College celebrates ‘Good’ Ofsted grade
Suffolk New College is celebrating its Ofsted rating of ‘Good’ across the board. The inspection took place in October 2017 and the College was judged ‘Good’ (2) in all available categories of the report.
Principal, Viv Gillespie, said, “I’d like to thank all staff and governors who have worked so hard over the past few years, and to the students who attend the College. It is great to have built upon the positives that the College already had, and to get this reflected in the Ofsted grade. Everyone associated with the College should feel very proud.
“It is a very positive outcome. We continually monitor our performance and we are pleased that Ofsted agreed with the areas we are focussing on to strengthen further the student experience, and they recognised that we have already made progress towards this as part of our journey to Outstanding.”
The College was found to have ‘Good’ for the effectiveness of Leadership & Management, and ‘Good’ for Teaching, Learning & Assessment and all types of programmes for 16-19 year olds, adults and apprentices. This made the grade of overall effectiveness, “Good”.
Ofsted found that “Senior leaders and staff are ambitious for their students and apprentices and set high aspirations. Most students and apprentices progress to further study at a higher level, into higher education or employment.” The College has strong destinations, with 2584 16-18 year olds in 2016/17 progressing onto employment, apprenticeships, higher or further education. The Inspectors recognised the impact of this and saw that, “Students and apprentices are ambitious for their futures. Students and apprentices take pride in their work.”
Recognising that, “Students across all provision types make good progress to achieve their qualifications”, Ofsted also confirmed that teaching and learning have led to “Teachers and assessors deploy(ing) well-planned and interesting activities in lessons, to ensure that students and apprentices enjoy their learning, and make good progress in class.”
The College is committed to employing staff who deliver lessons of high quality witnessed by the inspectors, who commented, “Teachers and assessors are well qualified in their roles and have good industry and/or specialist knowledge of their subjects.” They have stated in the report that, “Teachers provide a positive role model, and maintain a strong culture of mutual respect.”
They found evidence that, “Teachers and assessors have high expectations of their students and apprentices. Teachers are highly ambitious for their students.”
The inspection team also highlighted the support provided to students, and that “Students and apprentices report that they feel safe. They know to stay safe and know who to turn to if they need to report any concerns.” They reviewed how the College operates and stated that, “Students behave well and show respect for the views of their peers.”
Ofsted recognised the excellent support provided to the significant number of students needing to achieve higher grades in maths and English. In 2016/17, more than 600 students sat GCSE Maths and, a further 700 GCSE English exams, “Leaders and managers place a strong emphasis on improving students’ English and mathematics skills.” Both English and maths GCSE A*-C grades were above the national average, in English it was 8% above.
Suffolk New College currently supports around 350 apprentices. Commenting in the report on the apprenticeship programme at the college, it was stated; “Apprenticeship programmes have increased” and that, “Training for apprentices is good, both at work and in the College.”
The inspectors found that, “Employers and assessors work together to set precise targets for apprentices, and develop well considered plans for further learning.”
The quality of the provision at the College is good, and “Apprentices produce work to a high standard”, as well as that “Most students and apprentices progress onto higher level qualifications, gain employment or, enter higher education.”
Ofsted recognised that, “Employers value the contributions their apprentices make to their business.”
Former mayor and, Chair of Governors at Suffolk New College, Roger Fern, said, “I’m absolutely thrilled with this news, and well aware of all the hard work that has gone into this.
“The new Principal, her team, the governors, and staff have worked to provide an exceptional student experience, and an ambitious five-year strategic plan.
“The (five year) plan focuses the College on creating a broader curriculum, with ambitions to grow provision that meets community and business needs.
“The College will I’m sure, continue to go from strength to strength, providing the people of Ipswich and beyond, a place that they can trust and a place that will offer them the best opportunity to succeed in the future.
“This was recognised by Ofsted within the report that, “The Principal has successfully led very positive change in culture across the college, so that staff focus their efforts well on the core strategic aim of an ‘exceptional student experience’.
“This ethos is one which the whole College is behind.”
Student President, Jordan Barry, said, “The good news was no real surprise to me. I’ve been at Suffolk New College since the age of 15, and it has changed my life for the better. The opportunities I have had since joining, have helped make me who I am today. I’ve developed not just educationally, but as a person and I’d recommend the college to everyone.