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South Devon College, ‘Good’ overall with four ‘Outstanding’ judgements

Laurence Frewin, Principal and CEO of South Devon College celebrates with students.

South Devon College (@sdcollege) has been awarded ‘top marks’ for its commitment to high quality education and training that develops life-long skills, knowledge, and behaviours for all students. 

Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, the body that inspects and regulates schools and colleges, shared its findings with college leaders and published its findings on the DfE website.

The college received an overall rating of ‘Good’ from Ofsted, and was awarded Outstanding for its behaviour and attitudes, personal development, provision for learners with high needs and, its education programmes for young people, which includes South Devon High School.

Ofsted inspectors stated,

“Leaders and managers have successfully developed an ambitious curriculum for students and apprentices, including those with special educational needs and disabilities. Almost all programmes go above and beyond the qualification specification enabling students and apprentices to develop their knowledge and skills beyond the basics, making them more attractive to future employers.”

The college was praised for its ambitious training for adults’ programme. The report states that the college:

“has an effective strategy for adult learners, which covers three themes, upskilling, re-skilling and re-engagement” and are therefore meeting the needs of the local community.”

Inspectors noted how lecturers respond to students’ needs, for example,

“considering times when students need to manage complications such as childcare and ensures that there are opportunities for students to catch up on missed learning.”

Ofsted inspectors highlighted the “calm and exceptionally purposeful environment” created by lecturers and tutors, where students and apprentices thrive. Staff were commended for their high expectations and professional conduct, fostering a safe and respectful atmosphere that motivates learners to excel.

The report also states that:

“staff treat students and apprentices with care, courtesy, and professionalism, inspiring them to achieve the best they can. As a result, students and apprentices swiftly develop highly professional behaviours.”

Inspectors praised the rich and ambitious curriculum that prepares students for both contributing to society and professional success. They also noted the college’s dedication to supporting learners with high needs, who benefit from adaptive technologies and personalised assistance and achieve on par with their peers.

Inspectors said:

“Leaders and support staff for programmes specially designed for students with high needs know their students very well. They liaise effectively with parents and carers to understand how best to support students’ progress and lecturers adapt their teaching with skill ensuring that all students have ambitious goals and achievable targets.”

The report commended the college’s strong ties with local industries, ensuring that training aligns with regional skill demands. Collaborations with stakeholders in sectors such as health, marine engineering, and green construction enable SDC to offer industry relevant courses that prepare students for future employment. 

Governors and leaders were praised for their effectiveness and commitment to continuous improvement. The report revealed that through rigorous self-assessment and stakeholder engagement they ensure the delivery of high-quality provision, tailored to community needs.

Ofsted stated:

“Leaders are highly effective at involving stakeholders in the planning and revision of existing curriculums across all provision types. Leaders engage very well with these stakeholders to review and shape the curriculum,” 

Careers advice was another area that the report singled out for praise, it noted that advice was exemplary, enabling students to make informed decisions about their future.

Laurence Frewin, Principal and CEO of South Devon College, expressed his delight at the recent good with outstanding inspection results, he said:

“This is an excellent Ofsted report, and it’s a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our staff and students. We are an excellent college and absolutely committed to providing an ambitious, inclusive, respective learning environment that enables every learner to achieve their full potential.”

Chair of Governors, Jane Viner added:

“The Ofsted findings demonstrates our continuous efforts to deliver high-quality education and training that meets the needs of our community. We will continue to strive for excellence and ensure that South Devon College is doing extraordinary things to ensure it remains at the forefront of further education and training.”

Ofsted inspectors concluded their report with some points of improvement for the college. It said the college should:

“Ensure that knowledge about what apprentices know and can do at the start of their programme is used to plan their training effectively and, the assessment of adults’ work is used to help plan subsequent teaching.”

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