South Essex College improving, says Ofsted report

SIX subject areas were graded ‘good’ in Ofsted’s report on South Essex College, published today (17/12/12).

Five more subject areas received a grade three, which means they are deemed to ‘require improvement’ by the inspectors. However, overall it was a positive picture for the College, which saw its grade profile improve from the previous inspection in February 2012.

No areas of the College were found to be inadequate.

Principal and chief executive, Angela O’Donoghue CBE, led Sunderland College to an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report in 2010. She said: “The College has made significant improvements since the last inspection and I am pleased Ofsted has recognised this. We still have more to do, more progress is being made this year, and we will continue to work hard until every area of this College is outstanding.

“Our grade profile compares well to other schools and colleges inspected recently and I am pleased Ofsted acknowledges that we provide up-to-date skills for our young people that employers value.

“Staff and students have achieved a lot at the College this year as our Celebrating Success event, graduation ceremony and A-level results have shown. We will continue to improve and achieve greater success next year and beyond.

“The new Thurrock Campus, opening in September 2014, is another milestone for the College, delivering the right skills and the right qualifications in a state-of-the-art new building.”

Subject areas graded ‘good’ include hairdressing and beauty therapy, visual arts, teaching and lecturing, training to provide learning support, administration and customer service.

Subject areas graded ‘requires improvement’ include health and social care, early years and playwork, building services, construction crafts and foundation English.

The inspection found:

a large majority of students develop good practical vocational skills to meet employers’ needs
advanced apprentices aged 16 to 18 and adult apprentices achieve well
managers and staff thoroughly promote improvement throughout the college
teachers and students have high levels of mutual respect for each other
hospitality students produce and serve food in the College’s restaurant and cafés to a high standard
students [in visual arts] produce practical work of a very high standard and in a minority of areas it is exceptional

The inspectors had special words of praise for the College’s partnership with recruitment agency, Reed, and awarding body NCFE, finding the new link “has improved the career prospects for learners”.

Inspectors reported that the College should improve on the success rates of foundation level courses and intermediate apprenticeships. They also recognised that while the proportion of students remaining on their courses is increasing, it is below that of similar colleges nationally.

2014 will be a landmark year for the College as the Southend Campus celebrates its tenth anniversary and the new £45 million Thurrock Campus opens in Grays town centre in September.

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