Ofsted report hails changes at North Shropshire College
A college deemed inadequate just months ago has been rated good in the latest visit by inspectors – only the second in the UK to make such quick progress.
Ofsted inspectors say North Shropshire College – which has campuses in Oswestry, Walford and Shipley – has made significant improvements across a number of areas.
Since February there have been four government inspections, covering higher education, the footsteps nursery, further education and skills provision and residential social care.
College leaders have been told all have demonstrated significant improvement with the nursery improving two grades to ‘good’ and higher education now meeting all UK standards with academic experience of a high quality. Further education and skills have improved one grade.
The newly-published June 2017 Ofsted report says: “Since the previous inspection governors, leaders and managers have implemented considerable changes to deal with the weaknesses and these are beginning to show impact.”
Interim principal Peter McCann said: “I am particularly pleased with the grading associated with our 16 to 18 students and their personal development, behaviour and welfare and the development of employability skills and student progression.
“I am equally happy to see that the quality of our adult courses has also been recognised. I know I can speak for myself, the senior leadership team and the board of governors who are proud of the cultural change within the college which was highlighted within the rJune Ofsted Report.”
The report says governors and senior leaders have transformed the college’s approach to safeguarding, adding: "A strong culture of safeguarding now permeates the college at all levels.
“It is very difficult for a college to be assessed by Ofsted as improving two grades from inadequate in learning and skills within the timescale of re-inspection; indeed only one college has achieved this nationally under the revised Ofsted framework.
“The changes being made are showing impact but we need to ensure that we reach every part of the college and not just the 80 per cent who have made excellent progress to date.”
The report says that a wide variety of good-quality work experience opportunities, additional qualifications valued by employers and work preparation activities help learners to develop the skills they need for employment. Learners and apprentices develop good vocational skills.
“We appreciate there is more work necessary to improve our apprenticeship provision in particular and to ensure that every part of the college meets the standards of the best but we have made great strides in 2017 and the college is moving forward with greater confidence in all aspects of its further and higher education provision.”