Northampton College’s place as the leading college in the region has been cemented, with Ofsted officially rating the college as ‘good’ with outstanding features.
The positive inspection result recognises the College’s ongoing improvement which enables students to gain high quality skills and progress rapidly in their learning.
College staff have continued to improve the standard of lessons and practical training and the monitoring of students’ progress and wellbeing. Students are now reaping the rewards.
Principal Pat Brennan-Barrett said:
“We are thrilled that the Ofsted inspection has recognised the enormous strides we have continued to take and has given us a rating of good with outstanding features. Staff have worked incredibly hard to teach great lessons and provide effective support, ensuring our students make exceptional progress."
“We are proud to be the leading college in the region and we are looking forward to continuing to supply the workforce of the future to leading employers in Northamptonshire and beyond. Our students are learning the skills they need to be able to hit the ground running in the world of work.”
The report reserved special praise for the college’s High Needs provision, which was rated ‘outstanding’ – the highest possible grade. It stated that High Needs students make exceptional progress with their independent living skills and with their achievement of qualifications.
Other highlights included:
- The quality of teaching, learning and assessment are good. Most teaching enables students and apprentices to develop good standards of practical skills rapidly.
- The large majority of students make good progress.
- The college has increased the proportion of students who achieve their qualifications.
- The college uses its good links with employers and the local community to ensure that the courses it offers meet local and regional skills needs.
- Students improve their skills in English well. They quickly learn to use vocational and technical terminology precisely and confidently.
- Students and apprentices make good progress in improving their mathematics. They carry out relevant mathematical calculations accurately and interpret the results confidently.
- Teachers have high expectations of their students. They agree challenging targets and grades for them to achieve.
- Students gain from the expertise of teachers who are vocationally qualified and up-to-date with industry practices.
- Students and apprentices enjoy their learning and most produce work of a high standard.
- Teachers and assessors make good links between theory and practice. Students in particular make rapid progress in developing practical skills at college.
- Teachers direct questions skilfully to students to check and deepen their understanding. They develop their confidence in using technical and often complex terminology correctly and fluently.
- Students make good progress in developing their confidence, self-esteem and skills for work.
Earlier this year, data released as part of the 2016/17 National Achievement Rates Tables (NART) ranked Northampton College 28th out of 266 colleges for 16 to 18-year-old education and training.
The college has also seen a major improvement in GCSE maths and English resit pass rates for 16 to 18-year-old students, now ranked 15th nationally for maths and 18th for English. The data also revealed that 95 per cent of Northampton College students pass their course.
Mrs Brennan-Barrett added:
“A Grade Two rating with outstanding features rounds off a successful year for Northampton College and it’s pleasing to see that the hard work of both staff and students has paid off."
“We thank Ofsted for their constructive feedback which is already helping us to improve the college even further. Inspectors recognised that our apprenticeships are improving and enable our apprentices to gain the skills they need to thrive at work. However, we know we have more work to do in this area and continue to work to strengthen this provision to ensure all our apprentices reach their potential.”
Ofsted found that students and apprentices feel safe at college, on work-experience placements and at work. They also reported that student behaviour was exemplary.
Chair of Governors, Geraldine Schofield, said:
“The challenges for our FE students are huge but we are providing them with the tools they need to secure a bright future. We have excellent staff and we respond to student needs in an environment that is welcoming and safe.”