Thursday, 12 December 2019

College retains ‘good’ rating from watchdog

College retains ‘good’ rating from watchdog

THE Henley College has maintained its “good” rating from Ofsted.

Inspectors from the education watchdog visited the college last month.

They awarded it a “good” rating in every category, except leadership and management, which they say “requires improvement”, and apprenticeships, which are “inadequate”.

The inspectors’ report says: “Students and most apprentices enjoy their learning. Students form strong positive relationships with college staff and each other that help them learn and develop their confidence.

“They appreciate the wide range of courses that meet their needs and interests well. Most students benefit from experienced, knowledgeable and enthusiastic teachers who plan learning carefully. This helps students develop the skills and knowledge they need to complete their qualifications successfully.

“Students progressing to university and apprenticeships benefit from high-quality advice and support from staff about their next steps. They value the visits from and to employers and universities that help them plan their futures.”

The college caters for 1,640 students and the inspectors say they behave well and show visitors, teachers and each other “high levels of respect”.

The report says safeguarding at the college is “effective” and students and apprentices feel safe there.

Leaders and governors have an effective strategy to improve the quality of education programmes for young people and have high expectations for their students and staff.

The number of students who progress to universities of their choice, or apprenticeships, is high. Staff morale is also high and almost all the teachers are proud to work at the
college.

Leaders and managers make sure that the courses they provide align carefully with current and emerging local and regional needs and apprentices study in areas identified by leaders as meeting local and regional needs, such as health and social care and business.

Teachers plan learning for students with high needs sensibly to meet their individual needs, improve their literacy and numeracy and develop their independence.

However, the report adds: “Apprentices do not benefit from well-planned and coherent learning programmes. Leaders have not ensured that their apprenticeship programme is of a similar high quality to their provision for students in the college.

“They are not fully aware of the substantial weaknesses in the programme. Governors do not know enough about the strengths and weaknesses of the apprenticeship programme to enable them to challenge leaders and hold them to account.”

The report also says that a few teachers and tutors lack the necessary classroom skills to engage students successfully and help them improve their knowledge and skills over time.

They do not check in enough detail students’ developing knowledge or make sure that they are able to connect the topics they learn and then build on this.

The report recommends that the college leaders should:

• Plan the apprenticeship courses to ensure that all apprentices benefit from well taught and frequent lessons to help them build their skills and knowledge and complete their programmes.

• Ensure that staff assess apprentices’ prior knowledge carefully and use this information to plan learning and provide apprentices with clear feedback to enable them to make progress.

• Provide the governors with more information about the quality of the apprenticeship courses to enable them to judge the progress of improvements.

• Improve tracking of students’ external work experience and analysis of students’ destinations to enable them to more fully measure the impact of their learning.

• Quicken the pace of improvements so that students’ achievements are consistently high and more achieve the grades of which they are capable.

College principal Satwant Deol said she was pleased with many parts of the report, adding: “Our staff are committed — they work day in, day out making sure our students progress.”

She felt the assessment of the college’s apprenticeship programme was “unjust”.

Mrs Deol said: “My team do work really hard in that area. We’re making improvements and we’re taking into account what Ofsted has said.

“They said we weren’t doing enough off-the-job training. We do that once a month but they weren’t here to see that.”

She said the college had 38 apprentices, which accounted for 0.71 per cent of its funding. Previous apprentices had gone onto work at companies such as Rolls Royce, British Airways and BAE Systems.

Mrs Deol added: “As a whole college we have done extremely well and we will continue to keep improving. We want to go towards ‘outstanding’. Our results speak for themselves.”

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