- Leaders and managers have substantially increased the proportion of study programme students who undertake a high-quality work placement.
- The new senior leadership team has developed positive working relationships with local and national employers.
- New appointments to the board of governors, including a highly experienced chair, have significantly strengthened the board’s range and level of skills and experience.
- Governors and senior leaders have developed a clear and ambitious strategic plan.
- Students and apprentices feel safe and are safe.
- Almost all students who complete their courses progress to positive destinations.
- Students with high needs make good progress and most achieve their qualifications and learning goals.
- Most apprentices benefit from high quality on and off the job training. Tutors expertly relate abstract theory to workplace settings and practice.
- Employers are closely involved in planning and delivering their apprentices’ training.
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